Bitmain founder Jihan Wu could be the most important man in crypto. Despite his enormous status in the crypto community, however, Wu is an enormously private figure.
“He’s not flashy. He doesn’t post photographs of himself aboard yachts, arm-in-arm with scantily-clad groupies,”
explains a recent writeup at news.bitcoin.com.
“A safe bet would be to assume he doesn’t own a sharkskin suit. Instead, his preference seems to be in the background, slightly obscured, faded almost.”
As a testament to Wu’s low profile, his Wikipedia page is just four sentences long – despite the fact that he has become a self-made multi-billionaire in his 30s.
Despite his understated public persona, Wu is arguably the most important man in the crypto world. News.bitcoin.com just released their in-depth profile of the co-founder of Bitmain Technologies. We’ll summarize what they found about the 32-year old billionaire below.
We assume Jihan Wu was born and raised in China. He currently lives in China and got his economics degree from Peking University in Beijing.
Prior to launching Bitmain Technologies, Jihan Wu worked as an analyst and private equity fund manager.
Wu’s first connection with bitcoin was with Satoshi Nakamoto’s whitepaper. Wu read Satoshi’s whitepaper and was the first to translate the document into Chinese. He was captivated by Satoshi’s vision for a peer-to-peer form of electronic cash.
Then, Jihan Wu found out that Micree Zhan was trying to raise money for his startup. Wu pitched the idea of creating Applications Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) chips for use in cryptocurrency mining. That’s how Bitmain Technologies was created. Wu was one of three founders of Bitmain.
Just five years later, Bitmain is rumored to be in the process of scheduling an IPO. That IPO could value the company as high as $10 billion. Wu has taken Bitmain from relative obscurity to become one of the world’s largest and most influential cryptocurrency mining companies.
Wu’s Smartest Move Was Creating ASICs For Crypto Mining
Application specific integrated circuits, or ASICs, were not invented by Jihan Wu. However, Wu was the first to propose using ASICs for cryptocurrency mining.
An ASIC is an integrated circuit that has been customized for a particular use. In an ordinary computer, the chip is designed to be used for thousands of different purposes. It’s a general-use chip. In bitcoin miners, however, we can achieve better power and efficiency using ASICs. That’s something Wu realized before the rest of the world did.
Today, it’s virtually impossible to profitably mine bitcoin using anything but ASICs. The vast majority of bitcoin mining takes place using ASICs.
The reason ASICs have become the preferred method of mining is simple: ASICs can mine 300 times faster than graphics processing units (GPUs). In the early days of bitcoin, you could easily mine bitcoin profitably using a GPU – like a high-end graphics card used to play PC games. Today, however, as the bitcoin inflation rate slows and bitcoins become more difficult to mine, Bitmain has positioned itself as the number one mining hardware manufacturer in the world.
Some statistics suggest that Bitmain makes about 70% of the world’s mining hardware. Others claim that it’s as high as 80%.
One thing is for certain: Bitmain is the most profitable company in the crypto space. Bitmain has already earned several billion dollars in profit since the beginning of 2018 – and that’s in a bear market. In Q1 2018 alone, the company earned $1.1 billion in net profit.
Bitmain Launches Its Own Mining Pool
Bitmain wasn’t satisfied with just being a bitcoin hardware developer. The company has since launched multiple mining pools, including Antpool and BTC.com – two of the largest mining pools on the bitcoin network.
Depending on how you look at it, approximately 40% of all bitcoin mining blocks have been mined by BTC.com and Antpool.
Bitmain has also invested in the growing sector of cloud mining, which organizes computing resources over cloud infrastructure to mine bitcoin. Bitmain’s Hashnest is one of the leaders in this space.
Why Jihan Wu Is Seen As A Controversial Figure
“He’s openly admired by some, and downright hated by others,” explains the news.bitcoin.com writeup on Jihan Wu.
Why is there such controversy over Jihan Wu? Why do some people view him as not just an influential figure in crypto – but also as one of the most controversial figures?
Wu has been accused by competitors of using shady tactics to push Bitmain forward. Wu has allegedly used his enormous mining power to launch 51% attacks on rival chains, for example. He has also purportedly engaged in “collusion to better situate Bitmain where it is less competitive, and other assorted underhanded deeds.”
Wu, for the record, completely denies these claims.
What Wu doesn’t deny, however, is that he’s a public supporter of Bitcoin Cash. Wu claims that Bitmain sold most of its BTC holdings last year and purchased Bitcoin Cash. Wu is one of BCH’s most prominent supporters and operates some of BCH’s top mining pools.
What’s Next For Wu?
We know little about Wu’s future intentions. However, he revealed some information about himself in a recent interview with Fortune.
“My priority is, first, that we will continue to invest a lot of resources into the research and R&D of mining rigs to make sure we maintain an advantage over other competitors, like Avalon. We will also invest into our vision about the future of a crypto market. We think that it will start to support the real world economy, and to build more than this financial market on the Internet. Bitmain will also start to deploy lots of artificial intelligence products into the market—a totally new business selling hardware to do artificial intelligence accelerations.”
An initial public offering (IPO) could also be in Bitmain’s future. Bitmain is reportedly preparing for an IPO with the goal of competing with giants like Nvidia in the chipmaker space. That IPO could value the company as high as $10 billion – or even higher.
One thing is certain: as Jihan Wu continues to be one of the most influential members of the crypto community, he’s going to find it increasingly difficult to keep a low profile. Bitmain Technologies and Jihan Wu show no signs of exiting the space anytime soon. In fact, they could just be getting started.