Bitmain, the dominant force in bitcoin mining, has reportedly raised $400 million as it gears up to go public later this year.
Regional media outlet China Money Network reports that the funding round, which values the China-based firm at $12 billion, was led by Sequoia Capital China, a VC that has been quite active in the nascent cryptocurrency space. Bitmain has not yet confirmed the funding round publicly.
The $12 billion valuation matches Bitmain’s internal estimates but exceeds that of many external analysts, who estimated that the firm was worth between $8.8 billion and $10 billion.
According to the report, Bitmain plans to hold an initial public offering (IPO) on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong in September and expects to go public with a market cap between $30 billion and $40 billion.
Bitmain, which was founded in 2013, designs application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) chips and manufacturers cryptocurrency miners. It currently controls 80 percent of this market, though a number of upstart competitors hope to chip away at its dominance.
Bitmain’s largest competitor, Canaan Creative, recently filed to hold an IPO in Hong Kong. The firm, whose devices account for roughly 15 percent of the bitcoin mining market, believes it can raise as much as $2 billion through the offering.
If Bitmain’s IPO is successful, the firm would not only be the most valuable public cryptocurrency company but would also be worth more than two times as much as chipmaker AMD, which has a $14.8 billion market cap and has also benefitted from the cryptocurrency mining boom.
As CCN reported, Bitmain has also begun to design ASIC chips for artificial intelligence-related applications, and CEO Jihan Wu has said that this field could account for 50 percent of the firm’s revenue within five years.
Earlier this year, Bitmain led a $110 million funding round for US cryptocurrency firm Circle, which operates an over-the-counter (OTC) trading desk, a retail-focused brokerage app, a cryptocurrency exchange, and plans to build a USD-pegged “stablecoin.”
Notably, Sequoia Capital China is currently embroiled in a legal battle with cryptocurrency exchange Binance — formerly based out of Hong Kong — who the VC firm has sued for allegedly violating an exclusivity agreement stemming from fundraising discussions held in 2017.