Bitmain, one of the largest Bitcoin mining equipment manufacturers in the world, is now suing three former staffers behind rival mining pool Poolin.
The chip manufacturer is seeking USD 4.3 million in damages after claiming that the Poolin co-founders were in violation of non-competition clauses, although the defendants are saying that these clauses were made void when Bitmain did not pay their salaries on the agreed time.
Bitmain, who also owns BTC.com, which is the biggest mining pool in operation, has been operating mining pools, which allows individual miners to contribute their computing power to a group, thereby increasing their chances of finding blocks together. Bitcoin block rewards are then split commensurately between the pool participants. Last year until June, this alone accounted for USD 43.2 million of the firm’s revenues. Hardware sales in the same period raked in USD 2.7 billion in revenue.
There are six lawsuits pending in the Beijing Haidian District court. The three Poolin co-founders – CEO Zhibiao Pan; COO Fa Zhu; and CTO Tianzhao Li – had, in fact, filed their own preemptive lawsuits pending in the Beijing Haidian District court, demanding non-competition release.
Bitmain’s counter sue is not only asking for damages by significant losses after operating a competing pool but also to ask for a legal resumption of non-competition.
Last January, in a public commemoration of the 10th anniversary of Bitcoin, a Chinese media outlet published a WeChat post written by Zhu that explained briefly the work the three did while working with Bitmain, launching its original Antpool before proposing a parallel one called BTC.com.
In May, Bitcoin News reported that Bitmain had recorded an 88% drop in internal mining operations.
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