bitmain bitcoin mining crypto
TSMC, which supplies chips to bitcoin mining giant Bitmain, said crypto-related demand plunged in 2018. | Source: Shutterstock

After posting eye-popping returns in 2017, the recent bear market has some cryptocurrency firms battening down the hatches amid declining returns. Don’t count industry giant Bitmain among them.

Citing an email obtained from a source close to the China-based firm, Fortune reports that Bitmain — best known for manufacturing bitcoin mining equipment — raked in $1.1 billion in profit during the first quarter of 2018. Conservatively, the company expects to earn $2 to $3 billion in profit for the fiscal year.

Remarkably, those figures place Bitmain nearly on par with chipmaking giant Nvidia, who reported a net income of $1.2 billion during the first quarter and has a ~$150 billion market cap.

It also marks a significant increase since last year when Bitmain said that it brought in $1.2 billion in profit and $2.5 billion in revenue — much less than the $3 to $4 billion originally estimated by analysts.

The email also confirmed that Bitmain is in the final stages of preparing to hold an initial public offering (IPO) on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX). While the date of this listing has not yet been announced, the firm said that it will go public “very soon.”

As CCN reported, Bitmain is holding another round of financing before the IPO despite having just closed a $400 million round earlier this year. The firm is said to be seeking to raise as much as $1 billion at a $14 billion valuation, a ~16.5 percent increase from its previous funding round.

The firm has been using this new capital to finance a massive expansion, both of its business interests and its physical operations. In addition to purchasing major stakes in EOS creator Block.one, cryptocurrency trading firm Circle, and web browser Opera, Bitmain has placed a heavy emphasis on carving out a significant share of China’s booming artificial intelligence (AI) market.

Bitmain has further been expanding geographically, opening new mining centers in Quebec and the U.S. The company also moved into a 20,000 sq. foot office space in Silicon Valley while concurrently tripling the size of its Israel-based development center.

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