Bitmain, the Bitcoin mining giant, is reportedly looking to replace its two founders and co-CEOs with an in-house tech chief, sources told the South China Morning Post.

Bitmain’s Founders Could Be Stepping Aside Ahead of the Company’s IPO

The world’s largest manufacturer of cryptocurrency mining hardware is reportedly looking to replace its top management in a move that left the entire crypto industry surprised.

According to the South China Morning Post, people with knowledge of the matter said that the company has already named a new CEO. The new chief executive will be replacing Bitmain’s founders and co-CEOs Jihan Wu and Micree Zhuan Ketuan.

Related: Bitcoin Miners Ruined by Downturn, “Selling Hardware by the Pound”; Giga Watt Files Bankruptcy

The new CEO is reportedly Wang Haichao, who held the position of Product Engineer Director in the company. The anonymous sources said Wang had already taken over CEO duties from Wu and Zhan in December 2018. However, no timeline has been given on when the transition period will be over and Wang will officially take over.

Both Bitmain and Wang have remained silent on the issue, despite the fact that the news was first reported at the end of 2018 by local Beijing-based media.

Wu and Zhan will be distancing themselves from Bitmain’s day-to-day operations, the sources said. Nevertheless, they will retain their influence over any major decisions regarding the company. It is still unclear why the duo will be moving away from their positions. It has been reported that the pair disagreed on certain issues as co-CEOs, the South China Morning Post reported, which could explain their decision to appoint a new leader.

Tough Times Ahead for Bitmain’s New CEO

Bitmain’s alleged new CEO will have a tough year ahead, as the company is facing significant hurdles. Despite accounting for 75 percent of the world’s supply of mining rigs, Bitmain lost more than 70 percent of its value in 2018.

Related: Why Bitmain is Purposely Losing Money in its Bitcoin Mining Business

The prolonged bear market has caused nearly all of the 2,000 cryptocurrencies listed today to lose much of their value, deeming a large percentage of global mining operations unprofitable. This directly impacted Bitmain’s value, causing major financial strain that could lead to a third of its 3,000 employees being laid off.

While the public is waiting for Bitmain to confirm the new CEO, many have raised questions about Wang’s ability to lead the company. A Tsinghua University graduate, Wang worked as a product manager at Availink, a Beijing-based semiconductor design house, for seven years before joining Bitmain in 2017.

We have yet to see if appointing Wang as CEO will attract new investors, or just act as a smokescreen to distract from the company’s financial woes.

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