By Alun John and Jennifer Hughes HONG KONG (Reuters) – Bitcoins are worth less than half of what they were in December. Mining them is 60 percent less profitable than it was in 2017.

Even retailers of hobbyist mining rigs say they are seeing fewer customers. Canaan is expected to present itself to investors not so much as a bitcoin company, but as a chip designer focused on developing other markets in artificial intelligence and blockchain, the electronic ledger that underpins bitcoin.

“Their customers happen to be bitcoin miners. But they are a chip company, not a bitcoin company,” said one of the sources.

Both declined to be named because information about the IPO has not yet been made public. The offering for Canaan, which claims to be the world’s second-largest bitcoin mining hardware supplier, is scheduled for July, the sources said.

Canaan declined to comment. The Beijing-based company’s profits rose seven-fold last year to 361 million yuan ($56.67 million), according to its prospectus, as bitcoin’s soaring price drove a surge in demand for its products, sold under the AvalonMiner brand. Read more from whtc.com…

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