Bitmain’s Wu Regains Power Over Micree Zhan As Jihan Named Legal Representative

The struggle for Bitmain’s control has taken a different turn, with Jihan Wu regaining the position of executive director and legal representative of this Chinese Bitcoin mining rig manufacturer. According to the latest update on China’s business registration record, Macree Zhan will no longer serve in the above capacities but remains a general manager in the company.

This turn of events comes as an upper hand to Wu’s side of the company, given the powers embedded within the legal representative and executive director role in Chinese-domiciled entities. Wu is now the one in control of Bitmain’s seal hence broad powers to act on behalf of the company as well as sign strategic decisions into effect.

Bitmain’s Power Brawl

With cryptocurrencies on the rise, Bitmain pivoted as one of the leading mining rigs manufacturers, but the firm’s internal brawls since late 2019 have cost the business a fortune. The real trouble began when Wu ousted Zhan towards the end of 2019; a move that Zhan later termed to be illegal and took the battle to the courts. Since then, Bitmain’s operations have been at the mercies of the two opposing camps.

Fast forward, Zhan was able to regain control of Bitmain’s Beijing offices in June 2020 and proposed to buy Wu’s shares at a valuation of $4 billion. His helm at the firm, however, seems to have been cut short with the latest developments. Nonetheless, Wu has maintained that Bitmain’s respect for Zhan remains unchanged in a recent WeChat post on the Bitmain AntMiner brand account.

Bitmain’s Woes Might Be Far from Over!

While the latest changes may have signaled calm waters for Bitmain’s operations, it is still too early to predict whether the firm’s internal power struggles will persist. For starters, a lawsuit between the two divides is still pending in the Cayman Islands, where Bitmain’s holding entity is domiciled. This regulatory uncertainty has ultimately threatened the firm’s operational side as well; Wu, however, noted that they are looking to find long-term solutions for the troubles caused to Bitmain stakeholders.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Bitmain’s Management Feud Is Affecting Business Operations; AntMiners Shipments Delayed

  • Bitmain’s top-level struggles cause a three-month delay in Antminer hardware.
  • Two mutually exclusive solutions offered to customers.

The constant wrangling within the largest Bitcoin mining hardware producer – Bitmain – is taking a toll on its business and customer operations. According to a recent WeChat note sent on Thursday, the long-awaited hardware miners expected to be released in June and July will need to wait till September and October to be delivered.

Jihan Wu and Micree Zhan, the founding partners of Bitmain, have been in a long-standing battle over control of the multi-billion dollar company. Despite holding on as the largest crypto mining hardware producer since the ASIC-era, the company is finally feeling the pinch of the bull fight at the top.

The note states that the company’s flagship AntMiner products, slated to be shipped in June and July, will be delayed to September and October. Bitcoin mining hardware customers need to pre-order the machines three months before; in this case, the AntMiners will take more than six months before being delivered. The note states the delay is being caused by “external interference over the company’s management”.

Wu is currently in charge of the Antminer WeChat group that sent the note. He successfully ousted Micree Zhan from the position of CEO, but Zhan recently took over. However, the leadership of the company remains shaky as Zhan and Wu control different parts of the manufacturing process for the hardware.

Late last month, Jihan Wu proposed a hard fork of the company in order to split the supply chain and manufacturing processes of Bitmain. Zhan, however, voiced a different opinion, suggesting a share buyback of the company at a $4 billion dollar valuation.

In an effort to fulfill their obligations to customers, the note from Wu’s camp gives customers two mutually exclusive options on the way forward. First, customers can wait for 60 days for the shipping to be completed, which, if not achieved, the customer can write to Bitmain asking for a refund.

The second option dictates that after ten days, customers who have not received their hardware will be paid in theoretical mining rewards coupons. These coupons can be redeemed for future mining hardware purchases.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Bitmain’s Ousted Co-Founder Proposes Share Buyback at $4B Valuation; Wu Acted ‘Illegally’

Bitmain’s power struggle may be at an end, should the Jihan Wu team accept a buyback offer by Micree Zhan. According to a recent letter by the recently ousted Bitmain Co-CEO, he is willing to buy Wu’s shares at a company valuation of $4 billion. This comes as the control battle for Bitmain intensifies after Zhan regained the Beijing office earlier this month.

The alleged Zhan letter – which was first shared on Chinese media – highlights that Wu acted illegally during the ousting process. Zhan owns 36% of Bitmain’s shares, making him the largest shareholder.

