Bitmain offers stock options to staff to keep them around for IPO

Bitmain is continuing to sprint towards another initial public offering (IPO). As recently reported by Chinese outlet Jiemian and translated by The Bitcoinist, the crypto mining firm has finished distributing share options to its employees.

While Bitmain had previously offered options to employees, they’ve widened their criteria for which employees would receive them this time. “Bitmain previously only gave options to core development staff and those who joined before October 2015,” the report noted. “This time, anyone who joined before 2018 and who have certain positions will get options… almost all of them.”

Another outlet, BitcoinExchangeGuide, speculated on this news that Bitmain might have expanded the offering due to the recent rise of cryptomarkets. That doesn’t seem likely though, as while it might have helped keep Bitmain afloat, it doesn’t seem like a reason to give employees a promise of stock options.

Bitmain had a very rough time at the beginning of 2019, as the company made a few bad bets and had to lay off countless staff, endured losses of revenue and was the subject of lawsuits. When rumors began that Bitmain would once again try for an IPO, it would be fair to speculate that the company was doing so because the market has gotten better, or because the company really needs some fresh blood in the way of cash.

Offering employees stock options now, as opposed to when they first considered filing an IPO in Hong Kong, comes under very different circumstances. There are less staff to offer to overall, so it makes sense that they would need to widen their criteria to offer to much staff at all.

It could also be a measure to keep staff with the company. In May, one of their lead architects jumped ship to work on new rigs somewhere else. Offering stock options, even if they might not be worth much down the road, could keep promising talent sticking around rather than looking elsewhere. With plenty of staff working at other operations now, that’s a real threat.

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