Since Satoshi Nakamoto introduced Bitcoin in 2009, numerous people have invested in the cryptocurrency, including tech pros and celebrities. Over the years, bitcoin has seen a massive increase in demand, with the digital currency hitting a record price of $63729.5 in 2021. A number of people have played a significant role in making Bitcoin a success. The first name that springs to mind is Satoshi Nakamoto, who created Bitcoin. Other names that pop up include Roger Keith Ver, the Executive Chairman of bitcoin.com, Tim Draper, a bitcoin investor, and many more. According to bitinfocharts, a firm that tracks cryptocurrency data, more than 100000 individuals own more than $1 million worth of Bitcoin. The majority of these people have earned this money through trading, investing, lending, and bitcoin mining. In this article, we are going to profile the richest bitcoin miner in the world.
The Lucrative Business of Bitcoin Mining
Back in 2009, when Satoshi Nakamoto introduced Bitcoin to the world, few people would have thought that the process of creating Bitcoins would one day be similar in terms of income generation to the mining of gold and silver in the olden days. Bitcoin mining is one of the most profitable industries on the planet right now. Bitcoin mining is a process that entails the creation of new bitcoins and entering them into circulation. Bitcoin mining is essentially “minting currency” since it involves releasing new cryptocurrency into circulation. Although Bitcoin as a currency can operate without bitcoin miners, additional bitcoins could not be created. However, the number of bitcoin will end at some point in the future since the Bitcoin Protocol puts a cap on the total number of bitcoins at 21 million. As of November 2020, the total number of bitcoins in circulation had reached 18.5 million. However, since the rate of bitcoin mining reduces as time passes, the final bitcoin is set to get into circulation around the year 2140. After every four years, the value in rewards received for bitcoin mining reduce by 50%. If you were a bitcoin miner in 2009, you would earn 50 BTC for every block. Three years later, your earnings would reduce by 50% to 25 BTC, and in 2016, the price-earnings would further drop to 12.5 BTC. In 2020, when the price of one BTC was $17900, you were likely to earn $111,875 for every block that you completed. Quite some good money, right?
The World’s Richest Bitcoin Miner
Jihan Wu looks more like a geeky teenager than the chairman of the world’s most dominant cryptocurrency producer. His former company, Bitmain, is the largest bitcoin mining company in the world. He also supports Bitcoin Cash which is a spin-off or altcoin which was created in 2017. Jihan Wu was born in Chongqing, China, in the year 1986. He later attended university at Peking University, where he graduated with a degree in Economics and Psychology. Before venturing into the bitcoin business, Jihan Wu worked as a financial analyst in a private equity firm. Through the help of family and friends, Jihan raised over 100,000 yuan, which he used to purchase 900 bitcoins. Along with his friend Chang Jia, they later bought China’s first bitcoin forum (Babite). Jihan found his breakthrough when he became the first person to convert Satoshi Nakamoto’s bitcoin white paper into Mandarin Chinese.
How Jihan Wu Became The Richest Bitcoin Miner
In 2013, Jihan Wu reached out to microelectronics engineer Micree Zhan who he convinced to cofound Bitmain. Later that year, Zhan came up with the company's first-ever mining rig, Antminer S1, which initially saw a surge in sales before they hit a downturn in 2014. The downturn in sales resulted from the Mt. Gox fraud, which ultimately led to the company’s liquidation in 2014. Bitmain continued to grow, and in 2017, it was named the largest computer chip company in the world with revenues of up to $2.5 billion. By the year 2018, Bitmain had a total of 11 mining farms that operated in China. In September 2018, Jihan Wu announced that the company was filing for an IPO (Initial Public Offering), making it one of the biggest IPOs ever. The company was valued at $ 1 billion pre-IPO, although the IPO never went through.
According to documents which were seen by Coindesk, Bitmain had raked in profits of $2.3 billion in 2016, 2017, and the first quarter of 2018. The company also made a profit of $1 billion in 2017 due to increased cryptocurrency prices. Recently, the company’s prospects have been positive, with industrialists estimating that the company generates profits of more than $3 billion a year. Bitmain is a dominant player in manufacturing and selling mining rig chips to customers. The company controls nearly 80% of the bitcoin mining equipment. The company’s mining rig chips are known as ASICs, and they are cryptocurrency’s most favored mining chips. Bitmain is so influential in Bitmain mining business that the company’s announcements regarding the development of ASICs usually indicate supply of coins in the market. Bitmain also runs BTC.com and Antpool, which are considered to be the biggest mining pools in the world. The two pools account for about 41% of the total Bitcoin mining capacity.
In 2019, the power struggle between Jihan Wu and his Bitmain co-founder Micree Zhan came to an end after Jihan Wu stepped down as the chairman as part of a settlement. This was after Zhan bought $600 million worth of shares from Bitsource (founding shareholders who include Jihan). After his exit from Bitmain, Jihan Wu founded Matrixport, a company that offers financial services for cryptocurrencies. Due to China’s ban on cryptocurrency trading, Jihan relocated the company’s headquarters to Singapore. Recently, the company reached the $1 billion valuations after raising over $100 million in series C, which was led by DST Global, C Ventures, and K3 Ventures. In 2020, Jihan Wu topped the Forbes list for the top five youngest billionaires in Asia. He also appeared in the Inaugural Blockchain Rich List, which was released by The Harun Report. Despite the massive fortune that Jihan Wu has amassed through crypto mining, he remains single and lives in Beijing.
Written by Allen Lee
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