Business

Noah Bradley

Ousted Bitmain co-founder Micree Zhan fights back

After Micree Zhan was forced out of the company he helped found, the entrepreneur is ready to fight back. Zhan is one of the men behind Chinese cryptocurrency mining equipment manufacturer Bitmain, but was forced out by fellow co-founder, and controversial crypto figure Jihan Wu, last month. His ouster, however, was an attempt by Wu to take control of the company and could be illegal. 

Zhan wasn’t even given the decency or respect to have been notified in person by Wu. He was away from headquarters on a business trip when he was removed and the decision was made without his consent, according to a letter he penned to Bitmain employees. He explained, “I have never thought that as a person focusing on technology and product, I have to start thinking from legal perspectives. It was embarrassing that as a Bitmain co-founder, the biggest shareholder, and a registered legal representative, I got ousted without any knowledge in this coup while on a business trip.”

He feels that he was stabbed in the back, just like the “partners you trusted and ‘brothers’ you fought together with” and vows to fight the move with everything he has. He reassured Bitmain’s employees and shareholders that he has every intention of being back in the company “as soon as possible through legal methods,” and stated, “We want to achieve the goal of 90% market share of bitcoin miner manufacturing market! Our AI [artificial intelligence] business can achieve a qualitative breakthrough of about 100 million yuan [~$14.25 million] in revenue in 2019, and can expect 1 billion yuan [~$143 million] in 2020.”

This is just the latest chapter in the massive internal instability and strife seen at Bitmain. The company has had significant issues in the past with its financial reporting and health, and Wu was, at one point, almost forced out completely. That came following a string of bad business decisions, including failed investments that damaged the company’s bottom line and reputation. 

According to a tweet by Asia Crypto today, Zhan’s position as “legal representative” of the company carries significant weight and this could give him the foundation he needs to effectively fight back. The tweet explains, “’Legal representative’ for Chinese companies means the person with the full authority to conduct the company’s affairs. They have even more power than directors.”

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