Founded in 2013 by Jihan Wu and Micree Zhan, Bitmain is a major manufacturer of application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) chips used to mine bitcoin and a variety of other cryptocurrencies. Headquartered in Beijing, the company operates Antpool and BTC.com, which have historically been two of the largest bitcoin mining pools by computing power.
Bitmain also runs multiple mining farms, including in Canada and multiple locations in China and the United States. Additionally, Bitmain has attempted to establish a presence in the artificial intelligence industry and produces deep-learning chips among other products. Likewise, the company has invested in numerous crypto startups including derivatives market provider ErisX, crypto financier Global Digital Mercantile Ltd., crypto financial services startup Circle, and EOS creator Block.one.
In 2018, Bitmain considered becoming a publicly traded company, and filed an application to conduct an initial public offering (IPO) on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX). However HKEX was reportedly hesitant to approve the application due to the volatility of the cryptocurrency market. The company allowed the application to lapse six months after filing, but indicated that it may attempt to go public yet again in the future. There were indications in fall 2019 that it was moving ahead with those plans.