It would appear that Bitmain co-founder and CEO Jihan Wu has lost his throne. According to Chinese media outlet 8btc.com, Wu has stepped down as executive director of the board of the cryptocurrency mining equipment manufacturer. In relinquishing his position, Wu is now a board supervisor, meaning he has no influence in the corporate decision-making process. Wu was replaced by Zhan Ketuan.
A lawyer for the company told the Chinese media outlet that the decision to remove Wu as the director is nothing more than a “redistribution of power.” In addition to Wu’s reassignment, four of the six board members have also quit their positions. Three of them were directors, while the fourth was a member of the board of supervisors. The move was reportedly made in anticipation of the as-of-yet still unscheduled initial public offering (IPO) expected by Bitmain.
The announcement of the personnel changes reads, in part, “As a director, [Wu] had the right to vote when the board makes decisions. However, after changing to a supervisor, his power becomes smaller that he can no longer vote. As thus, Wu will be unable to participate in the business decision-making but only serve as a supervisor.”
The timing of the changes is suspect. They come only days ahead of the Bitcoin BCH hard fork and at the same time Bitmain is set to release two new mining rigs, the S15 and the T15.
The hard fork could be especially costly for the company. Bitmain is reportedly trying to increase its hash output, which is turning into an expensive proposition. Bitmain supports Bitcoin ABC and the ongoing hash war shows overwhelming support for Bitcoin SV. Monday saw Bitcoin SV controlling 66% of the hash, but this figure is now up to 73%, according to Coin Dance.
While the company positions the “adjustments” as normal courses of action ahead of an IPO, there might be deeper reasons. There is reportedly significant in-fighting between Wu and Bitmain’s other co-founder, Micree Zhan. Zhan services as the head of technology R&D for the company and wants Bitmain to become a company focusing on chip making—as its prospectus indicates. However, Wu is turning his focus more to cryptocurrency mining and the blockchain.
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