There's been a huge spike in cryptocurrency value of recent. Having been burned before by not taking appropriate steps when crypto spiked in 2018, Nvidia has been under pressure to get it right this time.
The company just announced its revenue for the past quarter, which has now reached $5 billion. That's a 61 percent increase from $3.11 billion last year.
In a recent earnings call (via Seeking Alpha) Colette Kress, the company's CFO, revealed analyst estimates point to anything from $100m to $300m of that revenue coming from cryptocurrency mining sales alone. Kress notes that the company is currently unable to "accurately track or quantify" the cards end use, thanks to them going first to AIB partners before distribution.
Still, Kress outlined the steps the company is taking regarding cryptocurrency mining activity:
"Last week we announced a new line of NVIDIA CMPs or cryptomining processors. Shipments will start in March. CMPs lack display outputs and have other optimizations that improve crypto mining power efficiency." She continues, "for Q1, we estimate that CMP will contribute approximately 15 million. We plan to sell these products to industrial miners. We will quantify their contribution each quarter for transparency."
The hope is that this, along with placing mining limiters on the RTX 3060, should help put gaming cards in the hands of gamers, as opposed to finding them strapped together in a dusty warehouse somewhere, or repurposed Vietnamese internet café, mining Ethereum.
It should also give Nvidia a better idea of exactly how much revenue comes from miners, to make it easier to monitor (and capitalise), so it's not just gamers that will benefit.
In the call, Nvidia's CEO Jensen Huang noted "I think proof of work is going to be around for a bit. We developed CMP for this very reason."
So Jensen acknowledges that people will continue to build gigantic mining rigs whether we like it or not, and it's better (and more profitable) to segregate miners and gamers than let it go on unimpeded.
The wording Kress uses regarding the limiters hints at further limits too: "starting with the 3060..." I don't know, but that kind of implies other cards will be coming with hash rate limiters.
So this may well be the start of a trend in preventing future gaming cards being used for mining altogether.