Bitmain, the world’s largest bitcoin mining firm, has reportedly undergone a major board reshuffle ahead of its initial public offering (IPO), which should set a record for the nascent cryptocurrency industry.
Citing company information registered with the local government, Chinese industry media outlet 8btc reports that last week, four out of six directors resigned from the board of the Beijing-based Bitmain.
That group includes CEO Jihan Wu, who was previously the board’s executive director and now serves as supervisor. According to 8btc, this new position no longer affords him voting rights. He was replaced by Zhan Ketuan, who nows serve as Bitmain’s executive director and manager.
Other resignees include Zhao Yifeng, Ge Yuesheng, and Zhou Feng, all of whom had previously served as directors, and Hu Yishuo, who had been a member of the board of supervisors.
The reasons for the board shakeup are not immediately clear, but they came at a crucial time for both Bitmain and the crypto industry at large.
Per the report, the board shakeup occurred on Nov. 7, just one day before Bitmain released the Antminer S15, the latest version of its flagship bitcoin miner line.
It also came shortly ahead of Bitmain’s IPO, which is slated to take place on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong (HKEX) within the very near future. The offering is expected to raise record financing for a crypto firm, vindicating the business strategy that has earned Bitmain a $15 billion valuation — nearly double that of US cryptocurrency giant Coinbase.
However, as detailed by BitMEX Research, Bitmain appears to have made several questionable business decisions over the past year, including stockpiling bitcoin cash — the value of which has taken a steep hit — and overestimating consumer demand for mining hardware, which has left the firm sitting on a stockpile of rapidly-depreciating products. These factors could have played a role in the decision to make changes ahead of the public offering.
Finally, the changes on Bitmain’s board raise questions about how Bitmain will approach the looming Bitcoin Cash hard fork, which is scheduled for Nov. 15 and promises to see the network split into at least two competing versions.
Jihan Wu has been a vocal supporter of the “official” Bitcoin Cash version, which has been developed by Bitcoin ABC, and a critic of Bitcoin SV, which has been developed by Craig Wright-affiliated firm nChain and backed by major BCH mining pool CoinGeek.
However, now that he reportedly has relinquished voting power on the board, it remains to be seen whether Bitmain will maintain this hard line if the fork does prove to be contentious — as well as whether the firm will use its BCH stockpile to tip the scale in its favored direction.
A Bitmain spokesperson did not immediately respond to CCN’s request for comment.
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Last modified: November 13, 2018 13:53 UTC