Bitmain Co-Founder Exits, Resolving Years-Long Power Struggle as Mining Firm Preps IPO

Bitmain co-founder Jihan Wu is stepping down from his role as part of a settlement.

Jan 26, 2021 at 3:37 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 11:01 a.m. UTC

The power struggle within Bitmain’s leadership has finally come to an end as co-founder Micree Zhan regains control over the largest bitcoin miner maker giant. 

“I have resigned from the CEO and Chairman [positions at] Bitmain as of today," Bitmain co-founder Jihan Wu said in a statement on Tuesday. “The disagreement between Micree and myself, the two co-founders of Bitmain, has been finally settled in an amicable and, more importantly, a constructive manner.” 

As part of the leadership transition, Bitmain's subsidiaries are filing legal documents to change their board members and legal representatives.

Zhan had purchased almost half of the company’s shares for $600 million from Bitsource, which is a code name representing a group of founding shareholders including Jihan. He completed the purchase with a $400 million loan from Bitmain and $200 million through a fundraising effort outside the group, according to the statement.  

After the settlement, Jihan will head Bitmais spin-off Bitdeer, which has mining farm operations in the U.S. and Norway. He will act as the firm's chairman while Matt Kong will be the CEO of the new company. Antpool will soon be spun off into an independent company to be led by Micree.  

“Through the above-mentioned arrangement, Bitmain’s business model will be highly streamlined, which will make it much easier" to go for an initial public offering, Jihan said in the statement.

Bitmain has unsuccessfully tried to go public before.

Bitmain’s new board will have five members, with three appointed by Zhan and two appointed by Jihan. The company’s chief financial officer, Jianchun Liu, and Xiang Zhu, who designed some of the company’s  miner machines, have been appointed to the board by Jihan.   

“Upon the closing of the settlement today, Bitmain has turned over a new page with great opportunities ahead," Jihan said in the statement. “As the co-founder of Bitmain, I enjoyed the 2,815 days of journey working for it with numerous help and support from lots of customers, colleagues, friends and investors, and I give my most sincere blessing to Bitmain and its leadership [by] Micree.”

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