Consequently, he enjoys majority voting rights of up to 60%; hence any decisions without Zhan’s consent are considered ‘illegal.’ While this is the case, Zhan was still ousted after Wu claimed to have held a shareholder meeting in the Cayman Islands. Zhan has since condemned the move as illegal based on Bitmain’s shareholder structure and voting rights:

“WITHOUT MICREE’S CONSENT, NO ONE CAN CHANGE THAT LEGALLY. BUT JIHAN FORGED A SHAREHOLDER’S MEETING RESOLUTION SAID HIS 10X VOTING RIGHT NO LONGER COUNTS, AND FIRED MICREE AS THE COMPANY DIRECTOR. BUT MICREE SAID IN THE ANNOUNCEMENT, THAT SHAREHOLDER’S MEETING NEVER HAPPENED.”

A Response to Bitmain Hong Kong

Zhan’s response has coincided with Bitmain Hong Kong’s move to cut Beijing from its chips supply chain. The Hong Kong headquarters, and also in charge of Bitmain Beijing, reports to the Cayman Islands holding entity but is currently controlled by Wu’s team. The subsidiary posted on its website that it is suspending chip supplies to Bitmain Beijing following Zhan’s takeover:

“Bitmain Hong Kong has suspended the chip supplier for the time being to Century Cloud Core, which is now controlled by Zhan’s relatives, until we are assured, through negotiation with Zhan’s relatives, that they are committed to protecting the interest of Bitmain’s customers and the company as a whole.”

This supply chain war, however, seems to have started earlier when Zhan took the helm of the Beijing office. The ousted CEO interfered with the supply of mining equipment from Bitmain’s Shenzen factory to clients, an issue that forced Wu’s team to clear the air noting that all is well.

Since then, tensions have been high given the events that unfolded during the Beijing office takeover, coupled with pending legal battles in Hong Kong and the Cayman Islands.

Bitmain’s Value Sliced Significantly

As one would expect, uncertainty caused by Bitmain’s control brawls has affected the company’s value.

Just two years ago, its valuation could have gone as high as $14 billion as it prepared to launch an IPO. Today, the value was reduced by over half and might be heading towards the $1 billion recorded during Bitmain’s Series A funding back in 2017. However, if Zhan and Wu agree, Bitmain could regain its glory days.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Bitmain Losing its Market Share as Customer Base Moves More and More Out of China

  • MicroBT eating into Bitmain’s lead, having a share of 35% in 2019
  • Bitmain still leading in energy efficiency with its brand new Antminer S19 Pro followed by MicroBT’s Whatsminer M30S++, Canaan Avalon 1146 pro, and Ebang

“Competition has tightened within the ASIC manufacturing industry,” stated BitMEX in its latest research report noticing the presence of big players like Bitmain, Canaan, Ebang, and MicroBT.

According to the report, post halving, both the ASIC manufacturing and mining farm operating sector will consolidate further.

Meanwhile, China which is still dominant in ASIC manufacturing has already started losing share in the mining farm operator business to Europe and North America.

“The customer base is moving more and more out of China,” said MicroBT marketing manager Elsa Zhao. The average customer size is also growing considerably but instead of longer small businesses or individuals, they are now larger funds, he said.

The Race to Lead

In late 2012 to early 2013, Butterfly Labs was leading the bitcoin mining industry but after it was shut down on the request of the US courts, it left Avalon as the market leader.

However, from 2015 to 2018, it was Bitmain who had the dominant position with the most efficient products.

“At the height of Bitmain’s power during the 2017 bull market, its market share was around 75%.”

The largest bitcoin mining manufacturer Bitmain’s dominance has been reducing, significantly so in the last 18 months or so. The largest player in the space is currently going through a power struggle between the company co-founders Micree Zhan and Jihan Wu.

Amidst the increasing competition, MicroBT is the one gaining traction and eating into Bitmain’s lead, having a share of 35% in 2019.

Relatively new to space, the company is founded by the former director of design at Bitmain which completed a round of financing in January 2019 at a valuation of $700 million.

The IPO Failures

Bitmain unsuccessfully attempted to IPO in 2018 but it remains on their agenda, however, BitMEX cautioned,

“it seems almost impossible to imagine Bitmain conducting a successful IPO until the above management difficulties have been resolved.”

