Bitmain expanding Israel development center
The cooling off of the cryptocurrency market, the value of which has sunk 60% so far this year to $250 billion, has scared many investors away. It turns out, though, that the major companies in this field see the situation as an opportunity. Chinese company Bitmain, for example, the leading company in hardware and database management for bitcoin mining, plans to expand its development center in Israel, and will shortly triple the size of the team there. Bitmain told "Globes" that it would recruit more than 40 researchers, programmers, engineers and marketing people for its development center in Ra'anana, managed by Gadi Glikberg, to join the 15 people currently employed there.
Bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency, has a 43% market share worth $108 billion, according to CoinMarketCap. Bitcoin is currently traded at $6,300, after falling 7% last week. Bitcoin's current price is 68% below the $20,000 peak it reached in December 2017, but still three times higher than its price a year ago, which was around $2,000. Glikberg, who is also a VP at Bitmain, told "Globes" in February that "bitcoin mining somewhat cushions the fall in the bitcoin exchange rate."
Bitcoin mining creates new bitcoins at a regular, preset rate, planned to end in the year 2140 after the issue of all 21 million bitcoins pre-defined in the bitcoin program protocol. The global bitcoin mining industry is estimated at $4.5 billion annually, according to the Digiconomist website. The annual cost of bitcoin mining is put at $3.5 billion, so that the market works on an average profit margin of about 20%.
Bitmain is the largest company in the world in production and marketing of dedicated hardware for mining digital currencies, using ASIC technology, and it owns several brands in this field, among them Antminer, mining pool AntPool, and cloud mining system HashNest. The company was founded by its joint CEOs Jihan Wu and Micree Zhan. Bitmain is based in Beijing, and operates development centers in Amsterdam, Hong Kong, and Ra'anana.
Bitmain's Israeli development center, established in 2016, deals in, among other things, blockchain capabilities, mining pool ConnectBTC, and AI development as part of the Sophon project. Among Bitmain's customers is Tel Aviv Stock Exchange-listed Blockchain Mining (TASE: BLCM).