In brief:

  • Bitmain records $300 million in revenue in the first four months of 2020.
  • The mining firm attributes the boost to its AI ventures.
  • Meanwhile, the mining aspect of the business is literally falling apart.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.