Bitmain co-founder Wu Jihan may be departing from core business

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Bitmain’s office in Haidian District, Beijing (Image credit: Bitmain)

Wu Jihan, co-founder of Beijing-based cryptocurrency mining hardware manufacturer Bitmain, will no longer lead the company’s core business, according to Chinese media outlet Caijing (in Chinese), which cited multiple sources close to the company.

Wu is said to be pivoting away from Bitmain’s cryptocurrency mining unit, which has been the company’s central business.

The mining hardware manufacturer will retain its mining business and the businesses that contribute to continuous cash flow, according to staff, but will cease new business expansion efforts, including its Bitcoin Cash (BCH)-related businesses and AI business led by co-CEOs Wu and Zhan Ketuan, respectively. The company will reportedly slash 50% to 70% of its workforce, which at one point numbered at 3000 employees.

Last month, numerous reports suggested that the company is considering replacing its co-CEOs amid the market downturn.

Wu is leaving Bitmain to start his own company that will focus on Bitcoin Cash and decentralized finance, according to blockchain media site U.Today.

The company appeared to deny Wu’s departure, saying it was false information then declining to comment.

Founded in 2013, Bitmain has become a dominant player in the cryptocurrency mining space, accounting nearly 75% of the world’s supply of mining rigs. But the mining giant isn’t shielded from fluctuations in the volatile cryptocurrency markets.

Bitmain filed for Hong Kong initial public offering (IPO) in September; however, the exchange (HKEX) has been reluctant to approve IPO applications for Chinese bitcoin mining equipment manufacturers due to the volatile nature of the industry. This month, the company’s IPO documents revealed that the company recorded a $500 million loss in the third quarter of 2018.

Bitmain recently shuttered its Amsterdam and Israel offices, saying that it was part of its operation and staffing adjustment.