Bitmain, the Chinese mining giant that stands as one of the largest manufacturers and distributors of bitcoin and crypto mining machines in the world, is set to lay off about 50 percent of its staff in 2019, according to a new report.
The layoffs will likely start this week but last well into the new year. Rumors of the maneuver began on China’s version of LinkedIn, Maimai, on December 17.
A Crypto Company in a Crisis
Today, a Bitmain employee confirmed on the platform:
“It’s affirmative. The layoff will start next week and involves more than 50 percent of the entire Bitmain headcount.”
The layoffs will not affect one or two departments but will occur throughout every division of the company. Employees working in the artificial intelligence and blockchain technology departments and on Bitmain’s primary crypto mining product are set to be hit the hardest.
A Bitmain spokesperson has come forward to bring a sense of the calmness to the situation, claiming:
“There has been some adjustment to our staff this year as we continue to build a long-term, sustainable and scalable business. A part of that is having to really focus on things that are core to that mission and not things that are auxiliary.”
This year alone, the Beijing-based crypto mining hub went from just over 1,000 employees to well over 3,000. The company allegedly made huge investments in artificial intelligence, which brought the venture’s operations to greater heights, though the company has mentioned that they’re looking to scale back on A.I.-based projects.
The company has been seeing its fair share of problems, however. In early December, the company shut down its Israel-based office and laid off all 23 employees stationed there. Representatives claimed this was due in part to crypto prices falling regularly throughout the year.
2018 – A Year of Many Problems
Last September, Bitmain said that it would be going public on the Hong Kong stock exchange, but these layoffs now bring the company’s finances into question, and it’s unclear if the public listing will continue as planned.
2018 has also brought its fair share of scandal and controversy to the mega miner. The company recently sued “John Doe” – an anonymous hacker – in a Washington state court for allegedly stealing the company’s crypto funds from its Binance accounts. At the same time, Bitmain was also hit with a $5 million class-action suit by former customers that alleged the company had configured its mining equipment to extract cryptocurrency using the computing power of its users.
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