Bitmain’s Israel development center is reportedly closing down. Bitmaintech Israel was founded just two years ago in the city of Ra’anana (just outside of Tel Aviv), but will be shutting down and laying off its 23 employees – according to Globes, an Israeli Business news outlet.

Gadi Glikberg, Bitmain VP and leader of Bitmaintech Israel, will also be leaving the company. In a statement to Bitmain’s Israeli employees, Gilkberg said:

The crypto market has undergone a shake-up in the past few months, which has forced Bitmain to examine its various activities around the globe and to refocus its business in accordance with the current situation.

The Bitmain branch in Israel was responsible mostly for research. Their projects included development of blockchain infrastructure, a new mining pool (Connect BTC) and Bitmain’s processor chips.

Bear Market Closures

The exact cause of this closure is unknown, but it seems plausible that the ongoing bitcoin bear market is a contributory factor. The declining price of Bitcoin (and Bitcoin Cash) has meant that mining is far less profitable. Since the beginning of November 2018, the BTC chain’s hash rate has dropped by a whopping 31%

Bitmain is the largest Antminer Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASIC) manufacturer in the world, and is also responsible for running one of the largest Bitcoin mining pools, Antpool. Based in China, Bitmain has been making waves all year due to their upcoming IPO. Their ASICs make up about 70% of all worldwide Bitcoin mining.

Bitcoin Cash SV supporter Calvin Ayre had some harsh words for Bitmain. Ayre, owner of CoinGeek, is set to be majority shareholder of Squire Mining, a Bitmain competitor. Via Twitter, Ayre said: