Xiaomi founder flatly denies any link with world’s biggest bitcoin miner

‘It is fake! So far I have not invested in bitcoin myself, nor invested in any makers of bitcoin mining machines,’ said Lei Jun, founder and CEO of Chinese smartphone giant

PUBLISHED : Monday, 27 November, 2017, 10:16pm
UPDATED : Monday, 27 November, 2017, 10:31pm

Lei Jun, the founder and chief executive of smartphone giant Xiaomi, has been quick to deny a media report suggesting he had any association with the world’s biggest maker of crypto mining machines.

Often dubbed China’s answer to Steve Jobs for his company’s stylish smartphones, Lei flatly denied a report on Quartz, a tech news website based in New York, that suggested any connection to the Beijing-based Bitmain, the world’s largest manufacturer of bitcoin-mining equipment.

“It is fake! So far I have not invested in bitcoin myself, nor invested in any makers of bitcoin mining machines,” Lei said on Monday night on his official account on Toutiao, the Beijing-based news and information content platform, which is considered China’s dominant news site with 120 million active daily users.

Quartz had suggested a connection between Lei Jun and Bitmain was interesting because the tech billionaire had never publicly expressed an interest in cryptocurrencies

In an updated story by Quartz on Monday, Bitmain – which claims to have made about 70 per cent of the world’s bitcoin-mining rigs – confirmed that the entity linked to Lei in the leaked Paradise Papers is not a shareholder.

On Saturday, the site said that Lei – already one of China’s richest tech tycoons – may add considerably to his fortune by engaging in the lucrative bitcoin mining business.

The report came amid a recent surge in the value of bitcoin, which jumped past US$9,000 for the first time on Monday, six days after topping $8,000, and taking its year-to-date rise to more than 850 per cent.

The Quartz report cited information from the Paradise Papers, leaked by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) – the global network of more than 200 investigative journalists in 70 countries who collaborate on in-depth investigative stories – claiming two entities that Lei controls are related to a firm called Beijing Changtong Wuxian Consulting Company.

Beijing Changtong in turn is connected to four entities controlled by Bitmain’s co-founders Jihan Wu and Micree Zhan.

According to the Quartz report, Beijing Changtong’s connections to Bitmain-related firms are classified by the ICIJ as “others”, which could be interpreted as Lei’s vehicles are part of a holding group with the Bitmain founders’ firms, under the umbrella of Beijing Changtong.