Listen to this article Nvidia: Cryptocurrencies Have No Societal Benefit
Nvidia, the leading US chip-maker, has announced that cryptocurrencies do not bring any useful value to society. Despite its powerful processors selling in huge quantities to the sector, Michael Kagan, the company’s chief technology officer, has emphasized the importance of developing chatbots instead of crypto mining.
The limited worth of cryptocurrency mining
According to Kagan, other uses of processing power, such as the development of artificial intelligence (AI) chatbots, are more worthwhile than mining cryptocurrencies. In 2021, Nvidia even released software to restrict the use of its graphics cards for mining Ethereum, a popular cryptocurrency, to ensure the supply went to its preferred customers, including AI researchers and gamers. Kagan believes that the limited value of using processing power to mine cryptocurrencies justified this decision.
The comparison between chatbots and cryptocurrencies
Kagan highlights the benefits of AI chatbots over cryptocurrencies. For instance, the first version of ChatGPT, an AI chatbot, was trained on a supercomputer made up of about 10,000 Nvidia graphics cards. Unlike crypto, ChatGPT enables anyone to create their machine and program it to their liking. If the chatbot does not work as expected, users can make adjustments and direct it to perform different tasks.
Kagan further argues that crypto is similar to high-frequency trading, an industry that generates a lot of business but does not necessarily bring value to society. He notes that Wall Street traders bought Nvidia’s products to save a few nanoseconds on the wire, while banks took extreme measures like pulling fibers under the Hudson taut to shorten the distance between their data center and the stock exchange.
Nvidia’s focus on AI rather than cryptocurrencies
Nvidia, originally known for producing powerful graphics cards for PC gamers to play the latest games, has been at the forefront of the AI boom. Nvidia’s products have taken their place at the heart of the AI industry, as the computationally intensive work of training a new AI system is significantly faster on the types of simple yet powerful processors that had been adopted by gamers.
Recently, Microsoft announced that it had purchased tens of thousands of Nvidia’s AI-focused processors, the A100 GPU, to power the workload of OpenAI. In addition, Amazon has bought 20,000 H100s, the successor to the A100 chip, for its cloud computing AWS service, while Oracle has acquired another 16,000. Nvidia also rents access to the chips directly, with its DGX cloud service starting at just under $37,000 per month for just eight H100s wired together in a cluster.
Nvidia’s Vision for AI
At the company’s annual conference, Jensen Huang, Nvidia’s chief executive, described the company as the engine behind “the iPhone moment of AI.” He stated that the “generative AI” that Nvidia powers would “reinvent nearly every industry.” This statement emphasizes Nvidia’s confidence in AI technology and the potential it holds for the future.
Nvidia’s Michael Kagan’s stance on crypto mining and AI chatbots highlights the ongoing debate about the societal benefits of cryptocurrencies. As AI continues to develop, it is likely that chatbots and other AI applications will continue to gain momentum and become more widely used. Meanwhile, the future of cryptocurrencies remains