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Bitmain CEO Jihan Wu Pushes Co-founder Out the Door 

Bitmain has had a resurgence this year, climbing out of the dark hole it was in, thanks largely to the surge in cryptocurrency prices so far in 2019. However, this doesn’t mean that the company still isn’t undergoing some rather seismic changes. Earlier today, Dovey Wan, a popular Chinese crypto insider and founding partner at blockchain investment company Primitive Ventures, posted a tweet revealing that Micree Ketuan Zhan, the co-founder and largest shareholder in the Chinese mining giant, has left the company. 

Cleaning the house 

According to several reports, Zhan and his fellow co-founder Jihan Wu had a disagreement, and the latter was more than willing to let his displeasure be known. As Wan reported, Wu went on to immediately strip Zhan of all his authority, and while he still effectively owns a 36 percent stake in the mining firm, he isn’t expected to have any more involvement in the daily activities that go on there.

“Micree Zhan’s email was deleted and already banned from entering into the company’s office by security. The whole HR department was completely cleared up with replacement from Jihan’s people,” Wan claimed, adding that Wu had declared his authority with a bold mission statement that promises to ‘save the sinking ship’ that is Bitmain. 

Jihan Wu, the founder, flexes his muscles 

The ownership shakeup is, in more ways than one, different from the previous one, which occurred earlier this year. Just coming out of what has been seen by many as the worst year in the history of the crypto industry, Bitmain was all but left in shambles. Its application for an Initial Public Offering (IPO) had been blocked by financial regulators in Hong Kong, and give how its sales had been affected by the crypto winter; it was clear that something needed to be done or the company risked its future. 

Hoping to bring back some sense of normalcy, the Bitmain board elected to make way for a new chief executive, effectively transitioning both Zhan and Wu to more passive roles within the company. Citing people with knowledge of the matter, the South China Morning Post reported on January 10, 2019, that Wang Haichao, the firm’s Director of Product Engineering at the time, would be replacing the founders as its new CEO, adding that he had already taken responsibility for daily activities since December 2018. 

Haichao was eventually named by Bitmain as the new CEO on March 26, and while he heads the company, it is evident that Wu still has a lot of clout at the company. 

The sudden ousting of Zhan, as well as how it was conducted, raised several eyebrows, including those of Samson Mow, the Chief Security Officer at Canadian blockchain software company Blockstream. In a tweet on the matter, Mow, questioned how Wu was able to kick his partner out of the company they started together, labeling the development no more than a power play that still has yet to play out.

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