Followup on Bitmain’s New Round Layoffs Targets its AI Business
Bitmain, the demonstrated Beijing-based Bitcoin mining manufacturer at the center of the media storm recently relating to its mass layoffs, shrinking operation, and difficulties related to its IPO process. Of late, some sources disclosed that the company has just completed a new round of layoffs.
It was reported that the recent Layoffs involved mainly took place at Bitmain’s blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI) and chip business lines. Surprisingly, although the company used to disclosed its AI expansion in May 2018, and was attempted to transform its business model to AI, this time, the AI department has become one of the hardest hit areas in this round of layoffs.
A laid-off employee that used to work in Bitmain’s Copernicus team shared his experience under an assumed name of “Wu Feng”. Wu said that the Copernicus team that mainly managed Bitcoin Cash development has over 40 members in its heyday, however, the entire development team has been laid off during the undergoing adjustment.
Wu disclosed that Bitmain gave his two layoff compensation packages N+2 monthly salary or N+1+3 where “3” stand for company stakes that valued at 3 times of his monthly salary. Wu chose the N+2 package as he considered that Bitmain’s IPO could fail.
Moreover, according to a former employee that close to Bitmain’s top executives, Bitmain used to have about 3,000 employees including 1,000 in the marketing, sales and administration department, and about 2,000 in the mining and AI department. However, 30-40 percent of the mining business staff and 50 percent of their AI staff were laid off and the total number of employees of Bitmain has shrunk to around 1,000.
He further added that Bitmain’s AI chip business includes cloud chip and terminal chip, the relatively less important terminal chip business experienced the cruelest layoffs while the cloud chip sector is also cutting their staff numbers.
Bitmain admits they have done “some adjustment” to their staff at the end of 2018 based on their business arrangements but denies the recent mass layoffs.