Founder of Bitmain Technologies, Jihan Wu, said that he is considering launching a publicly-traded Bitmain stock on the Hong Kong or a United States stock exchange via an initial public offering (IPO). Bitmain is a global Bitcoin mining powerhouse, controlling as much as 80% of the market for cryptocurrency mining equipment.

Bitmain’s mining pools, Antpool and BTC.com, control 40% of the global Bitcoin mining network which generates a tremendous amount of money. If Bitmain launches a publicly-traded stock it will be an excellent way for investors to get a share of the flourishing Bitcoin mining industry. Kevin Wang, an analyst at Mizuho Securities Asia, says a Bitmain IPO would generate a lot of attention from Hong Kong investors.

Bitmain is now expanding into artificial intelligence technology, and this is a primary reason why Wu wants to get Bitmain publicly listed on a stock exchange.  The application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) used for cryptocurrency mining are ideal for the large amount of computations needed for artificial intelligence.  An IPO would bring in funding that can be used for artificial intelligence development.

Part of the reason for Bitmain’s move into artificial intelligence is political. Large-scale cryptocurrency trading has been banned in China, and mining may be banned soon too, so Jihan Wu wants to have a ‘Plan B’ so Bitmain can survive. The Chinese government fully supports artificial intelligence development.

Wu says Bitmain is worth USD 12 billion and brought in USD 2.5 billion of revenue last year, and that he and his partner Micree Zhan control 60% of the company. Sequoia Capital and IDG Capital are early investors that own a large portion of Bitmain, and part of the reason Wu wants to launch a publicly-traded stock is so these early investors can cash out.

If successful Bitmain would be the largest cryptocurrency company with a publicly traded stock by far. This would be another major event in cryptocurrency’s transition to mainstream adoption.

 

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