How Bitcoin Giant Bitmain Became the Biggest Crypto Company Ever

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Bitmain, the biggest bitcoin mining equipment manufacturer, has closed its Series B funding round to secure a valuation of over $12 billion, officially becoming the largest conglomerate in the history of bitcoin and crypto.

A Conglomerate

Coinbase, Binance, and Ripple Labs are some of the multi-billion dollar corporations in the global cryptocurrency industry that have significant influence over their respective markets. Coinbase has dominance over the crypto brokerage and institutional market, Binance controls the crypto-only exchange market, and Ripple Labs oversees the development of the Ripple blockchain network, which is considered as the leading bank-tailored blockchain protocol.

Bitmain has absolute control over the bitcoin mining equipment industry, and is competing against conglomerates like Samsung to retain dominance over its market. Over the past year, Bitmain founder and CEO Jihan Wu have been focusing on evolving Bitmain’s investment arm, leading many multi-million dollar funding rounds to finance companies in the blockchain sector.

Bitmain launched its latest series of bitcoin miners earlier this year.

Most recently, as CCN reported, Bitmain led Circle’s $110 million funding round along with the likes of Accel and Blockchain Capital, to fulfill the vision of Wu of creating private central banks financed with cryptocurrencies. Wu explained that the primary motive of Bitmain’s investment in Circle is the firm’s development of a fully audited stablecoin.

In an official announcement, Circle said:

“Bitmain Co-founder and CEO Jihan Wu is well known for espousing a vision similar to ours regarding the creation and adoption of a new global economy powered by cryptographic assets, distributed contracts, and open source blockchain technology. We are excited to be working directly with Bitmain on realizing our shared vision.”

Throughout the past several years, Bitmain has been able to generate billions of dollars in profit on a yearly basis and obtain over half of a billion dollars in funding. With the capital, Bitmain has started to invested in ICOs, blockchain projects, cryptocurrency companies, and platforms outside of the finance sector.

This week, Bitmain revealed that it has finalized its plans to purchase controlling stake of Opera Internet Browser, investing $50 million in the company that is expected to complete a $115 million initial public offering (IPO). To compare the two companies, Bitmain is set to complete a $12 billion IPO, raising capital from public investors that is 100 times larger than that of Opera.

Evaluating the exponential growth of Bitmain, analysts at Bernstein Research said that Bitmain has been able to make as much money as Nvidia, one of the biggest chip makers in the world, in less than four years, while Nvidia took 24 years to secure $3 billion in profit.

“But Bitmain achieved this in merely four years, while it took Nvidia 24 years to get here,” analysts at Bernstein said, emphasizing that Bitmain has secured $3 to $4 billion in operating profit in 2017, easily surpassing the profit margin of companies like Binance, which is projected to record a billion dollars in profit by the end of 2018.

Competing Against Nvidia

Not only has Bitmain recorded more profit than Nvidia in 2017 but the company has announced its intent to compete with Nvidia in the artificial intelligence (AI) industry, outside of the crypto and bitcoin mining chip market.

In the future, AI will be everywhere. It will be on cars, it will be on cameras, it will be on servers, in the back end. It’s just like the motor vehicle replacing the horse—it’s a big-time change that can dramatically alter the world. We think that’s a big trend and we need to do that,” said Allen Tang, a product marketer at Bitmain, who admitted that competing in the AI space would mean going against companies like Intel and Nvidia.

Still, analysts like fintech researcher Zarc Gin said that Bitmain “certainly has the budget” to compete with large conglomerates in both the crypto and AI sector.

Featured image from Facebook/Bitmain.

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POSTED IN: Bitcoin Business, Companies, News
Hong Kong-Based Finance and Cryptocurrency Analyst / Writer. Contributing regularly to CCN and Hacked. Offering cryptocurrency news and Insights Into Asian Market (South Korea, Japan, and more).