Ousted Bitmain Co-Founder Storms Company Offices With Private Security Guards

Micree Zhan, co-founder of cryptocurrency mining hardware manufacturer Bitmain, has reportedly stormed the company’s offices in Beijing with private security guards in a bid to take back control.

According to local news outlet Blockbeats, the moves comes amid a battle for control over Bitmain between its two co-founders, Micree Zhan and Jihan Wu. Zhan reportedly took over the Beijing offices with private security guards and then sent a letter to shareholders and employees, stating he was in control of the office and encouraging employees to return to work.

On social media an edited version of the video of Zhan storming the offices is circulating.

In the letter, Zhan apologized for the recent turmoil at the company and said he would take it public in hopes of raising funds through an initial public offering and getting its value up to $50 billion within five years.

On its Weibo account, Bitmain claimed Zhan has been removed from his position as a legal representative for the Beijing subsidiary of Bitmain, and that a team of lawyers will be pursuing litigation. Under Chinese law, it’s worth noting, a legal representative has powers over the company’s capital and assets, and as such the title is usually held by the CEO.

Battling for Bitmain

Bitmain’s co-founder, it’s worth noting, have been battling each other since October 2019, when CEO Jihan Wu ousted Zhan from the firm, sending staff an email informing them they were to “no longer take any direction from Zhan, or participate in any meeting organized by Zhan.” Bitmain could, per the email, “consider terminating employment contracts” for those who went against the email.

The internal dispute between Zhan and Wu started over different opinions on Bitmain’s future. While Zhan believes the firm should diversify and start offering silicon specialized towards artificial Intelligence, Wu has fought for it to pursue cryptocurrency mining-related operations.

After Bitmain failed to go public on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong, Wu left the company but later on return with shareholder support, saying he would take legal action to regain control over it. At the time, Wu said:

Bitmain is our child. I will fight for her till the end with legal weapons. I won’t allow those who want to plot against Bitmain to succeed. If someone wants a war, we will give them one.

At the time control of the company was given to Zhan, but the conflict escalated on May 8 at the Haidian District Administrative Service Center, as when the co-founder was there to collect documents, dozens of others showed up, including Bitmain’s current CEO Liu Luvao. According to Caixin, a physical fight ensued and police had to be called.

Featured image by Ali Yahya on Unsplash.