Since the cryptocurrency movement burst onto the main stage of our collective conscious in 2017, it has produced a slew of ancillary products and peculiarities that transcend just digital currencies.
For instance, the emergence of ICOs, the financing mechanism for launching new blockchain-based platforms, netted more than $18 billion for blockchain startups this year. In addition, new financial products including Bitcoin futures contracts and the prospect of crypto ETFs are encroaching on the traditional financial industry in a profound way.
Despite the incredible scale and impact of these initiatives that continually make news headlines in the crypto space, nothing has been as shocking as the crypto movement’s impact on GPU availability.
A Temporary GPU Shortage
Cryptocurrencies are managed by blockchain technology, which is maintained as the network’s computers complete complex algorithms. As cryptocurrencies began soaring in value, crypto mining companies and entrepreneurial minded individuals started aggressively purchasing these units. As The Wall Street Journal reported last June, “about $100 million worth of GPU processors were added to the networks that mine Ethereum in just 11 days.”
GPU prices quickly rose. According to The Verge, some GPU units experienced prices increases of more than 80%, a shocking rise in a short period of time. Despite the climbing costs, a global shortage of GPU units quickly ensued, leaving PC gamers and aspiring crypto miners without the technology that was readily available on store shelves just a year ago.
However, GPU powered crypto mining was never the most efficient or effective way to manage digital currencies. As mind-blowing comparisons – like the fact that creating a single Bitcoin through mining consumers enough energy to power a home for two years – clearly convey, crypto mining was not destined to continue forever.
Indeed, as blockchain platforms like Ethereum evolve and mature, crypto mining using GPU units is increasingly less profitable, and the network’s transition to ASICs make them ineffective altogether. The result, of course, is a deluge of unused or underutilized GPU units and a shifting landscape for graphics card producers.
After struggling to keep the items in stock, producers are finding an empty market for their most recent products. To compensate, some companies including Nvidia and AMD have cut prices by 25%. According to Nvidia CEO, Colette Kress, “Our revenue outlook had anticipated cryptocurrency-specific products declining to approximately $100 million.” Moreover, Mr. Kress doesn’t see this decline abating any time soon. She added, “We now expect a negligible contribution going forward.”
GPU producers will undoubtedly feel the pain of decreased sales from crypto miners, but the industry is poised to return to its original target audience of PC gamers who are continually clamoring for access to this technology to power their increasingly GPU intensive gaming rigs.
A New Market Emerges
However, the individual crypto miners who stocked up on GPU to participate in the mining process are likely still trying to decide what do with all the technology that they acquired. Undoubtedly, some will abandon their rigs, selling them off on eBay for a fraction of what they paid. Fortunately, there is a better way.
In the wake of declining GPU mining operations, blockchain-based platforms are giving GPU owners an opportunity to profit from their existing setups.
Leonardo Render, a blockchain-powered cloud rendering service for creatives, provides its users with an ecosystem that equips them to profit from their GPU capability. The process is surprisingly simple. The Leonardo Render platform is arranged so that users (with a certain amount of GPUs) can lend their GPU in exchange for digital currency, a process not entirely dissimilar from crypto mining but with the potential for even higher revenue streams.
This scenario is a win-win for both creatives and GPU owners.
So far, Leonardo Render is collaborating with notable companies including iQIY, a formidable comparison to Netflix in China, and VHQ, a prominent media company with contracts with some of the most recognizable brands in the world. Therefore, in addition to the cadre of independent creatives clamoring for better rendering capabilities, Leonardo Render exposes GPU holders with companies with robust rendering needs, which allows them to profit from the equipment that was used to mine digital currencies.
Other companies are providing promising opportunities as well. VectorDash equips users to rent their excess or underutilized GPU to support AI research. In this way, AI academics gain access to coveted GPU capabilities at an affordable rate, and former crypto miners can once again profit from their technology. Meanwhile, Golem, a platform that caters to the creative arts and AI research offers a similar service.
The days of profitable crypto mining may be quickly coming to a close, but that doesn’t mean that people who invested in powerful GPU equipment are without ways to profit from their purchases. The decentralized ecosystem is adapting, producing new opportunities to thrive.