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Bitmain's $300 million revenue boosted by AI-powered bird detection

Finance

decrypt.co 29 April 2020 11:21, UTC
  
Reading time: ~3 m

Bitcoin mining manufacturer, Bitmain, has brought in $300 million in revenue within the first four months of 2020, according to local reports. However, while Bitmain's burgeoning AI venture is taking flight, its mining business appears to be coming apart at the seams. 

An internal announcement made Wednesday, revealed that despite some initial coronavirus-led disruption—business is booming. Rather than miring in what the company dubbed a mining industry "downturn," Bitmain instead focused attention on its artificial intelligence business.

JUST IN: #Bitmain internally announced that the company's revenue in the first 4 months of 2020 exceeded $300 million usd. The #AI business grew rapidly, bringing economic and social benefits, and they even began to do "bird protection".

— Sally 嘎知 (@sallywang666) April 29, 2020

Bitmain forayed into AI as early as 2017, aiming to escape the regulatory grip of the Chinese government. Starting by shipping the 'Sophon BM1680', an ASIC-based chip designed to expedite machine learning, Bitmain now cites bigger plans.

Now it is focused on using AI to detect birds. And it’s a burgeoning industry.

Bitcoin miners largely unaffected by coronavirus pandemic

Bitmain has been developing image recognition software for rare birds. According to the report, the AI project will assist wildlife protection agencies in targeting protection measures. Aside from birds, it also has ongoing projects including smart cities and communities.

JUST IN: #Bitmain internally announced that the company's revenue in the first 4 months of 2020 exceeded $300 million usd. The #AI business grew rapidly, bringing economic and social benefits, and they even began to do "bird protection".

— Sally 嘎知 (@sallywang666) April 29, 2020

With a significant uptick in revenue, the mining manufacturer said it plans to endow each employee with a bonus of 70,000 RMB ($9,900) on Chinese labour day.

Falling apart

As for the mining side of the business, things haven't been going too well. According to customer reports, Bitmain's 17 series rigs have been literally falling apart. Per a tweet from Blockstream CSO Samson Mow, S17 and T17 Antminer machines have a "20-30% failure rate."

"Heat sinks are falling off and shorting out machines, while power supply fans are failing," Mow wrote in a tweet, "Jihan is begging customers to give the S19 a chance & blames everything on Micree." Micree Zhan being the other co-founder of Bitmain who was ousted from the company in November 2019.

#Bitmain customers report that Antminer S17/T17’s have a 20-30% failure rate (normally 5%). Heat sinks are falling off and shorting out machines, while power supply fans are failing. Jihan is begging customers to give the S19 a chance & blames everything on Micree. #BitcoinMining pic.twitter.com/PeAsTkp2ck

— Samson Mow (@Excellion) April 26, 2020

With the Bitcoin halving fast approaching, the last thing retail miners need are broken rigs. But if they see any rare birds, at least Bitmain has their back.


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