Speaking with Mad Money host Jim Cramer, NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang recently claimed that “cryptocurrency is here to stay,” and he “doesn’t see the craze ending anytime soon.”
Though it first came to fruition in 2008, bitcoin gained a solid taste of mainstream popularity in 2017 when its price began rising faster than anyone had anticipated. The year started with a single bitcoin trading at nearly $1,000, though things ended on a higher note when the currency nearly grazed the $20,000 mark.
Since January 2018, bitcoin and other virtual currencies have experienced serious drops in their prices, but Huang is convinced that cryptocurrency remains as popular as ever.
“Cryptocurrency will be here,” he stated in the interview while discussing the future of finance. “The ability for the world to have a very low-friction, low-cost way of exchanging value is going to be here for a long time.”
NVIDIA is a technology company based in Santa Clara, California. Some of the enterprises’ staple products are its graphics processing units or GPUs. These small processors, Huang explains, were some of the main reasons the company first decided to get involved in cryptocurrency last year.
The GPUs have a powerful ability to mine virtual currencies, and blockchain technology requires computers that can be distributed “all over the world” while remaining immutable and safe. Thus, Huang felt his company’s products could be greatly beneficial to cryptocurrency miners:
“The reason why cryptocurrency became such a popular thing on top of our GPUs is our GPU system is the world’s largest installed base of distributed supercomputing. Our processor serves as the perfect processor to enable this supercomputing capability to be distributed, and that’s the reason why it’s used.”
Interestingly, Huang noted that while the chips were no doubt powerful and crucial to the mining industry, he and his fellow executives are “not ready to move” on this just yet. For the time being, NVIDIA is primarily involved in the gaming business, data centers and self-driving cars, and cryptocurrency and mining operations account for only small portions of the company’s profits.
In fact, NVIDIA currently has no alleged involvement in Bitcoin, per Huang’s comments at a recent GPU technology conference. He said its processors are predominantly used to mine ether, which accounted for roughly 6 percent of the company’s GPU sales in 2017.
“Ethereum ‘ether’ was designed as an algorithm to ensure no singular entity (or a few entities) has the power to control the ether,” he said. “It was designed so that the algorithm requires the type of computing capabilities — the type of processing capabilities — that are made possible by GPUs in a distributed system. The GPU is popular with Ethereum because the GPU is the single largest distributed supercomputer in the world. It is the only supercomputer that is literally in everyone’s hands, and no single entity can control the currency.”
He says that the influence of cryptocurrency isn’t likely to affect how they do business in the present, though he’s very confident this could change in the future:
“Gaming is a much bigger business; data center is a much bigger business; our professional graphics is a much bigger business, and, of course, in the future, everything that moves will be autonomous, and we’ll have autonomous capabilities, and that’s going to be a much bigger market, but cryptocurrency gave it that extra bit of juice that caused all of our GPUs to be in such great demand.”