Bitmain to Appoint in-House Tech Chief as New CEO, Report Claims

Francisco Memoria

Cryptocurrency mining hardware manufacturer Bitmain is reportedly replacing its co-founders Jihan Wu and Ketuan Zhan, its co-CEOs, for a new chief executive. A potential successor is reportedly Haichao Wang, an in-house product engineering director.

According to the south China Morning Post (SCMP), Wang has already token user duties from the co-CEOs in a transition period that has started in December of last year. The SCMP reports, according to unnamed sources, that there’s no timetable for Wang to take over.

Wu and Zhan are reportedly going to remain the company’s co-chairs, and while they won’t oversee Bitmain’s day-to-day operations, they will make final calls on important decisions. The pair has reportedly disagreed on certain issues in the past.

Before working at Bitmain, Wang was reportedly a software programmer and product manager at Beijing-based design house Availink, from 2010 to 2017. He graduated from an institution considered the MIT of China, Beijing’s Tsinghua University.

Bitmain has been going through rough times, as the cryptocurrency ecosystem endured a prolonged bear market that saw cryptocurrency prices plunge. The MVIS CryptoCompare Digital Assets 100 Index, a market cap-weighted index that tracks the performance of the top 100 cryptocurrencies, is down 84% in the last 12 months.

The drop has seen the company shut down its Israeli research center, and lay off part of its workforce in what the company called an “adjustment to staff.” The company reportedly had 2,594 full-time employees, 840 of them engineers, at the end of June.

These moves came after it filed for an initial public offering (IPO) with the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong. Wu and Zhan, who founded Bitmain back in 2013, hold 21% and 37% of the company, and both have 10-1 voting rights over ordinary shareholders.

The company has also had to deal with the Bitcoin Cash hard fork on November 15, which subsequently led to a hashrate war to protect the cryptocurrency’s network. Some reports have suggested it was forced to deploy 90,000 S9 ASIC machines ahead of it.