Judge denies Bitmain $30 million in damages

The Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court has denied Bitmain the $30 million they were seeking in damages from the digital currency mining pool Poolin. This brings an end to the year-long legal battle between Bitmain and Poolin. 

The court, however, agreed that Poolin had violated its agreement with Bitmain, and is requiring the three Poolin co-founders Pan Zhibiao, Li Tianzhao, and Zhu Fa to pay $200,000, $178,000 and $154,000, in damages respectively.

Bitmain vs. Poolin

The case began in April 2019 when Bitmain accused Poolin of violating a non-compete agreement; all three of Poolin’s co-founders previously worked for Bitmain’s mining pool BTC.com, and when they left the company they signed a 24-month non-compete period agreement that began in August 2017. 

However, Poolin began mining digital currency before the 24-month period had come to an end, which led to Bitmain pressing charges and originally sought $4.3 million in damages. At the time, the lower-level Beijing Haidian District Court required Poolin’s co-founders to pay a fine for violating the non-compete agreement but denied Bitmain the $4.3 million in damages that it was seeking. 

Subsequently, Bitmain filed an appeal seeking $30 million from the Poolin co-founders ($10 million from each co-founder). Bitmain decided that $30 million was the appropriate sum of money because that is allegedly how much Poolin earned in mining revenue during the non-compete period. 

The judge ultimately denied Bitmain’s appeal. According to the court report, after review, the court believed that the evidence provided by Bitmain was insufficient when it came to proving that their business losses due to the breach of the non-compete agreement were worth the $30 million they were seeking. However, the court agreed that the non-compete agreement was broken and required the defendants to pay an applicable sum of money for violating their agreement with their former employer.

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