Bitmain CEO Jihan Wu, Co-founders And Executives Join The Richest People In China List (2018)

According to the Hurun Research Institute, there are five new billionaires on its 2018 Hurun Rich List. Per the list, China's wealthiest club now includes the company's founders, CEO, and Vice President, with a reportedly combined value of nearly $9 billion.

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Bitmain’s dominance in the cryptocurrency mining industry has once again come to the fore, thanks to the 2018 list of China’s richest people.

According to the Hurun Research Institute, there are five new billionaires on its 2018 Hurun Rich List. Per the list, China’s wealthiest club now includes the company’s founders, CEO, and Vice President, with a reportedly combined value of nearly $9 billion.

Co-founder Ketuan Zhan owns 36 percent of Bitmain and is worth over $4 billion. CEO Jihan Wu, the most prominent face of the mining giant, owns 20.25 percent of the firm and is valued at over $2 billion.

Co-founder Zhaofeng Zhao owns about 6.26 percent of the company, with Hurun valuing him alongside company execs Yuesheng Ge and Yishuo Hu at just under $1 billion. However, the three still make the billionaire rich list when valued in Chinese Yuan.

Other notable crypto-related names on the Hurun Rich List for the year are:

  • Changpeng Zhao, Binance (exchange)
  • Xu Mingxing, OKCoin (exchange)
  • Li Lin, Huobi (exchange)
  • Li Xiaolai, BitFund (investment)
  • Nangeng Zhang, Caanan Creative (mining)

Forbes named Ripple co-founder Chris Larsen among its 400 wealthiest people whose wealth comes exclusively from cryptocurrency investments. He is valued at about $2.1 billion.

Bitmain’s monopoly in the mining industry

Bitmain Technologies is the world’s leading maker of ASIC chips and the biggest Bitcoin mining company. Bitmain launched its operations in 2013 and has since developed into the biggest manufacturer of ASIC miners.

The Chinese firm also owns two of Bitcoin (BTC)’s top mining pools in Antpool and BTC.com. Earlier this year, the firm’s hold on the overall hashrate for bitcoin mining came dangerously close to 50 percent, raising questions about the potential for a 51% attack.

The company’s hold on the ASIC chip market currently makes up for about 70 percent of the market, valued at over $2 billion. The company has been aggressive in its expansion efforts, raising almost $800 since the beginning of 2017.

However, it’s in 2018 that Bitmain’s plans to continue dominating have come to the fore. It has invested in a number of startups and revamped its chipsets.

Facing competition from startups like Canaan Inc., Bitfury, and Ebang, the Beijing-based crypto monolith has invested more in its ASIC chips, including in the latest next-generation 7nm BM1391 ASIC chip.

Recently, the firm closed its Series B funding round, raising about $400 led by Sequoia Capital China. The fundraising was part of Bitmain’s wider pre-IPO efforts, with a listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange its ultimate goal.

Bitmain earned revenues of about $4 billion in 2017, and despite the decline in crypto prices in a bearish 2018, analysts estimate that the firm will still be profitable. Revenue earnings of for the year are expected to be closer to $10 billion, bringing its valuation to around $18 billion.

With the need to stem criticism and temper fears about its financial status, the firm released its first-ever financial disclosure after a KPMG audit. It is expected that the IPO will proceed sometime later in the year or in Q1 2019.

To reach that goal, Bitmain has to navigate the negativity surrounding its pre-IPO investors, most of whom have tried to distance themselves with the mining giant.

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