Zanoxing Yang, founder and CEO of MicroBT, a Shenzhen-based manufacturer of bitcoin miners, is currently being held by local police to help with an investigation.

The investigation is likely to focus on allegations of intellectual property infringement by the company related to the technology of its Beijing-based giant Bitmain-based crypt-extraction rival, according to a source close to MicroBT, who reportedly has knowledge of # 39; s case. The news has been reported for the first time by Chinese encrypted information source BlockBeats.

The source confirmed to CoinDesk that Yang was arrested in late October by the local police – after the unexpected return to Bitmain of Jihan Wu, co-founder of the company. Wu took control of Bitmain last week by ousting the other co-founder of the company, Micree Zhan, then president.

Yang was previously director of processor design at Bitmain, tasked with developing the company's flagship AntMiner S7 and S9 models around 2016. However, he left the company and raised more than $ 20 million to found MicroBT. – company producing WhatsMiner range of mining devices – after discussion with Zhan and Wu for stock options have failed.

Bitmain has already sued Yang and his company in 2017 for alleged infringement of a patent granting Bitmain a technology related to Bitcoin minors. In 2018, Yang's legal team filed an appeal in a Chinese court for the revocation of the patent, after which the case was closed.

The source said that at this point it was unclear how and why a police investigation was opened on a possible infringement of intellectual property.

MicroBT has recently increased its competition with major miners such as Bitmain and Canaan, after increasing its market share in the bitcoin mining industry.

The company did not respond to a request for comment from CoinDesk at the time of going to press. Bitmain did not wish to comment when asked.

Yang Zuoxing image courtesy to Poolin

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