MicroBT Founder Zuoxing Yang Detained – Bitmain Responsible?

The founder of MicroBT Zuoxing Yang has been detained by local police. This development coordinates closely with the return of Jihan Wu to Bitmain.

Quick take;

  • Founder of MicroBT Zuoxing Yang is detained by local police with many sources linking it to a reopening of an intellectual property rights infringement case related to his previous role at Bitmain
  • Bitmain co-founder and largest shareholder Micree Zhan publicly addresses his ousting for the first time and details his commitment to return to Bitmain

Zuoxing Yang Detained

Several sources are reporting that the founder and CEO of Shenzhen-based MicroBT has been detained by local police. Zuoxing Yang has reportedly been held since the end of October according to a CoinDesk source who is close to MicroBT.

Zuoxing Yang was formerly the director of chip design at Bitmain spearheading the design of the Antminer S7 and Antminer S9. Yang left the company in June 2016 after being denied an equity stake in Bitmain from the co-founder and largest stakeholder Micree Zhan.

Shortly after departing Bitmain, Yang founded MicroBT who design the extremely popular WhatsMiner Bitcoin miners. Bitmain sued the company for breaching Bitmain’s patent rights.

The patent was revoked by a Chinese court “on the grounds that the circuit designs in question were widely used”. However, it seems that Zuoxing Yang being detained may mark the reopening of a legal case.

Chinese crypto media outlet BlockBeats originally reported the news and are alluding that Zuoxing Yang’s detainment is due to intellectual property infringement. A CoinDesk source confirmed that this is likely the reason for Yang being taken into custody.

Bitmain Controversy Continues

This news has come to light shortly after a controversy surrounding Bitmain unfolded. Co-founder Jihan Wu returned to the firm and ousted the largest shareholder and co-founder Micree Zhan.

In a memo to Bitmain employees after the ousting, Jihan Wu explained a feud between himself and Micree Zhan spanning as far back as 2015. Micree Zhan was in Shenzhen attending a conference while his dismissal was coordinated.

Wu overtook Zhan’s responsibilities as a legal representative for Bitmain. Some are speculating that this may be the catalyst for the detainment of Zuoxing Yang.

Micree Zhan Addresses his Removal From Bitmain

Micree Zhan publicly addressed his removal for the first time in a letter which was posted on his WeChat feed Wednesday 6th of November. Zhan admitted to being unaware of the plans to remove him from Bitmain.

“It was embarrassing that as a Bitmain co-founder, the biggest shareholder, and a registered legal representative, I got ousted without any knowledge”

In the letter, Zhan went on to explain his commitment to returning to Bitmain and envisioned Bitmain securing 90% of the Bitcoin hardware market and expanding its AI business. Zhan stated he will secure legal support to return to the company.

“I will return to the company as soon as possible with legal support, ending this extraordinarily dramatic period and restoring the normal order of the company.”