Former Bitmain CEO Jihan Wu Launches New Crypto Trading Platform

News and Analysis

Bitmain Technologies Ltd. co-founder and former CEO Jihan Wu has officially launched a new crypto platform which, according to a Bloomberg report on July 8, offers over-the-counter (OTC) trading, lending and custody for digital assets.

Jihan Wu

Named Matrixport, the Singapore-based firm reportedly hired dozens of former Bitmain employees that were laid off from Bitmain as a result of the bear market of 2018.

According to Ge Yuesheng, Chief Executive Officer of Matrixport, the new company is going live today after spinning off from Bitmain in January, when the world’s largest producer of Bitcoin mining rigs ran into a cash crunch.

We are closely tied to Bitmain by our origin,” Ge said in an interview. “But because we operate in different businesses, we are partners rather than competitors.”

Ge, a founding member of Bitmain and a 4% shareholder in the company, also claimed that Matrixport will use its Bitmain’s connections and expertise to meet the needs of Chinese cryptocurrency miners.

Jihan Wu meanwhile is Matrixport’s major shareholder along with a clutch of global venture capital firms and Bitmain itself, Ge said. Headquartered in Singapore, Matrixport has a team of about 100 staffers, dozens of whom were let go from Bitmain. Precise details about the company’s funding will be announced at a later date, the CEO added.

Reportedly, Matrixport aims to challenge the likes of BitGo and Genesis Global Trading in the U.S., as companies move to develop financial services for professional crypto traders and investors. It’s one of a crop of fledgling firms aiming to ride an upswell in Bitcoin interest: the price of the cryptocurrency has tripled so far this year and is now trading just below the $12,000 mark.

Matrixport marks the latest venture from Jihan Wu. The billionaire has already stepped down from his role as Bitmain co-CEO but still stands to benefit if the company goes public: according to earlier reports, the Beijing-based mining giant is seeking around $300 million to $500 million from a U.S. share sale as soon as the second half of this year.

Bitmain’s initial plans to conduct an IPO in Hong Kong faltered in March 2019 after the expiration of the mining giant’s application with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Before founding Matrixport, Ge Yuesheng oversaw Bitmain’s investment unit, which led funding rounds for startups including Boston-based Circle, the operator of a popular exchange Poloniex.

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