Former Bitmain CEO Jihan Wu Set To Launch New Crypto Trading And Custody Firm

News | June 11, 2019 By:

Jihan Wu, co-founder and former CEO of Chinese crypto mining hardware manufacturer Bitmain, is reportedly set to launch a new crypto service firm next month.

Citing sources familiar with the matter, The Block reported that the Chinese business mogul is planning to launch a custody and trading firm, dubbed Matrix, before the end of July. Matrix was reportedly incubated during Wu’s time at Bitmain, and the new firm is expected to continue to work closely with the crypto mining manufacture after launch.

One unnamed source told The Block that Matrix will offer custody and lending services to Bitmain, while in turn attracting a liquid pool for its over the counter (OTC) offering.

“Put it this way, they will be the biggest OTC desk and asset-manager [in the world] overnight,” said one source, who works closely with investors in Asia. “With liquidity like that, [low] prices follow,” the sources said, noting that the new crypto firm should have a competitive advantage in the region as the Asian market is “a lot more price sensitive.”

In March of this year, Bitmain announced leadership changes following the lapse of its initial public offering (IPO) application. Wu and Micree Zhan resigned from their positions as co-CEOs of Bitmain, and were succeeded by Haichao Wang, formerly the product engineering director at the crypto mining hardware manufacturer Bitmain.

According to the report, it was previously believed that Matrix originated from a rift between Wu and Zhan. But the sources said that the exodus of Bitmain staff and resources is part of a wider strategic plan, with Cynthia Wu, Bitmain’s investment director, working closely with Matrix. It is unclear what role Wu will hold at Matrix. Two sources said that he is currently running the new firm as Chairman.

Since China currently has a sweeping ban over crypto trading, Matrix is expected to have an offshore holding company. But the sources said that the new firm may eventually be granted a monopoly to operate in China, as part of the government’s wish to have greater oversight over the underground market there.