In the latest twist in the Bitmain – MicroBT rivalry, MicroBT founder and CEO Yang Zuoxing has been arrested for alleged embezzlement.
The Shenzhen district prosecutor said on its website last Thursday that it has recently authorized the arrest of a suspect named Yang *Xing (name partially redacted) on the allegation of embezzlement and the criminal case is still ongoing.
Caixin said in the report, citing people familiar with the case, that the person arrested is indeed the founder and CEO of MicroBT, which manufactures the WhatsMiner bitcoin mining equipment with about 40 percent of the market share. The alleged embezzlement amount is 100,000 yuan, or about $15,000, the report said.
The arrest, interestingly enough, comes as Bitmain’s rivalry with MicroBT has escalated to new highs. Bitmain, which has dominated the mining chip business for quite some time, has been losing serious ground to competitors – MicroBT especially.
It also doesn’t help that Yang was Bitmain’s former director of chip design. As CoinDesk notes, Yang was largely responsible for the mining giant’s flagship AntMiner S7 and S9 models, chips that have made billions in profits for Bitmain since their launch.
Yang left to start MicroBT after Bitmain’s co-founders refused to give him equity. Bitmain filed a patent infringement suit against Yang and his firm shortly after, a suit which has since been successfully appealed at the intellectual property court in China.