Short-seller Hindenburg takes aim at Chinese crypto firm Ebang, shares slump

Ebang did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment

  
FILE PHOTO: Exchange rates and logos of Bitcoin (BTH), Ether (ETH), Litecoin (LTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) are seen on the display of a cryptocurrency ATM of blockchain payment service provider Vaerdex in Zurich, Switzerland, May 29, 2019. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo

FILE PHOTO: Exchange rates and logos of Bitcoin (BTH), Ether (ETH), Litecoin (LTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) are seen on the display of a cryptocurrency ATM of blockchain payment service provider Vaerdex in Zurich, Switzerland, May 29, 2019. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo

REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo

Short-seller Hindenburg Research said on Tuesday it was going short on Ebang International Holdings Inc, sending the Chinese bitcoin mining machine producer's shares down nearly 20% in early trading.

"Ebang claims to be a "leading bitcoin mining machine producer", yet our research indicates this extraordinary claim is backed by no evidence," the short seller said.

"Ebang released its final miner in May 2019 and has since seen its sales dwindle to near-zero, delivering only 6,000 total miners in 1H20."

Ebang did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

The recent bitcoin mania has fueled a surge in fundraising by Chinese companies seeking to expand their cryptocurrency operations or move into the red-hot sector.

Ebang debuted on Nasdaq in June last year and had conducted two fundraising rounds in February alone, raking in $170 million, even after a previous offering in November. 

Hindenburg, which went short on another Chinese blockchain company Sos Ltd in February, added that its research revealed that instead of using capital proceeds to develop its business, Ebang directed much of the cash out of the company through "a series of opaque deals with insiders and questionable counterparties." 

Hindenburg had also taken short positions in electric vehicle companies including Lordstown Motors, Nikola Corp, Kandi Technologies Group Inc and insurer Clover Health in the past year.

(Reporting by Chavi Mehta and Akanksha Rana in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich) ((Chavi.Mehta@thomsonreuters.com;))

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