The founder of Bitcoin mining rig manufacturer MicroBT is being held as of Nov. 8 by Shenzhen Police to assist in an investigation, according to a local news source. Police are likely to be questioning Zuoxing Yang over allegations of intellectual property infringement regarding the technology of Beijing-based Bitmain.
Previous allegations of patent infringement
Yang previously worked at Bitmain as processor design director, and developed the Antminer S7 and S9 models. Allegedly unhappy after talks over stock options fell through, Yang left, and raised $20 million to found MicroBT.
In 2017, Bitmain sued the company over alleged infringement of a patent. However, Yang’s lawyers successfully appealed to have the patent revoked the following year.
Did Jihan Wu instigate the renewed investigations?
A source said that it was unclear why the police had resumed investigations at this time. However, the timing of Yang’s detention, coming just after the unexpected return of co-founder Jihan Wu to Bitmain, may suggest that Wu could be involved.
Wu returned to the company at the end of October, ousting fellow co-founder and biggest shareholder, Micree Zhan. Wu publicly dismissed Zhan of all duties last month, warning that any staff still communicating with him may be fired.