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Bitcoin Mining Giant Bitmain Files For an IPO

Bitmain Technologies, the world’s largest maker of bitcoin-mining equipment, has filed papers to go public on the Hong Kong stock exchange.

The listing is seen as an important test of institutional investors’ interest in the crypto sector.

Bitmain’s prospectus, investors’ first official look at its financial health, was filed late on Wednesday, and revealed that it made a profit of $742 million for the first six months of this year. The bulk of the company’s revenue came from selling hardware to mine cryptocurrencies, the filing said.

The company said it will use the proceeds of the IPO to invest in research and development and expand its production output.

Bitmain designs different microchips specialized for mining cryptocurrencies and for artificial intelligence applications, as well as manufacturing cryptocurrency and AI hardware, and managing crypto mining farms.

The IPO comes at a time when the cryptocurrency sector is facing a number of headwinds.

The price of bitcoin has fallen 65 percent since its December 2017 peak, and on Wednesday one bitcoin was worth around $6,500. This fall has hurt the profitability of mining, and in turn has been weighing on sales of mining hardware.

In addition, there are regulatory concerns, given the Chinese authorities’ public skepticism about cryptocurrencies.

Bitmain is the third, and largest, Chinese maker of bitcoin miners hoping to float in Hong Kong this year. It had 85 percent share of the cryptocurrency mining rig market in 2017, according to Bernstein research.

Canaan Inc., which had 10 percent of the market, according to Bernstein, and smaller rival Ebang filed their listing documents in May and June respectively but have yet to complete their IPOs.

As well as testing investor sentiment around bitcoin, Bitmain’s IPO will be another test of confidence in Hong Kong’s equity market.

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