Bitcoin and cryptocurrency miner manufacturer Bitmain confirmed in a new blog post changes to its leadership structure and the expiration of its initial public offering (IPO) application with Hong Kong’s stock exchange.
The shifting comes as Bitmain is angling to tackle 2019 in more resolute fashion than 2018, which was a down year for the company and virtually all major crypto enterprises amid the cryptoeconomy bear market that started that January.
The acute downturn eventually forced the firm to rethink its operations, with some ventures being opened, like the launch of a mining facility in Washington state, and some being closed or reconfigured, like the company’s shuttering of an Israeli research and development center.
As such, a series of high-profile layoffs hit the company, and rumors abounded toward the end of last year that the crypto miner manufacturing powerhouse had tinkered with its leadership as part of a refocusing effort.
Bitmain Hopes to Be Leaner, Smarter, Stronger
On the point of its restructurings, Bitmain said in its announcement that the company shakeups were necessary to make their operations more sustainable for the future:
“As part of this, at the end of 2018 we adjusted our personnel, as we aligned our focus on cryptocurrency and artificial intelligence (AI) chips, as well as products and services based on such chips. It was a difficult but necessary decision as we continue to build a long-term, sustainable and scalable business. We did our best to compensate our employees above the legal requirement.”
The firm also confirmed that its former product engineering director, Haichao Wang, had taken on the position of CEO at the company.
The revelation comes after the South China Morning Post tracked Chinese media reports earlier this year that pegged Wang as having already started trialing CEO duties at Bitmain. The company declined to confirm the shift until now:
“Aligned to this new operational model, we have also made changes to our leadership. Mr. Haichao Wang has been appointed as CEO of the company. Haichao not only has extensive experience in the chip industry but also succesfully headed-up multiple departments at Bitmain. We are confident that through his experience and passion, he will drive better products and services for our customers.”
Accordingly, the company also revealed in its latest post that its former co-CEOs, Jihan Wu and Micree Zhan, would stay on in the capacity of directors to steer the firm’s ventures.
As for Wang, he’s no doubt capable. His resumé includes a degree from China’s prestigious Beijing Tsinghua University and a seven-year stint as manager and programmer at Beijing semiconductor design company Availink. He first joined Bitmain in 2017.
Bitmain IPO Temporarily Dashed as Application Expires
Bitmain’s IPO application, which was sponsored by the the China International Capital Corporation (CICC), has expired after the firm first submitted it to the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong (SEHK) last fall.
The company cast the expiration as another example of how the cryptoeconomy still has to prove itself in the daylight of the mainstream:
“We do recognize that despite the huge potential of the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry, it remains a relatively young industry which is proving its value. We hope regulatory authorities, media, and the general public can be more inclusive to this young industry. We will restart the listing application work at an appropriate time in the future.”
Bitmain emphasized that the application venture made the firm “more transparent.” Indeed, the IPO gave insights into the company’s revenues at the time, which amounted to $2.85 billion USD through the first half of 2018 — up from the $2.5 billion that Bitmain had made during the entirety of 2017.
That upward revenue trend undoubtedly took hits later in 2018 as the cryptoeconomy continued in its bearish trends, but Bitmain is clearly gunning to reverse course in 2019 and beyond.