Bitcoin Mining Giant Bitmain Closes Israeli Branch amid Market Woes
With the bitcoin price trading more than 80 percent below its all-time high, not even Bitmain, the world’s largest cryptocurrency mining firm and the crypto industry’s most valuable company, has been immune from the slaughter.
According to Israeli business publication Globes, the China-based Bitmain has closed Bitmaintech Israel, the development center it set up two years ago in Ra’anana. All 23 employees at the office will be laid off, and Bitmain VP Gadi Glikberg, who headed the center up, will also depart the firm.
Bitmain blamed the layoffs on the prolonged cryptocurrency bear market that began at the turn of the year and worsened with each passing month. Per the report, Glikberg told employees: “The crypto market has undergone a shakeup in the past few months, which has forced Bitmain to examine its various activities around the globe and refocus its business in accordance with the current situation.” While Bitmain’s core business involves developing and manufacturing cryptocurrency mining equipment, the firm’s office in Israel had focused its efforts toward developing the Connect BTC mining pool and the artificial intelligence (AI) technology used in Bitmain’s “Sophon” project.
The decision to close its office in Ra’anana represents a stark reversal from July when Bitmain was reportedly seeking to triple the size of its Israeli development center, which at the time had 15 employees.
However, in addition to the general decline in cryptocurrency prices, Bitmain has also reportedly faced headwinds from poor business decisions that continue to weight on its balance sheet as it grinds toward its long-planned initial public offering (IPO), for which it filed registration documents earlier this year. The firm also recently underwent a significant shakeup on its board of directors.
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