Bitmain closes its Israel office as the cryptocurrency crash starts to bite
Leading Chinese cryptocurrency hardware maker and miner Bitmain Technologies Inc. has closed its Israeli research and development office as the cryptocurrency crash continues to hammer all leading players.
The Bitmain Israel office opened in 2016 and was tasked with exploring meaningful use cases of blockchain technology as well as working on artificial intelligence technology. At the time of its closure, the Bitmain office employed 23 people, including Gadi Glikberg, Bitmain’s vice president of international sales and marketing, who is also now looking for a new job.
According to a report today in Globes, Glikberg told employees that “the crypto market has undergone a shakeup in the past few months, which has forced Bitmain to examine its various activities around the globe and refocus its business in accordance with the current situation.”
The fall of Bitmain is arguably unprecedented in tech history. As recently as September, the company had filed to go public on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Bitmain booked $2.51 billion in revenue in 2017, up from the $278 million a year earlier. The company reported a $952.5 million profit last year versus $113.5 million the year before.
Forward three months and bitcoin mining companies are going bankrupt, with bitcoin mining equipment being sold as scrap per kilogram. Bitmain is both a bitcoin mining company and the world’s largest maker of bitcoin mining equipment, meaning that it’s under severe pressure on both sides of its business. Miners are walking away for the industry as the price of bitcoin continues to make mining it unprofitable.
How deep that rut is can be seen in the rapidly declining bitcoin hash rate, which is a measure of how many miners are working on the bitcoin blockchain. BitMEX reported today that the hash rate has dropped 31 percent since the end of November, the equivalent of about 1.3 million Bitmain S9 machines.
Although Bitmain is struggling, like the rest of the industry, it’s still well-placed to be the last miner standing if the cryptocurrency crash continues.
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