Ousted Bitmain Co-CEO Reportedly Uses Private Security to Overtake Company’s Beijing Offices


TL;DR: Chinese media is reporting ousted Bitmain co-CEO Micree Zhan used private security (known as “bao’an”) to overtake the company’s offices in Beijing, China. If accurate, it’s the latest escalation in the ongoing drama between Zhan and the largest Bitcoin mining company in the world he helped to found.

Ousted Bitmain Co-CEO Reportedly Uses Private Security to Overtake Company’s Beijing Offices

Red Li, cofounder of 8btc, a Chinese bitcoin and blockchain media and community, mused, “No wonder why the following statements were circulated among miners yesterday, 1st statement from the ‘Jihan Bitmain’ and 2nd from ‘Micree Bitmain.'” He referenced two documents that contain what are known as “chops,” a kind of official seal or signature to do business in the region. Current CEO Jihan Wu effectively controls the original chop, while Zhan, in the new document, is claiming Wu’s chop is invalid and that Zhan is in control.

Isolated text from the Wu chop document basically claims “if any partners or related personnel are threatened by Micree Zhan, or are requested to work for them, don’t believe them easily. The company will firmly protect the rights and interests of our partners and related personnel and keep operating the company normally,” according to translation by Cindy Wang.

However, the document with Wu’s chop is stamped by both the Beijing and Hong Kong divisions of the company, while the Zhan version is only Beijing stamped. According to Wu’s document, it insists the Beijing division of Bitmain has been 100% owned by the Hong Kong company since 2016. It also stresses how, according to Chinese law, this means the Hong Kong company handles all decision-making for the Beijing branch. Wu’s version of his legal status concludes Zhan hasn’t been affiliated with the Hong Kong division since 2019, and that Zhan is no longer any sort of representative for Beijing either.

Edited video from Chinese media appears to show private security marching toward Bitmain headquarters and entering the building. To what end exactly is unclear. An official statement from Bitmain in Chinese is referenced in the video, but its exact contents are also unclear as of publication.

Increasingly Physical

Zhan, 41, co-founded Bitmain with Wu back in 2013. It has since gone on to become the largest company in the Bitcoin mining industry. He is reported to still own more than a third of the company’s shares. Bitmain hit tough times during the crypto market bear turn of 2018, and by 2019 Zhan was summarily axed by Wu in a sudden reclamation as sole CEO. Early January of this year, Zhan filed suit to regain control, and, around the same time, Wu formally handed over legal representation of Bitmain to a company insider.

Micree Zhan’s chop that claims to invalidate Wu’s.

The two went back and forth on social media and in the Chinese press, with Zhan decrying mass layoffs while Wu said they were necessary to right Zhan’s leadership mistakes. Bitmain continued to distance itself from Zhan publicly through Spring, and Zhan appeared to win a Beijing court concession that he indeed was the legal representative in the region.

Escalation reached physical proportions earlier this month, when Zhan and Bitmain employees reportedly tangled in the Beijing licensing office itself. Just last week, company shareholders signaled their support for Wu by formally ousting Zhan. CoinSpice will update the story as more information develops.

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