Bitcoin Miner Maker Ebang Files for a $100M US IPO

RISK FACTOR: “The significant drop in the Bitcoin price is expected to have a negative effect on the value of our bitcoin mining machine inventory and incentivize us to increase credit sales,” Ebang’s filing warns. (Credit: Shutterstock)

Bitcoin Miner Maker Ebang Files for a $100M US IPO

Ebang International Holdings, one of the leading manufacturers of bitcoin mining equipment, is taking another stab at going public, this time farther from home and with a smaller fundraising target.

The Hangzhou, China-based firm aims to raise up to $100 million from an initial public offering (IPO) in the U.S., according to an April 24 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The Chinese firm would be listed under the ticker symbol EBON on the New York Stock Exchange or Nasdaq. Loop Capital Markets in Chicago and AMTD Global Markets in Hong Kong are the underwriters on the deal. 

This is Ebang’s second attempt to go public after it failed to do so on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX) in June 2018. The target proceeds from that would-be IPO were estimated to be $1 billion. 

Founded in 2010, Ebang is among the earliest China-based hardware companies, such as Bitmain and Canaan Creative, to make application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) chips and fabless integrated circuits (ICs) for bitcoin mining machines. Chinese miners contribute over 65 percent of the computing power on the Bitcoin network. 

Ebang generates over 82 percent of its revenue from making bitcoin miners. It raked in $109 million in revenue last year, down nearly 66 percent from 2018. Its net loss for 2019 more than tripled to $41.1 million, according to the filing. 

The firm confidentially filed for the IPO in February without disclosing pricing terms, according to Renaissance Capital. 

Second chances

Ebang is one of several crypto companies that failed to launch an IPO in Hong Kong and later came to the U.S. for another shot. 

Rival bitcoin miner makers Bitmain and Canaan Creative tried to go public on HKEX but their plans fell through because local regulators were reluctant to allow any crypto-related company listings. 

Canaan later managed to launch its IPO on Nasdaq last December. 

Huobi Group, one of the top crypto exchanges by volume, acquired a Hong Kong-based electronics manufacturer last year in a bid to get listed through a reverse takeover. 

However, the process has been put on hold due to strict mergers-and-acquisitions regulations. 

Risk factors

While Ebang is unsure of what impact the upcoming halving in May would have on bitcoin’s price, the firm sees ever-changing regulations in China, potential sharp drops in the price and the COVID-19 pandemic as substantial risk factors for its revenue streams, according to the filing. 

“The significant drop in the bitcoin price is expected to have a negative effect on the value of our bitcoin mining machine inventory and incentivize us to increase credit sales,” the firm said in the filing, referring to the March market crash.  

The Chinese government once planned to phase out crypto mining businesses and did not change the provision until several months ago. Varying policies from different provinces also pose a challenge for bitcoin miners. 

For example, Xinjiang, an autonomous region in northwest China, one of the main areas that offer cheap electricity for mining farms, warned local mining enterprises that were operating illegally to close their operations before Aug. 30, 2018. Many small miners that did not register with the local government were considered illegal at the time. 

The coronavirus outbreak in China has delayed the delivery of mining machines from almost all the manufacturers to their clients. 

“The outbreak of coronavirus COVID-19 in China has resulted in a severe disruption of social and economic activities in China,” according to the filing.

Disclosure strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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