Over the past few days, rumors circulated that amidst a shuffle of the Bitmain Technologies Ltd board of directors, Jihan Wu, co-founder of Bitmain's massive mining empire, had been removed from Bitmain's senior management structure.
Nishant Sharma, Bitmain's international marketing manager, has reportedly spoken out to confirm that Wu will continue with Bitmain as a co-director, but that restructuring has indeed occurred. Sharma said: "As is standard listing practice, Bitmain is restructuring its board and group structure, to ensure it meets regulatory requirements on its road to IPO."
"There have been no board departures and co-founder Jihan Wu will continue to lead the company as co-chair, together with co-chief executive officer, Micree Zhan."
Though Wu is the figure most associated with Bitmain and its domination of its Bitcoin mining empire, he reportedly owns just 20 percent of Bitmain. By comparison, Zhan is Bitmain's largest shareholder, with 36 percent.
Potential plans for a Bitmain IPO on the Hong Kong stock exchange emerged in June 2018, as a possible route for invested venture capital firms to receive a return on their investments, and for the already successful ASIC maker and owner of Bitcoin mining pools BTC.com and Antpool to raise additional funding.
Bitmain filed its IPO prospectus containing vital company data in September 2018, but concerns followed that figures detailing impressive year-on-year growth were hiding poor quarterly results for 2018. In the prospectus, Bitmain had combined its Q1 and Q2 revenue, instead of breaking the two periods down. Reporting indicated that Bitmain's profits could have taken a backwards step, with Q2 losses as much as $400 million, which would make shares less attractive to investors.
With this year's rocky cryptocurrency markets, an IPO for Bitmain is already a brave move. It seems Bitmain has quickly clarified concerns over Wu's position in the company, an important step for conveying maximum credibility moving into an IPO.
With or without Wu, transparency for Bitmain is vital. Not only is it a billion-dollar business – it's also taking a cryptocurrency business into mainstream markets at a time of uncertainty for the coins it mines.