Nvidia has declared that cryptocurrencies offer “nothing useful for society”, despite its powerful processors selling in vast quantities to the sector. Michael Kagan, the company’s CTO, stated that other uses of processing power, such as the artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot ChatGPT, were more meaningful than mining cryptocurrency.
Nvidia never fully supported the crypto community, and in 2021, the company released software that limited the ability to use its graphics cards for Ethereum mining in order to ensure supply went to its preferred customers, such as AI researchers and gamers. Kagan said the decision was justified due to the limited value of using processing power to mine cryptocurrencies.
The first version of ChatGPT was trained on a supercomputer made up of roughly 10,000 Nvidia graphics cards. Kagan said, “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.”
Nvidia originally became well known for producing powerful graphics cards for PC gamers to play the latest games. It was almost by chance that the company’s products took their place at the heart of the AI boom. The computationally intensive work of training a new AI system, which can take millions or billions of dollars’ worth of computing power, happened to work significantly faster on the types of simple yet powerful processors that had been adopted by gamers.
The sources for this piece include an article in TheGuardian.