Chinese bitcoin tycoon Li Xiaolai has announced that he personally will not invest in blockchain projects in the future.
“From this day on, Li Xiaolai personally will not invest in any projects (whether it is blockchain or early stage). So, if you see ‘Li Xiaolai’ associated with any project (I have been associated with countless projects without my knowledge, 99% is not an exaggeration), just ignore it,” Li said in a Weibo post (our translation). He went on: “I plan to spend several years to contemplate on my career change. As for what I’m doing next, I’m not sure just yet.”
Li is the founder of Beijing-based venture capital firm BitFund. As one of the largest bitcoin holders in China, his sudden announcement caused a big stir in the local crypto community. “Mr. Li Xiaolai’s value has seriously been underrated,” one follower commented. While there were supportive comments from Li’s devoted followers, others were doubtful. Though Li claimed to not personally invest in any future projects, some suggest that he might still take part through institutions or investment fund.
Earlier this year, Li stepped down from his role as managing partner of the $1 billion Hangzhou Xiong’An Blockchain Fund after a series of accusations were made against him. Most notable was his feud with venture capitalist Chen Weixing. Chen previously openly called Li as “tumor” of China’s cryptocurrency industry and later accused Li of owing a group of investors 30,000 bitcoins which he had collected in 2013 for an investment fund.
Not long after, Li again found himself knee-deep in controversy after the leak of a 50-minute recording of him going off on some of the most well-known players China’s crypto circle and giving tips on how to “cut leeks”— a reference to new investors entering the market that get ‘harvested’ by bigger players.
In May, a program aired on CCTV (in Chinese) showed that despite the government’s cryptocurrency crackdown in 2017, ICOs were still rampant and the number of “air coins” (token projects not backed by legitimate entities) were still on the rise. The report suggested that these projects promote their associations with big-name crypto investors like Li Xiaolai in order to appear as legitimate. “99.99 percent of the time, I’m being associated with these projects without even knowing it,” Li was quoted as saying in the CCTV program.