Bitmain is said to have made over $300 million in revenue this year so far, AI business 'grew rapidly'

Quick Take

  • Bitmain has reportedly made over $300 million in revenue this year so far
  • The company’s AI business is said to have grown sharply 
  • A Bitmain spokesperson declined to comment to The Block 

Bitcoin miner maker Bitmain is said to have made over $300 million in revenue in the first four months of 2020.

Local media outlet Wu Blockchain reported the news on Wednesday, saying that Bitmain announced its revenue internally ahead of China’s Labour Day holiday on May 1.

Bitmain’s artificial intelligence (AI) business has also grown sharply, per the report.

The company is said to be issuing bonuses of up to 70,000 yuan (~$9,900) per employee on the occasion of Labor Day, totaling to "tens of millions of yuan."

When reached for comment, a Bitmain spokesperson declined to provide details to The Block, saying that the company won't announce revenues publicly.

Notably, the AI business was the focus of Bitmain's ousted co-founder Micree Zhan, but his fellow co-founder Jihan Wu wasn't apparently keen on it. Last October, Wu said:

“AI is a venture investment for Bitmain. It still needs a considerable amount of investment. We have to keep making money from our main business [bitcoin miner making] in order to have the venture investment in AI.”

At the time, Wu called Zhan’s idea of doubling down on AI business "crazy”.

Antminer failure rate?

Earlier this week, there were reports that Bitmain's S17 and T17 Antminer machines have high failure rates of 20-30% as compared to roughly 5% usually. Wu reportedly blamed Zhan for the failure.

When reached for comment, the Bitmain spokesperson acknowledged the Antminer issues, telling The Block: 

"Antminer is paying close attention to the issues of some products from the 17 series [...] We have begun to negotiate solutions with customers who have encountered issues with the product."

As for the case between Bitmain and Zhan, it is still ongoing. Zhan has filed two lawsuits to regain control of the company since he was abruptly ousted last October.

A court in China recently sided with Zhan to freeze 36% of Fujian Zhanhua’s shares owned by Bitmain.

Bitmain, however, "strongly" condemned Zhan, saying: "Zhan ignored the common interests of the company and all employees and filed a lawsuit maliciously during the period of the [coronavirus] pandemic, which interfered with the company's normal operations and [affected growth]."

Bitmain also said at the time that the court's ruling is "only a procedural jurisdiction ruling," and the final judgment is yet to be announced.

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