Canaan however, did have a successful IPO and is the first Bitcoin ASIC manufacturer to market it to the public markets. But it’s performance has been extremely bad since the IPO, generating a full-year net loss of US$149.8 million in 2019. Canaan attributed these losses to COVID-19 but,

“going forward it may be challenging for the company to regain trust from investors following on from the write-down so shortly after the IPO.”

CAN shares are down 77% since the IPO while Bitcoin price is up 17% during the same period.

Just like Canaan, Chinese ASIC manufacturer Ebang is struggling with declining sales and inventory write-down driving losses. The company has also filed for an IPO in the US after a previous failed attempt to list in Hong Kong. The risk here, however, is lower.

Product Strength

When it comes to technology, Bitmain lost its lead in energy efficiency as well in the last year or so. MicroBT’s products have been more efficient than bitcoin, with the Whatsminer M30S++ operating at around 31 J/TH. However, it is marginally behind Bitmain’s brand new Antminer S19 Pro product at 30 J/TH.

Meanwhile, Canaan might release its 5-nanometer products in the market by 2021. In its quarterly report, it also mentioned the new Avalon 1146 pro, which will have an efficiency of 42 J/TH, compared to the currently on sale Avalon A1166 at 47J/TH. The new product, however, would still place it behind MicroBT and Bitmain.

Ebang’s latest product has an efficiency of about 57 J/TH, ranking it behind all of the other three players.

According to BitMEX, the lifespan of ASIC mining machines is likely to extend considerably.

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Author: AnTy

Bitmain’s Internal Brawl Drags On After Ousted CEO, Micree Zhan, Halts Mining Equipment Shipments

Bitmain’s battle for control seems far from over after a recent shipment disruption by Micree Zhan. The ousted CEO physically took over Beijing’s office at the beginning of June after hiring private guards. Reports have now emerged that Zhan is interfering with the shipment of mining devices from Bitmain’s factory in Shenzhen.

BlockBeats, a Chinese media publication, quoted its sources who allege that Zhan prohibited Bitmain employees from delivering client orders. Notably, the reason behind the move is yet to be clarified. This comes amid the ensued brawl between Zhan and Jihan Wu since October 2019 over Bitmain’s control.

Despite being a market leader in the production of crypto mining equipment, Bitmain came under pressure when this internal wrangling started. Wu ousted Zhan by claiming to ‘save the ship’ and regaining the top position within the firm’s hierarchy. It was then that it got messy and noisy for the Beijing headquartered firm.

Zhan has since filed multiple lawsuits noting that the takeover was illegal. In May, the situation escalated after a brawl erupted over Bitmain’s deal. Recent developments now indicate that Zhan might have regained partial control of Bitmain’s operations. However, Bitmain had issued a statement towards the end of May confirming Zhan’s ouster.

Wu: Situation is Under Control

Following this shakeup, Jihan Wu’s side of Bitmain has come out to assure employees that things are under control. According to the update, the team is pursuing damages caused by Micree Zhan through legal channels. It goes on to reassure that Bitmain will compensate all damages suffered by the employees, urging them to “work together to protect Bitmain.”

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Bitmain’s Wu Jihan, Micree Zhan Continue Spat As Mob Brawls With Co-Founder

Luyao Liu, Bitmain’s Chief Executive, and the former legal representative has been arrested for his part in a ‘mob-like attack’ conducted on Micree Zhan, the exiled co-founder of Bitmain.

Bitmain’s Beijing subsidiary business license was apparently stolen, and the police held Liu responsible for what happened, together with others. Zhan has been involved with Bitmain’s other co-founder, Jihan Wu, in a power struggle since October of last year.

What on Earth Happened?

A group of people with masks (due to COVID-19) hassled Zhan at the Beijing Municipal Administration of Industry and Commerce.

Zhan was there to obtain a business license for Beijing’s Bitmain subsidiary so that he could become the legal rep for the company. Liu got arrested soon after the altercation for being involved in the assault.

Bitmain Says Liu Is the Company Legal Rep

An announcement from Bitmain’s WeChat official account says Zhan no longer holds a position at the company since October 2019, adding that Liu Luyao is the legal rep of Bitmain Beijing. Even if there are documents who show Zhan is in fact occupying this position within the firm.

The documents were called by Bitmain a registration error. Wu abandoned his CEO post at the firm in 2018, yet he appears to have appointed Liu as a legal rep this year. In February, Zhan appealed the decision with the Beijing Haidian District Bureau of Justice and won.

