The Paradise Papers suggest Chinese tech billionaire Lei Jun is connected to the world’s biggest bitcoin miner

Lei Jun amassed a $7 billion fortune by making stylish, affordable smartphones under the Xiaomi brand. He’s now one of China’s richest men, and is often considered China’s answer to Steve Jobs, for his emphasis on design and the wild success of Xiaomi handsets in a crowded market. It turns out he may be adding to his fortune via the lucrative world of bitcoin mining, through a connection to the world’s largest manufacturer of bitcoin-mining equipment, Beijing-based Bitmain.

A connection between Lei Jun and Bitmain is interesting because the tech billionaire has never publicly expressed an interest in cryptocurrencies. If Lei is connected to Bitmain, it would be the equivalent of an Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos revealing a stake in a bitcoin firm—conferring a major stamp of legitimacy for cryptocurrencies. Bitmain, for its part, has always maintained that it is self-funded, primarily through co-founder Jihan Wu’s early bitcoin

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