Bitmain - the world’s leading producer of cryptocurrency mining chips - is considering an IPO.
According to the report today in Bloomberg, 32-year-old CEO Jihan Wu is pondering the idea of a listing for the Beijing-based company - which until recently had been very secretive about its value and financial plans.
Founded by Wu and Micree Zhan, the company has become incredibly profitable - recording a $2.5bn revenue last year, and has become famous for its powerful Antminer range of ASIC cryptocurrency miners (Application-Specific Integrated Circuits: chips designed specifically for crpytocurrency mining).
With Wu claiming the company to be worth $12bn, Bloomberg estimated a valuation of close to $9bn based on comparisons with other publically traded non-crypto chipmakers such as Nvidia. Although it is unclear whether investors would view a company in the crypto market in the same way - a figure in that ballpark doesn’t seem unreasonable given Bitmain’s impressive figures.
While Wu said that he had no specific intentions for a listing at the moment, the report does suggests that the CEO is warming to the idea of an IPO as the company expands its operations beyond the cryptocurrency arena. With the company pursuing ventures into artificial intelligence, he remarked:
“The challenge is advancing our technology beyond what we’ve already achieved,”
With the Chinese official position on cryptocurrencies standing in stark contrast to their recent encouragment of blockhcain technology, a move beyond the mining sector would also sit well at home.
Many within the industry have voiced concerns over the power these two mining pools exert over the bitcoin market - controlling over 40% of the market according to blockchain.info - and how this might conflict with the spirit of decentralisation that animates much of the cryptocurrency space.
Featured Image Credit: "Bitcoin Mining" by "Marco Verch" via Flickr; licensed under "CC BY 2.0"