Wall Street firm Susquehanna recently reduced its price targets for leading GPU makers AMD and Nvidia, claiming they’ll now have to compete with mining hardware giant Bitmain when it comes to cryptocurrency mining, as the company developed Ethereum ASIC miners.
In a note sent to Susquehanna’s clients, analyst Christopher Rolland revealed the China-based hardware manufacturer, a market leader when it comes to Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) chips, is going to start shipping out Ethereum ASIC miners in the second quarter of this year.
According to CNBC, he said:
"During our travels through Asia last week, we confirmed that Bitmain has already developed an ASIC [application-specific integrated circuit] for mining Ethereum, and is readying the supply chain for shipments in 2Q18.”
He further revealed that while Bitmain is the largest ASIC vendor, currently selling 70 to 80 percent of Bitcoin mining ASICs, and the first to market these chips, three other companies are working on Ethereum ASICs.
So far, Ethereum’s hashing algorithm Ethash has been ASIC-resistant, allowing miners to make a profit using general purpose GPU chips commonly used for gaming and looking for aliens. ASIC chips are extremely efficient at mining cryptocurrencies, but are useful for little else.
Rolland lowered his stock price targets for GPU makers Nvidia and AMD as he believes ASICs will hurt demand for these chips, which will in turn hurt their business. He estimates Ethereum mining-related sales account for 20 percent of AMD’s sales, and 10 percent of Nvidia’s revenue.
Even if miners stop buying GPUs to mine Ethereum, it’ll still be profitable to buy them to mine other cryptocurrencies. One example would be Monero (XMR), which recently went to “war” against ASICs through an emergency software update that “lightly changes the proof-of-work algorithm to prevent DoS attacks by ASICs.”
Nevertheless, Susquehanna reduced his price target for AMD’s shares from $13 to $7.5, and reduce his forecast for Nvidia from $215 to $200. Per the analyst, Nvidia has a “stronger and more durable gaming franchise which would could help it work through this potential Ethereum-related unwind.”
Last year, Bitmain reportedly made as much revenue as Nvidia. The company’s revenue, analysts estimate, is generated by selling ASICs. The company may be expanding by developing operations in the US