Big Investors Deny Involvement In Crypto Miner Bitmain's Pre-IPO Funding

Following reports of Bitmain closing a $1 billion pre-IPO investment round, some notable investors have disputed their alleged participation.

AccessTimeIconAug 21, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 8:18 a.m. UTC

Tencent Holdings and SoftBank Group are both disputing their involvement in a widely reported pre-IPO investment round for Chinese cryptocurrency mining giant Bitmain.

Reports on the firms' participation in the funding effort first emerged among Chinese media in early August. Soon after, several outlets including CoinDesk, TechCrunch and other media platforms cited the reports in follow-up articles on the mining giant's anticipated multi-billion dollar initial public offering in Hong Kong.

Yet, both Tencent and Softbank have now confirmed to CoinDesk that they have no connection to the investment deal. 

A spokesperson for Tencent told CoinDesk via email on Thursday that the Hong Kong-listed company is "not involved in this investment" when presented with several online reports claiming they were. "The news is not true," they added.

Similarly, financial giant SoftBank indicated it, too, had no connection to the Bitmain round.

"Neither the SoftBank Group Corp. nor the SoftBank Vision Fund were in any way involved in the deal," a spokesperson of SoftBank wrote in an email response last week.

Asked about any previous or subsequent investment interest in the mining giant, the SoftBank representative further replied with "nothing so far."

Meanwhile, another firm reported to have participated – China International Capital Corporation (CICC), an investment and securities brokerage firm listed in Hong Kong with headquarters in Beijing – did not deny the news after CoinDesk sent multiple enquiries on the issue, eventually telling us on Monday it has "no comment on the issue."

Based on various Chinese reports that covered the deal, the original source of the claims appears to have come from an IPO-focused blog on the WeChat messaging platform, using an official account named "IPO Zao Zhi Dao."

The owner, called "Uncle C"on WeChat, first published a report on July 23, saying its "exclusive sources" revealed several potential investors who were likely to participate in the Bitmain funding.

The post listed major names such as Tencent, GIC (a Singapore government-established sovereign wealth fund), the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and a Canadian pension fund. Tencent said at the time it had "no comment on the report" after the article got widely cited across the Chinese media. 

Yet on August 4, the same blog published a follow-up post that again claimed the exclusive that Bitmain had officially closed its pre-IPO round with $1 billion, valuing the firm at $15 billion, post-deal. In addition, Tencent, Softbank and CICC were reported as participating.

The blogger refused to disclose sources when CoinDesk reached out for information.

Ada Hui contributed reporting.

Locked money jar image via Shutterstock


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