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- Exiled Bitmain co-founder has moved to reinstate his position after recently gaining partial legal victory
- This resulted in a physical brawl with current CFO Luyao Liu, leading to the intervention of local police
- The senior management tensions at Bitmain are hurting the mining giant ahead of 3rd Bitcoin halving
On May 8, 2020, the ousted co-founder of Bitmain, Micree Ketuan Zhan, was reportedly surrounded by a group of 50-odd guys led by the company’s former legal representative and CFO Luyao Liu. This occurred when Zhan attempted to collect Bitmain’s business license in a local authority office.
According to a report by Chinese news source Caixin, as officials from the Justice Bureau attempted to hand over an updated license to Zhan as the firm’s new legal representative, Liu abruptly took possession of the license, saying:
“The business license is company property, how can it fall into the hands of an individual?”
According to a video circulating on Twitter, the tensions between the two sides later escalated into a physical confrontation. After the Justice Bureau reported the incident to the police, both parties were taken to the local police station.
The confrontation marks the latest development in Bitmain’s internal struggle following last year’s sudden coup, when the company’s co-founder Jihan Wu abruptly sent an email to all staff announcing that co-founder Micree Zhan had been ousted.
During that coup, Jihan also declared that he had taken over the roles of executive director and legal representative from Zhan.
Zhan Refuses To Go Quietly
On the other side, Zhan has been fighting back with all efforts after being ousted. He has since filed two lawsuits against Bitmain over its decision to eject him from the company.
The first one was filed in December 2019 in a first attempt to overturn a decision by shareholders to weaken Zhan’s voting power significantly. That decision had effectively reduced Zhan’s voting power from over 60% to closer to 30%, even though he remains the largest shareholder of Bitmain by ownership.
The second lawsuit was brought in last month against one of the company’s subsidiaries, and it resulted in a partial legal victory for Zhan, where the court approved his request to block Bitmain from registering CFO Luyao Liu as the legal representative of its Beijing branch.
Uncertainties Grow Ahead of US IPO
The drawn-out power struggle inside the management has cast a shadow over the performance of the world’s largest bitcoin mining hardware manufacturer, as recently reported on the Daily Chain earlier this year.
The company has also reportedly lost a big market share to its competitors in 2019 when the company was under Zhan’s control, but it bounced back after co-founder Jihan Wu regained the control of Bitmain.