Bitmain co-founder and executive director Micree Ketuan Zhan has reportedly been forced out of the company in a bitter clash with business partner Jihan Wu.
In a statement issued to Chinese media, Bitmain confirmed that Wu would take control:
“We believe under the leadership of Jihan, Bitmain will be back to its original mission statement, focus on core competence, expand business organically and orderly. Will become a world-class tech company”
Zhan, who was listed as the wealthiest cryptocurrency billionaire by Hurun, was the largest Bitmain shareholder with 36.5% ownership. The drama is the latest in a string of executive shakeups since the cryptocurrency mining company delayed its IPO.
Dovey Wan, founding partner of Primitive Crypto, documented the fallout overnight and translated Chinese media reports. Her reports depict what amounts to a coup in the Bitmain office:
“Micree Zhan’s email was deleted and already banned from entering into the company’s office by security. The whole HR department was completely cleared up with replacement from Jihan’s own people.”
Wan claims her sources said Wu declared:
Samson Mow, CSO at Blockstream questioned how Jihan Wu was able to force out the larger stakeholder.
“Actually, looks more like Micree was forced out. The question is how? Micree is still a majority shareholder of Bitmain Beijing as well a large shareholder of the parent Bitmain holding co. This looks like power play by Jihan & still has yet to play out.”
Bitcoin Cash jumped 10% at the news, largely because Jihan Wu is a vocal supporter of the cryptocurrency. Traders anticipate that Bitmain may divert more resources to BCH under his leadership.
On the flip side, Zhan could dump his bitcoin cash holdings, an estimated 1.6 million BCH, on the market in retaliation. Doing so would likely have a negative impact on the price.
“Micree was outcasted in an ugly way, he may consider dump $BCH he owns .. which is 1.6M BCH total” – Dovey Wan.
As Mow put it: the “Bitmain civil war is just starting.”
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