Cryptocurrencies do not “bring anything useful to society”, according to chip manufacturer Nvidia.
The American chip manufacturer Nvidia says that cryptocurrencies do not “bring anything useful to society” despite the fact that the company’s powerful processors sell in large quantities to the sector, writes The Guardian.
Michael Kagan, the company’s chief technology officer, believes that other uses of processing power, such as the chatbot ChatGPT with artificial intelligence, are more valuable.
Wanted to stop crypto
Nvidia never embraced the crypto community with open arms.
In 2021, the company even released software that limited the ability to use its graphics cards from being used to mine the popular cryptocurrency Ethereum.
Trained on supercomputer
The whole thing was an attempt to ensure that supply went to priority customers, such as AI researchers and gamers.
Michael Kagan now emphasizes that the decision was motivated by the limited value of using processing power to mine cryptocurrencies. The first version of ChatGPT was trained on a supercomputer consisting of about 10,000 Nvidia graphics cards.
“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.
“Did crazy things”
“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,” Nvidias technical chief recalls.
“I never believed that [crypto] is something that will do something good for humanity,” he adds.
Almost a coincidence
Nvidia was originally best known for producing powerful graphics cards for PC gamers who wanted to play the latest games.
It was almost a coincidence that they found a place at the heart of the AI boom. But the computational work involved in tweaking a new AI system turned out to be much faster on the simple but powerful processors used by gamers.
Sold tens of thousands
Two weeks ago, Microsoft said it had bought tens of thousands of Nvidia’s AI-focused processors, A100 GPU, to power the workload for OpenAI. Nvidia has sold 20,000 H100, the successor to the chip, to Amazon for its cloud computing AWS service, and another 16,000 have been sold to Oracle.
When Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang spoke at the company’s annual conference last week, he described the company as the engine behind the “iPhone moment for AI”.