Tech 10 September 2018Erik Gibbs
Bitmain’s IPO could be cancelled
Bitmain’s initial public offering (IPO) scheduled for this month may never have a chance to get going. Apart from recent revelations of questionable announcements, the current state of the market might have a detrimental impact on the company’s ability to launch the IPO.
The current volatility in the cryptocurrency market has been accompanied by a downward trend in the sale of crypto mining equipment. Recent analysis of Bitmain’s financial data, some of which wasn’t released to the public, revealed that the majority of its money sits in assets that it hasn’t been able to distribute. Virtually all companies, including NVidia and AMD, have seen a substantial decline in sales of chips that are used in almost all mining equipment, Forbes reported.
Future lack of demand for the chips could cause investors to stay away from the IPO, which has been expected to attract as much as $3 billion to Bitmain. 96% of the company’s profits stem from the sale of crypto mining rigs, while only 3% comes from direct mining operations. If the market grinds to a halt, Bitmain won’t be in a position to offload its current stock to generate profits that would make the IPO valuable.
Bitmain is also seeing renewed competition in the sale of chips. According to Sanford Bernstein analyst Mark Li, a recent report shows that rivals such as Canaan Inc. and Ebang International are catching up, eating away at the market control Bitmain has enjoyed.
Recent claims that the company has received financial backing by institutions such as Japan’s Softbank and China’s Tencent could also prove to be the IPOs undoing. After completing a recent funding round, Bitmain explicitly said that the two companies, among others, had made significant investments. Softbank has responded, saying that it had unequivocally never invested in the company. Multiple attempts to receive a response from Tencent were not answered—which is confusing in and of itself—but Chinese media outlets have reported that the company never made any investment in Bitmain.
The fact that Bitmain would make the announcements knowing them to be false is, at a minimum, extremely odd and could lead to a lack of investor confidence should it move forward with the IPO. Compounding the issue is the fact that the company has never bothered to address the issue and set the record straight, which only adds to the mystery.
With the month already almost halfway over, and no new information coming out of the company, it will be interesting to see what the next couple of weeks bring to light.
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