The Power Struggle at Bitmain

In October last year, a power struggle between Wu and Zhan started because Wu decided to oust Zhan. Zhan’s position within the company at that point was of chairman and legal rep. Bitmain staff was forbidden by Wu to have any interaction with Zhan, who said back then that he was removed as a legal rep without him giving his consent.

Ever since, he filed many lawsuits against 2 Bitmain subsidiaries, trying to also restore his position within the company and to obtain a business license for Bitmain Beijing.

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Author: Oana Ularu

MicroBT Launches 3 New WhatsMiner M30 Series Miners Ahead of The BTC Reward Halving

Chinese Bitcoin (BTC) miner manufacturer and Bitmain’s rival – MicroBT – has just launched 3 new WhatsMiner crypto mining machines, the company’s COO, Jianbing Chen announced during a conference on Friday.

The machines are WhatsMiner M30S+, M30S++, and M31S+. Chen said he believes that the market of BTC mining hardware is now entering a 3X increase.

Chen also mentioned that WhatsMiners’ new features include a lower ratio of power consumption, higher stability, and a 1-year warranty.

Recently, MicroBT made a statement that the WhatsMiner M30 series’ power consumption will be lower than 50W/T (watts per terahash), which would help BT miners with a high gross margin.

600,000 WhatsMiner M20 Units Sold Last Year

During the same event, Chen talked about the sales numbers at MicroBT, saying they company sold in 2019 600,000 WhatsMiner M20 units, which is double from the 2018’s number of 300,000 WhatsMiner M3 units sold.

It seems the 2019 figure was higher because the BTC’s network computing power was 35% that year, whereas, in 2018, it was only 9%.

These new WhatsMiner machines are being launched just before BTC’s third halving from May, which sees BTC regards reduced from 12.5 to 6.25BTC. [Will they launch before Bitmain’s new models?] The machines will be extremely helpful for miners who are already updating their rigs for the halving.

Prices Are Quite Reasonable

The head of sales at MicroBT, Vincent Zhang, said, at launch, that the price for the WhatsMiner is $1,962, whereas the M30S+ and the M30S++ cost $2,740 and respectively $3,899.

Since there have been price cuts, Bitmain has also refunded its customers who pre-ordered at a higher price, according to company policy for the past years.

Zhang also mentioned that MicroBT is trying to enforce a similar policy, which involves the customers placing pre-orders at higher prices than the retail ones, only to be compensated in cash coupons upon the delivery of the machines.

The coupons will be redeemed at up to 10% of the purchased MicroBT additional goods’ value. While MicroBT had a lot of the market share last year, problems appeared upon the on-time deliveries of its machines. The delays have lasted for a few months.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Bitmain’s Founder Jihan Wu’s Crypto Startup Seeks $40M at $300M Valuation, A 3x Increase

Bitmain’s spin-off offering crypto trading solutions that was created an year ago is seeking to be valued at $300 million after its latest funding round, CoinDesk reports.

Matrixport which was started by Jihan Wu, Bitmain’s co-founder, is expecting to raise $40 million in its upcoming funding round which will see the firm’s value shoot to $300 million.

The startup reported a revenue of between $7 to $8 million last year and forecasts that this figure will be doubled before the end of this year. Bloomberg reports that the details about the firm’s financial performance and status was sent to investors in the form of a slide deck. The deck reveals that after the previous funding round, Matrixport saw its valuation stand at $114 million.

The firm which operates from Singapore is seeking funds to expand its cryptocurrency financial services solutions to serve the professional crypto traders and investors. The startup was hived from Bitmain last year at a time when the biggest developer of Bitcoin mining equipment sought to become a public trading company and was struggling with finances.

Matrixport provides crypto trading services solutions like custodial services, trading, payment products as well as services and loans to institutional customers, encompassing mining equipment suppliers, crypto lending firms, crypto exchange platforms, mining pools, as well as crypto funds.

The startup competes with American-based companies Genesis Global as well as BitGo. Other than Bitmain, Matrixport also has strategic partnership agreements with BTC.com, BITDEER, Antpool and CoinEX. The firm’s main shareholders are Wu Jihan and Bitmain.

The firm claims that it has more than $500 million of crypto assets within its custody. The firm has also generated about $100 million in terms of outstanding loans. When it comes to crypto trades, it has processed more than $500,000 since its inception last year. Most of the firm’s clients are miners and, as a result, it provides different risk management solutions to miners through derivatives contracts as well as structured products.

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Author: Joseph Kibe