Cryptocurrency startups labeled as "unicorns" for the first time in China

19 Jul, 2018
by Matthew Kim
Cryptocurrency startups labeled as unicorns for the first time in China

The term “unicorn”, in business, is a label given to privately held startup companies valued at over $1 billion. Coined by venture capitalist Aileen Lee in 2013, “unicorn” was meant to highlight the rarity of such successful ventures by comparing it to the mythical animal. For the first time in China, the label is going to be used to describe fully cryptocurrency-focused companies.

On the Q2 Unicorn Index released by the Hurun Research Institute for the Greater China region, three Bitcoin mining firms appeared among the 130 different Chinese unicorns. Bitmain, Canaan Creative, and Ebang proudly represented the cryptocurrency industry in the index.

Among the three featured Bitcoin mining firms, Bitmain is the giant that draws attention. It landed at 13th on the list, valuing at around 70 billion yuan ($10.4 billion). The assessment is reflective of the $10 billion Series B round funding that Bitmain raked in before its impending initial public offering (IPO).

Bitmain was founded in 2013 by Jihan Wu and Micree Zhan. Jihan Wu is known as the first person to have translated Satoshi Nakamoto’s legendary Bitcoin whitepaper into Chinese, and he is the one who approached Zhan with a proposal to create an ASIC chip for specifically mining Bitcoin, giving birth to Bitmain. Analysists estimate that Bitmain generated $3-4 billion in profit in 2017 alone.

The two other Bitcoin mining companies, Canaan and Ebang, rank at 32nd and 53rd with valuations of $3 billion and $1.5 billion respectively.

If cryptocurrency is the future that many are hoping it to be, many cryptocurrency unicorns are sure to follow the path of these Bitcoin mining companies.

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