Self-Made Crypto Billionaire May Choose IPO for Bitmain
Jihan Wu is the 32-year-old self-made billionaire who runs Bitmain Technologies Ltd., the world’s dominant producer of cryptocurrency mining chips. According to Bloomberg, he is pursuing an expansion beyond the cryptoverse that may even lead to selling a stake in the company via an Initial Public Offering (IPO).
In an interview with Bloomberg, Wu revealed that Bitmain booked USD 2.5 billion of revenue last year and that he and co-founder Micree Zhan together own about 60% of the business, with him owning the smaller share. However, he declined to share details of his own net worth.
Zhan has previously said Bitmain is worth USD 12 billion, however, applying a multiple similar to that of publicly traded chipmakers such as Nvidia Corp. and MediaTek Inc. would give the company a valuation of about USD 8.8 billion, according to Bloomberg calculations.
Although Zhan claims to have no specific plans at the moment, he says he’s open to a listing in Hong Kong or in an overseas market with USD-denominated shares, as this would give early investors an opportunity to cash out.
An IPO would both open Bitmain’s books to the real world and have a value assigned to the company. It would certainly be a step beyond the cryptoverse, as the company is looking to extend into areas including artificial intelligence, which is very well-backed by Chinese investors.
However, even should they decide to do it, they wouldn’t be the first mining gear manufacturer to take this step: Canaan Creative has applied to the Hong Kong stock exchange for an initial public offering, while Zhejiang Ebang Communication has started working with advisers on a Hong Kong float. They are looking to raise up to USD 1 billion to make ends meet due to the plummet in cryptocurrency price, simultaneously testing investors’ appetites for cryptocurrency related businesses.