NVIDIA’s Chief Technology Officer, Michael Kagan, expressed skepticism about cryptocurrencies and their societal value in a recent interview with The Guardian. Kagan believes that AI applications like the artificial intelligence chatbot ChatGPT are more beneficial than crypto mining.
Kagan’s comments highlight NVIDIA’s strained relationship with the crypto community. In 2021, NVIDIA released software that limited its graphics cards’ ability to mine Ethereum, aiming to prioritize its preferred customers like AI researchers and gamers. According to The Guardian, Kagan defends this decision, citing the minimal value in using processing power for crypto mining.
NVIDIA’s CTO praised AI applications like ChatGPT, which required approximately 10,000 NVIDIA graphics cards for its initial training. Kagan told The Guardian, “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 didn’t bring anything useful for society. AI does.”
In contrast, Kagan likened cryptocurrencies to high-frequency trading, an industry that had previously benefited his company, Mellanox, before its acquisition by NVIDIA. While acknowledging that customers buy their products, he emphasized that NVIDIA would not wholeheartedly redirect the company to support cryptocurrencies.
The Guardian also noted NVIDIA’s recent success in the AI market, with tens of thousands of NVIDIA’s AI-focused processors sold to Microsoft and Amazon for their respective cloud computing services. Jensen Huang, NVIDIA’s CEO, referred to the company as the engine behind “the iPhone moment of AI” at their annual conference, highlighting the transformative potential of generative AI across various industries.
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