Former Bitmain CEO and bitcoin billionaire Jihan Wu has officially been tied to the launch of Matrixport, a new crypto startup that will offer over-the-counter (OTC) trading in Asia.
The platform, which was rumored in a series of updates last month, is being backed by Wu and a group of former Bitmain employees. Given the early reports on Matrix, anonymous sources claimed the exchange would be working closely with Bitmain’s massive mining conglomeration, leading to speculation that Wu left his former company on amicable terms.
Matrixport is being designed as a an all-in-one exchange for OTC trading, lending and custody of crypto-assets, according to Chief Executive Officer Ge Yuesheng. The exchange made its official launch on July 8, with an unnamed source claiming it could become Asia’s "biggest over-the-counter desk and asset manager overnight.”
Ge reports the exact details of the exchange’s funding will be released at a later date. For now, it is known that Wu comprises a major shareholder, alongside Bitmain and several other global venture capital firms. The company will be based out of Singapore and already boasts a team of 100 staff members.
The CEO elaborated on Matrixport’s relationship with Bitmain, which will reportedly be the exchange’s largest provider of crypto-assets,
“We are closely tied to Bitmain by our origin. But because we operate in different businesses, we are partners rather than competitors.”
Compared to retail-oriented exchanges, Matrixport is being aimed at professional traders and institutional investors, making BitGo and the US-based Genesis Global Trading its primary competition.
Matrixport is striking the market at a time when bitcoin sentiment--and pricing--is on the rise. Compared to the crypto winter of 2018, which obliterated bitcoin’s value and slashed Bitmain’s hope of an initial public offering (IPO), the next exchange may be entering at an opportunistic time.
Ge explained the exchange plans to leverage its connection to Bitmain and fulfill the needs of Chinese crypto-miners, who have come to dominate mining pools globally. Matrixport is incorporated in jurisdictions outside of mainland China as a way to circumvent the country’s standing ban on cryptocurrency trading.
Prior to the startup, Ge was a founding member of Bitmain alongside Jihan Wu and retains a 4 percent stake in the mining company.