The world’s largest producer of cryptocurrency mining chips, Bitmain, may start a massive round of layoffs this week that could impact more than 50% of its employees, according to a report by CoinDesk on Tuesday.
According to the report, the layoffs will likely occur across all divisions – including Bitmain’s core crypto mining product. Teams working on newer investments like artificial intelligence and blockchain technologies, however, are expected to be impacted most, a source confirmed with CoinDesk.
Rumors of the layoffs first appeared on Maimai – China’s version of LinkedIn – on December 17, where one verified Bitmain employee wrote, “It’s affirmative. The layoff will start next week and involves more than 50 percent of the entire Bitmain’s headcount.”
A Bitmain spokesperson did not confirm the 50 percent number with CoinDesk, but said: “There has been some adjustment to our staff this year as we continue to build a long-term, sustainable and scalable business. A part of that is having to really focus on things that are core to that mission and not things that are auxiliary.”
The Beijing-based chip maker ballooned from 1,000 to 3,100 employees this year, an anonymous source told CoinDesk in the report. Part of that growth involved Bitmain’s investment into artificial intelligence and blockchain technologies, which the company has decided to scale back on, according to the source. Earlier in December, Bitmain shut down its office in Isreal and laid off all 23 employees, citing a downturn in the crypto markets, according to a CoinDesk report.
In September, Bitmain confirmed that it would be going public on the Hong Kong stock exchange at a $18 billion valuation. Since then, however, questions have arisen over the company’s net profits.