Bitmain moves ahead with employee-options plan; Jihan Wu left on the sidelines

  • 06 July 2019, Saturday, 10:00

When in doubt, look inward. Well, that’s the motto Bitcoin mining giant Bitmain is employing.

Bitmain, manufacturers of mining equipment used to mint the largest cryptocurrency in the market, Bitcoin, has finished rolling out employee options as their initial public offering [IPO] looms.

Jiemian, a local Chinese media outlet, reported earlier this week that Bitmain completed “a round of large-scale” options contract signing. The report added that this process was completed at the end of June.

The report added that only Bitmain’s core development staff, those who joined prior to October 2015, were privy to these options. However, the change in the offer suggests that even those who joined prior to 2018 and who occupy “certain positions” within the company will be presented with employee options contracts.

With the mining company’s profits unequivocally hinged on mining costs and the price of Bitcoin, 2019 has been an undoubted boon. Since the beginning of the year, Bitcoin has been punching above its weight, up by over 250 percent and currently trading at $11,500. Hence, Bitmain’s entire loss sheet generated in 2018 was wiped clean from the revenues of the first half of 2019 alone.

The report added that the current “round of listing plans” was led by Jenke Group and infamous ex-CEO Jihan Wu was not consulted in the decision.

Citing a person familiar with the matter, the report (translated from Mandarin) stated,

“Because of the strong disagreement on whether to develop AI chip business, Wu Jihan and Jenke have split up peacefully. Now the business of Bitcoin is fully controlled by the Jenke Group. Although Wu Jihan is a director, he has no voting rights on the board of directors.”

The icy-cold remark made against Wu, once at the center of the cryptocurrency world due to his role in the November 2018 Bitcoin Cash hardfork, came after the Bitmain executive was ousted from his role in December 2018. Following the BCH-gamble and BTC’s dwindling 2018 price, Wu was made a supervisor from his role as a director at the company.

Interestingly, the completion of Bitmain’s internal options sale comes days after the mining giant ditched its failed plan to front their IPO in Hong Kong and instead, moved to the other side of the Pacific, the United States.

According to Bloomberg, Bitmain was looking to file documents with the United States SEC in July. The mining giant’s IPO application in Hong Kong lapsed in March 2019.