Bitmain CEO Jihan Wu categorically denied that the mining hardware manufacturer secretly uses its newly-developed devices before making them available to the general public.
Wu made this claim during an interview with Fortune, hitting back against rumors and reports that, after developing an application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) miner for a new hashing algorithm, Bitmain will secretly mine with those devices for several months before putting the new product line up for sale.
“No, it never happened. We have a small-scale test. We don’t do that. That is not our strategy.”
Earlier this year, suspicions that the China-based firm privately used its hardware before releasing it were apparently confirmed when privacy-centric cryptocurrency monero activated a hard fork to alter its Cryptonight mining algorithm and prevent Bitmain’s new Cryptonight ASICs from being used on its network.
Following the fork, a significant portion of the hashrate continued to mine the old chain, and the consensus among observers was that most of that hashrate came from Bitmain’s Cryptonight ASICs, which had not yet been shipped to the public.
However, Wu said that that Bitmain does not have the time, resources, or incentive to operate a shadow mining operation.
“There’s some kind of group of people that controlled the majority of the hash rate of Monero for a long time. I would like to say that to develop such a kind of ASIC is not a kind of secret skill that only Bitmain has. Lots of people can do that. For large companies like Bitmain, and especially myself, I do not even have the time, attention or resources to have such a kind of plan to do this. If we develop hardware, we just release and sell it on the market. Right after we have sample machines working, we start sales to market. We don’t have such kinds of advantages.”
As CCN reported, the ordinarily-enigmatic Wu has increasingly made himself available for interviews in recent weeks, a shift that has come as the firm has reportedly begun to consider going public through an initial public offering (IPO) in Hong Kong or the US. The firm has internally valued itself at $12 billion, but some analysts estimate that its true worth may be closer to $9 billion based on its revenue figures.
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