Bitmain, the world’s largest manufacturer of cryptocurrency mining equipment, is stepping further into controversy after one of its co-founders opened a new corporate name, address, bank account, and website for the company. 

On July 6, Bitmain’s WeChat account, which is believed to be under ousted Bitmain co-founder Micree Zhan’s control, published an announcement, saying that the corporate bank account used for purchasing Bitmain’s products has changed. The updated bank account name is Zhanhua Intelligent Technology Company (福建湛华智能科技有限公司) which according to China’s corporate directory is registered in Fuzhou, Zhan’s hometown, and is wholly-owned by Bitmain Beijing — which Zhan controls. 

According to Tianyancha, a Chinese company directory, this firm was inactive but co-owned by Jihan Wu and Zhan from 2017 until 2020. On July 6, 2020, the directory shows that Wu was removed as a company supervisor and replaced with someone else.

Tianyancha image
Tianyancha, a Chinese company directory lists Zhanhua Intelligent Technology Company as inactive from 2017 to 2020. Image: Tianyancha

To recap, Zhan is at odds with co-founder Wu over the position of legal representative of Bitmain. With this position, and the almighty corporate chop, comes control of bank accounts and signing authority for the company. While Zhan controls, in the literal sense, the company’s Beijing office, Wu is still the Legal Representative and thus has the power to open and close accounts — hence the need for the Bitmain bank account to be controlled by a separate legal entity. Wu also controls the Hong Kong parent of Bitmain China, and is currently blocking shipments of key silicon from Taiwan’s TSMC that are meant to be delivered to the Bitmain factory in Shenzhen via the city. 

See related article: China uses blockchain to ease cross-border finance barriers in Greater Bay Area

Bitmain denies that Zhan has any sort of official capacity at the company, claiming that he has been removed from his position. The company also says that it is engaging in litigation against Zhan. In addition to a new bank account, Zhan established a new Bitmain website for after-sale services with a similar, but unique domain name. Zhan is also pushing traffic to this website via WeChat and Weibo, frequently reposting the new URL.

However, the website’s functionality is quite simplistic and crude: users are only able to check the warranty status of its products and contact and after-sale service center. 

Netizens not impressed with Bitmain drama

Netizens within China’s crypto community remain annoyed with the ongoing hostilities between the two Bitmain co-founders.

Weibo netizens respond to Bitmain drama
Chinese Weibo users express frustration over Bitmain’s drama. Image: Weibo

The frequently reposted links don’t seem to be getting much traction with the company’s followers on Weibo. One follower commented “stop it”, another said “again?”

For his part, Wu responded by saying that all information posted by Zhan was fake, according to an announcement published on Bitmain’s official website (controlled by Wu) on July 7. 

The announcement also states that Bitmain’s WeChat and Weibo accounts have been controlled by an unknown party since June 10. Bitmain Beijing and its parent company Bitmain Hong Kong, it noted, will reserve all rights to pursue any and all available legal and equitable remedies.