NVIDIA Slams Cryptocurrency: “It Brings Nothing Useful to Society”

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NVIDIA may have profited greatly from the last bull run, but now, the company behind GeForce GPUs appears to have nothing but harsh things to say about cryptocurrency. Michael Kagan, NVIDIA’s chief technology officer, has told The Guardian that cryptocurrencies do not “bring anything useful for society,” stating that other uses of processing power, such as OpenAI’s popular chatbot ChatGPT, were more worthwhile than mining crypto. NVIDIA had announced the CMP, or, Cryptocurrency Mining Processor, product line for professional mining in February 2021.

“All this crypto stuff, it needed parallel processing, and [NVIDIA] is the best, so people just programmed it to use for this purpose. They bought a lot of stuff, and then eventually it collapsed, because it doesn’t bring anything useful for society. AI does,” Kagan told the Guardian.

“With ChatGPT, everybody can now create his own machine, his own programme: you just tell it what to do, and it will. And if it doesn’t work the way you want it to, you tell it ‘I want something different’.”

“We were heavily involved in also trading: people on Wall Street were buying our stuff to save a few nanoseconds on the wire, the banks were doing crazy things like pulling the fibres under the Hudson taut to make them a little bit shorter, to save a few nanoseconds between their datacentre and the stock exchange.”

“I never believed that [crypto] is something that will do something good for humanity. You know, people do crazy things, but they buy your stuff, you sell them stuff. But you don’t redirect the company to support whatever it is.”

From The Guardian:

Nvidia never embraced the crypto community with open arms. In 2021, the company even released software that artificially constrained the ability to use its graphics cards from being used to mine the popular Ethereum cryptocurrency, in an effort to ensure supply went to its preferred customers instead, who include AI researchers and gamers.

Kagan said the decision was justified because of the limited value of using processing power to mine cryptocurrencies.

The first version ChatGPT was trained on a supercomputer made up of about 10,000 Nvidia graphics cards.

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Tsing Mui
News poster at The FPS Review.

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