Business 28 December 2018

Ed Drake

‘For the better survival of Bitmain’: Embattled Jihan Wu, co-CEO reportedly resigning

2018 may be coming to a close, but the Bitmain drama is far from over. This time, the crypto mining company’s top man, Jihan Wu, is reportedly about to quit his chief executive position at Bitmain, along with his co-CEO Micree Zhan.

On Friday, Chinese media Odaily Planet Daily reported that the two executives “will simultaneously resign as CEOs” of the crypto mining equipment manufacturer. They will be replaced by a man named Wang, who has been working in Bitmain “for some time.” A source familiar with the matter told the news outlet that Wang, who “joined Bitmain a while ago,” is “currently in the transition period of the handover.”

Zhan and Wu were identified as “co-chief executive officers” of Bitmain in the IPO prospectus that the company submitted to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in September. In it, Zhan was described as the leader of Bitmain’s chip research and development team, “with nearly 15 years of managerial and operational experience in the IC industry.” However, it appears that the decade-long experience didn’t prepare Zhan for Bitmain because as the Odaily source puts it, “since 2015, Zhan has expressed doubts about his management ability, and now he has finally taken action for the better survival of Bitmain.”

Not much is known about Zhan and Wu’s successor, except that he “was originally an outsider” but has been with the company “for some time.” There were speculations, however, that the man could be Haicho Wang, the current director for product engineering at Bitmain and an ally of Zhan.

For Jihan Wu, his imminent “retirement” from Bitmain could not have come at an opportune time—at least for him to spend some time with his family and maybe regroup. The embattled executive, who was already demoted from a board director to a “supervisor” in November, is currently embroiled in several lawsuits, the most recent of which is filed in Florida accusing him and his Chinese government-backed “team of conspirators” of intentional fraud and market manipulation during the recent Bitcoin Cash BCH network upgrade.

The news of Wu and Zhan’s impending resignations comes on the heels of Bitmain’s announcement that it is facing major staff reductions as part of its efforts “to build a long-term, sustainable and scalable business.”

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.

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