Date
21 October 2018
Jen-Hsun Huang, NVIDIA’s co-founder and CEO, said the US chipmaker needs to increase its production of GPUs to address the significant shortage in the market driven by crypto miners. Photo: Bloomberg
Jen-Hsun Huang, NVIDIA’s co-founder and CEO, said the US chipmaker needs to increase its production of GPUs to address the significant shortage in the market driven by crypto miners. Photo: Bloomberg

NVIDIA steps up GPU production amid surging crypto demand

NVIDIA, which specializes in semiconductors supporting artificial intelligence technology, is one of the biggest gainers of the global cryptocurrency craze as its graphics processing units (GPUs) are highly sought after by both gamers and crypto miners due to their high processing power.

Jen-Hsun Huang, NVIDIA’s co-founder and chief executive, told TechCrunch in an interview that the company needs to increase its GPU production to address the significant shortage in the market.

“I wish we can put more GPUs in the hands of gamers that want to play PUBG,” he said, referring to the popular battle royale game.

Cryptocurrency is created through a “mining” process, in which “miners” use the power of computers to verify and complete the transactions on the blockchain network.

The meteoric surge in the price of bitcoin and other virtual currencies last year has attracted more people to join the mining craze with their mining rigs and chips. This in turn has boosted the sale of NVIDIA’s graphics chips, which are among the most popular in the crypto market.

“We’re sold out of many of our high-end SKUs [stock keeping units], and so it’s a real challenge keeping [graphic cards] in the marketplace for games,” Huang said.

“All of our partners are working around the clock. We’ve got to come closer to the demand of the market. And right now, we’re not anywhere near close to that and so we’re just going to have to keep running.”

Huang explained to TechCrunch that the surging demand may be coming from the decentralized nature of cryptocurrencies.

“At the highest level the way to think about that is because of the philosophy of cryptocurrency – which is really about taking advantage of distributed high-performance computing – there are supercomputers in the hands of almost everybody in the world so that no singular force or entity that can control the currency,” he said.

Huang stressed that the huge demand from the cryptocurrency sector represents only “a small percentage of NVIDIA’s overall business”.

But in an earnings call in February, he said: “Crypto is a real thing – it’s not going to go away.”

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