Uber’s Biggest Shareholder Backs $15 Billion Bitcoin Giant Bitmain

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Crypto mining hardware manufacturer Bitmain has reportedly secured China’s biggest technology company Tencent and Japan’s Softbank, Uber’s biggest shareholder, as investors in a pre-IPO financing round.

Chinese crypto giant Bitmain, commonly known for manufacturing bitcoin mining equipment and operating mining pools, is attracting interest from some of the world’s biggest companies and investors ahead of its initial public offering (IPO) on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange later this year.

Bitmain was in the process of securing a $1 billion round of financing in a round that, at closing, would value the firm at $15 billion.

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According to a report by Chinese publication QQ, Bitmain completed the pre-IPO raise on Saturday in a round of financing that notably includes Chinese technology conglomerate Tencent with a market cap that rivals that of Facebook and Japan’s Softbank, a tech giant heavily invested in a number of tech ventures globally including its standing as Uber’s largest shareholder.

The participation of the two investors, in particular, underlines the growing mainstream appeal of the sector and the relevance of the industry’s biggest firm.

An array of ASIC mining chips developed by Bitmain.

The backing follows Bitmain’s robust revenues this year, raking in a profit of $1.1 billion during Q1 2018. Compare that to mainstream hardware giant Nvidia with a reported net Q1 net income of $1.2 billion and it’s easy to understand investors’ interest in Bitmain, which was valued at $12 billion before closing a $400 million round of financing in June. After closing its latest round to peg its value at $15 billion, Bitmain has seen a 16.5% increase in its overall valuation in less than 45 days.

The QQ report also confirmed that Bitmain has begun the process for its listing in Hong Kong, hiring China International Capital Corp (CICC) – China’s oldest investment bank – as its lead underwriter ahead of its anticipated IPO on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX) in September. According to local media reports in China, insiders expect Bitmain to go public with a market cap between $30 billion and $40 billion before the turn of the year.

Bitmain has thrived in spite of China’s largely restrictive crypto industry policies since early 2017 and continues to make record profits in what is largely a bear market for cryptocurrencies.

Bitmain has diversified its own portfolio through major investments in U.S.-based crypto trading firm Circle and major internet web browser Opera. This week, Bitmain confirmed its intention to establish a $500 million cryptocurrency mining facility in a Texas town, a move that is expected to generate 400 new jobs. Bitmain has also moved established a new base in a 20,000 square-foot office space in Silicon Valley and is tripling its employee-count at a development center in Israel.

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