​Nvidia wants GPUs reserved for those who need it, not those mining ether

The processing power Nvidia's GPUs are capable of has made them a useful tool for those dealing in ether, but the company's CEO would prefer the GPUs be kept for use in areas such as gaming or high-performance computing.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor
(Image: Supplied)

In delivering his keynote at the Nvidia GPU Technology Conference in San Jose on Tuesday, company founder and CEO Jensen Huang checked off a number of industry hot topics, announcing among other things a virtual reality driverless car simulation system, but deliberately omitting blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

Speaking with media after his address, Huang was asked about the omission, and explained that his company's technology is regretfully used en masse by those mining ether.

"Ethereum, ether, was designed as an algorithm to ensure that no singular entity or a few entities has a power to control the ether," Huang said.

"It was designed so that the algorithm requires the type of compute capability, the type of processing capability that is made possible by GPUs in a distributed system."

The reason why the graphics processing unit (GPU) is so popular with ethereum, Huang explained, is because it is the single largest distributed supercomputer in the world, and the only supercomputer that is "literally in everybody's hands".

"As a result, no single entity can control the currency -- it was designed to do that -- and that is why GPUs are so good at it," he said.

But that's not Nvidia's business, and Huang said he doesn't want it to be his company's business.

"Gaming is growing, workstation is growing, AI hyperscale datacentre is growing, high-performance computing is growing. Quite frankly, I'd prefer that our GPUs were built to be used in those areas," he said.

And the reason for that, he continued, is there's a shortage of GPUs. Huang said it's hard for Nvidia to keep stock.

"My preference would be, of course, that we allocate them for the people we build them for, but there's a logical reason for why [they use] Nvidia GPUs, because it's the world's largest distributed supercomputer," Huang said.

When asked why Nvidia doesn't lift and shift its ethereum-focused users over to its DGX systems, Huang said cryptocurrency doesn't need as much of a system architecture as artificial intelligence does.

"An AI system is very different to a cryptocurrency one," he added.

To Huang, the future of software is AI.

Disclaimer: Asha Barbaschow travelled to GTC as a guest of Nvidia


Editorial standards