Operational Adjustment – Bitcoin Mining Giant Bitmain Confirms Staff Layoff

News and Analysis

Chinese crypto mining giant Bitmain confirmed the restructuring of the company in order to “build a long-term, sustainable and scalable business.”

In a statement to Coindesk, a Bitmain representative said:

“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.”

The discussion of the company cutting off staff first emerged in mid-December on Maimai, China’s equivalent to LinkedIn, where one anonymous user posted a thread asking if anyone had insider information about a possible layoff at Bitmain soon.

This post came to public attention via a tweet by Dovey Wan, a Founding Partner at Primitive Ventures, a crypto-focused investment fund:

Later that day, Samsow Mow, the Chief Strategy Officer at Blockstream tweeted:

The post in question has generated nearly 200 replies since it was first published, some of which came from other users that appear to be verified Bitmain employees on the social network, who indicated the layoffs would start from the week of Dec. 24.

“It’s affirmative. The layoff will start next week and involves more than 50 percent of the entire Bitmain’s headcount,” replied one verified Bitmain staff.

“Some departments have to be let go entirely,” replied another verified Bitmain employee on the same thread.

Coindesk also cites an anonymous Bitmain employee who confirmed to that layoffs are currently taking place, but that it was hard to ascertain at this stage exactly what percentage of the staff would be let go:

“This is an operational adjustment. Some projects will be entirely gone so it’s hard to calculate a precise percentage at this stage… It’s not hard to infer which division is suffering the most. Bitmain’s core business is making miners. Other business lines are just blockchain and artificial intelligence… There’s also some adjustment on the mining equipment business line. For the firm as a whole, it’s going to reduce redundancy to increase operational efficiency.”

The same source added that even if there had not been declining cryptocurrency prices this year, it was almost inevitable that there would be layoffs at some point given the very rapid growth in employee count that Bitmain experienced during the year:

“Now Bitmain has about 3,100 people, even several hundreds more than what was disclosed in the IPO prospectus in September. But there were only about 1,000 people at the beginning of the year.”

Bitmain said also that it is still hiring, despite the layoffs, adding:

“As we move into the new year, we will continue to double down on hiring the best talent from a diverse range of backgrounds.”

The news makes Bitmain another major industry company that is undergoing reshuffles amid months of cryptocurrency market decline, joining others such as ConsenSys and Steemit. Previously, layoffs were confirmed by Bitmain, but outside of mainland China, where the firm’s core operations are based.

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