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Cryptocurrency miner Bitmain lets its Hong Kong IPO application lapse

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Cryptocurrency miner Bitmain lets its Hong Kong IPO application lapse
FILE PHOTO: Bitcoin mining computers are pictured in Bitmain's mining farm near Keflavik, Iceland, June 4, 2016. Picture taken June 4, 2016. REUTERS/Jemima Kelly   -   Copyright  Reuters Staff(Reuters)
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By Julia Fioretti

HONGKONG (Reuters) – Bitmain Technologies, the world’s largest designer of products used for mining cryptocurrencies, on Tuesday let its application for a Hong Kong initial public offering (IPO) lapse as hopes for cryptocurrency companies to go public fade.

Bitmain’s application lapsed on Tuesday, six months after it was filed, the Hong Kong stock exchange’s website showed.

“We do recognise that despite the huge potential of the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry, it remains a relatively young industry which is proving its value. We hope regulatory authorities, media, and the general public can be more inclusive to this young industry,” the company said on its website.

Bitmain designs different microchips specialised for mining cryptocurrencies and for artificial intelligence applications, as well as manufacturing cryptocurrency and AI hardware, and managing crypto mining farms.

The reputation of cryptocurrencies, and particularly exchanges, has been hit hard by fears of price volatility and possible uses for laundering money alongside high-profile hacks and infrastructure failures.

Bitmain’s IPO hopes suffered the same fate as those of smaller cryptocurrency mining equipment maker Canaan Inc, which let its own IPO application lapse last year.

Hong Kong officials had raised questions about the sustainability of miners’ business models given the falling price of bitcoin, sources have said in the past.

The crypto market peaked in late 2017, when trading volumes surged and bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency, reached a high just above $20,000 (£15,149). Bitcoin’s price has fallen more than 80 percent since then, and trading volumes have slumped.

Bitcoin was worth $3,898.12 on Tuesday.

The lapsing of Bitmain and Canaan’s IPO applications leaves only cryptocurrency mining equipment maker Ebang International Holdings in the running for a listing in the financial hub. Ebang refiled its application in December to avoid its lapsing.

(Reporting by Julia Fioretti; Editing by Shreejay Sinha)

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