Crypto mining infrastructure companies like Hive Blockchain and Hut 8 Mining are looking at profitable new opportunities for leveraging their considerable GPU-based computing power. Bloomberg reports that as opportunities and profits from crypto have ebbed away, these businesses have been lucky enough to be in line to catch another computational tidal wave — artificial intelligence (AI) computing.
It is estimated that the crypto mining industry invested $15B on GPUs with which to unearth blockchain-based tokens. Last September, the financial viability of a swathe of cryptomining businesses evaporated overnight.
Of course, we are talking about the event known as the Ethereum Merge, where this popular GPU-minable crypto currency switched from Proof-of-Work to Proof-of-Stake. At the time we celebrated, noting that millions of GPUs would become unshackled and perhaps find their way into the tender arms of a PC enthusiast or gamer. However, some miners have held on, having been less affected due to their Bitcoin mining activity, while looking for other crypto opportunities and hoping for a bounce or resurgence in the crypto economy. According to Bloomberg's report, the likes of Hive Blockchain and Hut 8 Mining are already raking in tens of millions of dollars thanks to their HPC service offerings and the burgeoning AI business.
In its talks with Hive Blockchain, Bloomberg heard that the company is hoping to hit $10M in revenue from HPC business by 2024, and foresees this income stream doubling the year after. Hive Blockchain is a sizable business that purchased $66M worth of GPUs from Nvidia in early 2021.
Hut 8 Mining seems to have been even more successful in partially transitioning from crypto to HPC services. Bloomberg's report suggests the firm has made nearly $17M from these operations in 2022, representing about 11% of overall revenue.
In some ways the example businesses above are lucky to have been able to continue, and therefore be around to catch the AI wave. The source report notes that Core Scientific, which was the largest public Bitcoin miner by computing power, didn't even make it to 2023 before going bankrupt.
Going forward, the crypto mining stalwarts will have to survive some serious competition from the likes of Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services (AWS) to successfully sell AI acceleration services. However, it is noted that the ex-mining outfits have some of the best GPU maintenance experience and strong histories of optimizing for energy management.
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Mark Tyson is a Freelance News Writer at Tom's Hardware US. He enjoys covering the full breadth of PC tech; from business and semiconductor design to products approaching the edge of reason.