At a meeting on Tuesday, October 29, Jihan Wu, the founder and CEO of Beijing Bitmain, admitted that his conflict with partner Mikri Zhang has been going on for several years, but has escalated at the end of last year. He called the entrepreneur himself “insecure,” and his ideas were “crazy” CoinDesk reports citing a recording of the meeting.
Wu said that Zhang opposed staff cuts and the closure of some destinations at the end of last year, despite the fact that Bitmain “thoughtlessly” spent a lot of money. Minority partners supported Wu, but Zhang allegedly tried to win over middle management.
According to Wu, the conflict has hurt the company’s business relations, including cooperation with banks. As a result, both agreed to leave executive positions, but reserve the right to make strategic decisions.
In 2019, Bitmain did not increase the sale of equipment, despite the rise in the price of bitcoin, unlike competitors in the person of Canaan and Innosilicon, Wu summarized. The share of the BTC.com and Antpool pools affiliated with the company in the hashrate decreased significantly and they lost the lead to Poolin and F2Pool.
Right on that day, we had suppliers calling us to push for clearing accounts payable. The Bank of Beijing already agreed to give us credit lines but that got cut the next day. Had it not been the bounce-back of the bitcoin price in later months … the company may not have been able to weather through the winter last year.
Zhang allegedly proposed increasing investments in the artificial intelligence unit and expanding the staff accordingly. Wu called this idea “crazy.”
Some said inside the company, I’m the one who handles business and Zhan handles technology. I want to ask, between Zhan and I, who really has a love for the technology? Zhan doesn’t love technology, he loves that feeling of fulfilling his endless desire for power. He doesn’t love technology, he loves vanity. Folks, we have no options but to keep Zhan away from this company.
Tencent News reported that Zhang was not even allowed into the company’s office, but it remains unclear whether Jihan Wu had sufficient authority to “coup”, since at the end of 2018 his share was significantly less than Zhang’s.
Recall that earlier Bitmain filed for an IPO in the United States with the support of Deutsche Bank.