For much of 2018, crypto startups seemed invincible. As Bitcoin (BTC) collapsed, falling to new multi-month lows each and every month, this industry’s participants barely flinched. Yet, as 2018 has come to a head, a number of industry heavyweights have ostensibly fallen victim to financial shortcomings, dropping the guise of fortitude in a hot second, as it were. Bitmain, a heavyweight in this infantile space, is the most recent company to have succumbed to the bear market blues.
Bitmain Loses Staffers As Bitcoin Plunges
As reported by Live Coin Watch previously, Bejing-based Bitmain recently confirmed that it intends to lay off a number of its employees. In a statement given to the South China Morning Post, the startup, valued at over $13 billion dollars, company representatives claimed that Bitmain intends to make “some adujustment[s] to our staff this year.”
However, other than that comment, not much else was divulged about the cut. This catalyzed the crypto community to reach out. After some digging and consulting, some divulged that a minimum of 50% of Bitmain’s staff was going to be purged. Others claimed that the figure amounted to 85%. For now, however, the extent of the layoff hasn’t been substantiated.
Yet, what seems to be confirmed is that Bitmain lost its Copernicus arm, which purportedly pruned the firm’s Bitcoin Cash GO client. This latter piece of information comes courtesy of Samson Mow, the chief of strategy at Bitcoin developer Blockstream.
While Bitmain has suffered enough, preliminary reports indicate that the firm’s qualms aren’t over just yet.
Bitmain’s Qualms Aren’t Over Yet
Dovey Wan, the founding partner of Primitive Capital and well-known industry insider, recently took to her well-followed Twitter soapbox to convey a rumor that could turn the cryptosphere on its head.
Wan claimed that a local source, OriginalPlanet Daily, has claimed that both Jihan Wu and Micree Zhan will step down from their co-CEO positions at Bitmain.
Maybe this is THE LAST AND BIGGEST Bitmain drama of the year
⚠️⚠️⚠️ Local source said “ BOTH Jihan and Zhan will step down” !!! 🚨🚨🚨
The original plan according to IPO filing is Jihan & Zhan will be co-CEOs, but now the source said “The successor maybe Mr. Wang” 👀👀👀 pic.twitter.com/egYtsfbbSp
— Dovey Wan 🦖 (@DoveyWan) December 28, 2018
Speaking with OriginalPlanet Daily, one familiar with Bitmain claimed while these rumors may not be 100% accurate, the company is in the midst of a “transitional period.” Other sources claim that Zhan is stepping down to its inability to manage the conglomerate, which creates ASICs, operates mining pools, and recently made a push into artificial intelligence.
Skeptics of the Zhan theory have suggested that the co-CEO system wasn’t operational, with some former employees of the Bitcoin firm suggesting that the two haven’t been able to properly work in tandem.
However, due to the fact that Bitmain hasn’t publicly commented on this debacle, it remains to be seen if these rumors hold their water. Yet, over the past few months, it has been hinted that Wu lost the ability to influence the company, and is just a figurehead.
If this hearsay is true, a businessman with the surname Wang will reportedly take over Bitmain’s CEO slot. Due to the popularity of the name Wang, there are a number of employees that could be potential candidates. Dovey Wan has suggested it could be Haichao Wang, Bitmain’s incumbent director of product engineering, or Shengli Wang, a former member of Huawei’s board of directors.
Then again, much of this remains unclear, so it seems that the Bitcoin community will need to sit on its hands and wait, for now at least.