Crypto prices surged on Wednesday after Beijing-based Bitmain published its long awaited IPO prospectus, publicly disclosing for the first time just how enormously profitable the purveyor of crypto mining rigs and chips has become since it was founded in 2013 by crypto billionaires Jihan Wu and Micree Zhan. The company, which controls roughly 85% of the market for crypto mining rigs and chips, has seen its profits expand from just $12.3 million at the end of 2015 to more than $700 million during the first six months of 2018 alone. Importantly, its revenues and profits have continued to expand, even as the market for cryptocurrencies has cooled since the start of the year.
According to MarketWatch, the company’s profits increased by more than 800% from the prior year to $700 million. It revenues, meanwhile, expanded ten fold to $2.8 billion.
Bitmain was founded in 2013 by Wu and Zhan just as bitcoin was entering the mainstream. The price of a single coin peaked at around $2,000 in November of that year before plunging to around $200 following the spectacular collapse of Mt. Gox in February 2014. At the time, Gox was the largest crypto exchange in the world.
Speculation about an IPO has been metastasizing for years, but many believed that the secretive company would shelve its plans following the $600 billion drop in aggregate crypto valuations.
According to its prospectus, Bitmain’s business model revolves around the design of ASIC chips for both crypto mining and AI purposes. According to a consulting firm cited in the prospectus, Bitmain is one of the largest ASIC-based crypto mining company. Still, the success of its IPO is far from certain. As Bloomberg points out, two of the company’s biggest rivals, Canaan Inc. and Ebang International Holdings Inc., are also pursuing IPOs. And some analysts cited by BBG fear that the company could lose its competitive edge. If it follows through with the IPO (which is a big if considering Hong Kong’s benchmark index has fallen 16% from its January highs), analysts will view the offering as the first big test of investor appetite for crypto firms working on an industrial scale.
But like we said – that’s still a big if.
Read the prospectus below: