Based in 2013, the Beijing-based Bitmain Expertise stays on the heart of the crypto economic system. With its flagship AntMiner bitcoin mining tools nonetheless dominating the {hardware} market and its mining swimming pools accounting for a few quarter of the bitcoin community’s computing energy, it retains a uniquely highly effective place within the ecosystem of by far the most important cryptocurrency and blockchain challenge. 

That’s to not say it isn’t additionally controversial. Its vocal assist for a Bitcoin onerous fork (Bitcoin Money) in 2017, following contentious neighborhood disagreement, received the corporate, and its masterminds, many enemies. 

This submit is a part of the CoinDesk 50, an annual collection of essentially the most modern and consequential tasks within the blockchain trade. See the full record right here.

Over time, Bitmain has been concerned in lots of controversial developments to the purpose that the Chinese language crypto neighborhood refers to its foes because the “mining avengers.” In 2017, Bitmain filed a lawsuit towards Yang Zuoxing, the previous design chief behind Bitmain’s AntMiner S9 who began a rival miner producer MicroBT, over patent infringement. However Bitmain misplaced the case ultimately. 

Then in 2018, it introduced one other lawsuit over non-compete violation towards the previous creators of Bitman’s mining pool BTC.com, who left the corporate to start out a rival service PoolIn, which has turn out to be the world’s prime two bitcoin mining pool by whole hash charge.

Bitmain’s story began with Wu Jihan, one of many earliest bitcoin evangelists in China, translating Satoshi Nakamoto’s white paper to Chinese language in 2011. 

The AntMiner S3, launched in 2014, was utilized by numerous crypto notables when Bitcoin mining was nonetheless a hobbyist pursuit.

He invested in most likely the world’s first identified bitcoin-denominated preliminary public providing in 2012. It was a challenge began by Jiang Xinyu, a.ok.a Friedcat., who was crowdfunding bitcoin to roll out an application-specific built-in circuit only for bitcoin mining.

The {hardware} offered effectively initially and sensational success adopted. In 2013, Wu, with a finance and psychology diploma from China’s prestigious Peking College, determined to start out his personal firm to fabricate mining {hardware}. He was joined by Zhan Ketuan, his accomplice on the know-how aspect, who, in six years, would discover himself ousted from the corporate in a coup began by Wu.

Bitcoin’s final halving occasion in the summertime 2016 marked the start of two years of extraordinary progress at Bitmain. 

In 2017 alone, nonetheless solely 4 years previous, it made $1 billion in income. It made one other $1 billion for the primary six months in 2018 after which went on a high-profile fundraise in the summertime, netting $700 million from exterior shareholders with a guess. The deal is that this: if Bitmain can’t go public inside 5 years for the reason that fundraise at an agreed time period, exterior buyers may require the corporate to redeem all of their funding with an curiosity. 

At the moment, Bitmain was boasting a {hardware} market share of practically 80 p.c. So the agreed time period for the IPO was nothing however formidable: elevating a minimum of $500 million at a valuation of at least $18 billion.

A lot has modified in 2019, since its first IPO try failed in March in Hong Kong. 

Its rising rival, MicroBT, whose founder received over Bitmain’s patent infringement lawsuit, is severely undermining Bitmain’s market dominance.

In 2019, Bitmain’s mining swimming pools BTC.com and Antpool misplaced the highest two spots to F2Pool and Poolin, the latter of which nonetheless has an ongoing case with Bitmain over alleged non-compete violation.

When Wu Jihan returned in a coup in November 2019 to kick out his founding accomplice Zhan, he advised his folks he’s again to save lots of the sinking ship. Whether or not his robust comeback will work as he anticipated is but to be confirmed, though it seems ready to roll out extra highly effective tools to climate the upcoming halving.

It stays to be seen if Bitmain can replicate the sensational success it as soon as had following the 2016 bitcoin halving. 

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