Nvidia announces new chips designed for mining Ethereum as the cryptocurrency hits record highs – CNBC

Nvidia announces new chips designed for mining Ethereum as the cryptocurrency hits record highs – CNBC

Jensen Huang, president and CEO of Nvidia, speaks during the company’s event at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Jan. 6, 2019.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Nvidia on Thursday announced it will release a new series of semiconductors specifically for mining ether, the second-largest digital cryptocurrency.

The new chip type is called CMP, or Cryptocurrency Mining Processor. The first cards will go on sale in March, an Nvidia spokesperson said.

Ether mining is a process in which computers solve complicated math programs to help the Ethereum cryptocurrency network run. In exchange, miners get ether, the digital coin that runs on the Ethereum network. Ether hit a record high on Thursday, up over 160% year-to-date to over $1,914.

Ether’s mining algorithms run best on graphics cards, which is the kind of chip that Nvidia is known for. Miners often buy several graphics cards and put them in a single machine to maximize their return.

Last fall, Nvidia released a new series of graphics cards marketed at PC gamers that have been consistently sold out. The semiconductor industry is also facing a shortage across the board.

Thursday’s announcement suggests that at least some of the demand for Nvidia’s chips came from cryptocurrency miners, not just gamers.

CMP products — which don’t do graphics — are sold through authorized partners and optimized for the best mining performance and efficiency,” Matt Wuebbling, head of GeForce marketing at
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