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Nvidia’s Blackwell Chip May Revolutionize AI – But Can it Mine Bitcoin? 

Last Updated April 30, 2024 4:27 PM
Shraddha Sharma
Last Updated April 30, 2024 4:27 PM

Key Takeaways

  • Nvidia introduced the next-gen Blackwell GPUs in March 2024.
  • Blackwell boasts of record-setting speeds that could usher in the AI revolution. 
  • Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang believes the whole industry is gearing up for Blackwell.

Jensen Huang, CEO of Nvidia, introduced Blackwell GPUs in March 2024. This state-of-the-art GPU may signal the beginning of a new era in computing and AI. While the tech industry is waiting for its exceptional capabilities, its impact on Bitcoin mining is likely limited.

Blackwell’s New GPU Technology

In March 2024, the Graphics Technology Conference (GTC) launched the Blackwell architecture and the next-generation AI graphics processors.

In a recent interview , Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang emphasized that Blackwell is not only the fastest GPU ever created but also a transformative technology for artificial intelligence (AI).

While dubbing it “a new Industrial Revolution,” he said, “Google is gearing up for Blackwell. The whole industry is gearing up for Blackwell.”

The tech industry might already be aligning its resources to leverage Blackwell’s capabilities. Meanwhile, analysts have raised their price target and earnings outlook for Nvidia on the back of the new Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) category and product mix. 

For instance, UBS has revised  Nvidia’s financial forecasts upward by 20% for 2025. 

Nvidia's Mining Chips | Source: Company Website
Nvidia’s Mining Chips | Source: Company Website

Huang said, “We’re hoping that it [Blackwell] does things that surprise us. That’s the whole point. In some areas like drug discovery designing better materials that are lighter, stronger. We need artificial intelligence to help us explore the universe in places that we could’ve never done ourselves.”

Bitcoin Mining and AI GPU

According to Huang, Blackwell “does quadrillions of calculations a second, it’s just insane numbers.”

Bitcoin mining also involves using powerful computers to solve complex math problems, securing Bitcoin transactions on the blockchain and then releasing new BTCs. The mining process requires powerful computing capabilities, typically provided by Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) or specialized Application-Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs). 

High-performance tech like the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 and AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT are often used  because they can efficiently handle these complex cryptographic tasks for mining

Depending on the power of computing, GPUs generate significant heat, necessitating efficient cooling systems to function optimally.  The Nvidia website  provides different models of consumer-grade GPUs, their performance in hash rate, power requirements, memory sizes, and cooling requirements. 

 

While Nvidia’s Blackwell is a potent AI chip, it may not be ideal for Bitcoin mining, which is better served by specialized ASIC miners that offer higher efficiency and better hash rates. GPUs, which are often used for tasks like gaming or AI, consume a lot of electricity if used for Bitcoin mining and could produce very little to no profit. Professional GPUs are designed for other high-power tasks. They could theoretically lead to supercomputers. 

That said, Blackwell could be useful for other blockchain tasks or mining different cryptocurrencies.

The Mining Algorithm

Bitcoin mining uses  the SHA-256 hashing algorithm, a cryptographic function that transforms the input into a consistent 256-bit hash. Encoding by the algorithm ensures the security and integrity of Bitcoin transactions is maintained

Miners use this algorithm to verify blocks and ASICs are optimized for this purpose and currently maintain a competitive edge in the mining market. They can outperform GPUs in terms of hash rate and power efficiency. Meanwhile, GPUs face mining industry limitations due to profitability concerns. 

New GPUs Can Take Over With Efficiency

Nvidia’s Blackwell GPU represents a major technological advancement, with its impact on AI having a potential that extends beyond cryptocurrency mining. However, due to Blackwell’s specialized capabilities, it might not be the most energy-efficient. 

Therefore, its feasibility and efficiency in Bitcoin mining against ASICs cannot be established at this time. But with ongoing developments, Blackwell might fit into a mining legacy with less energy requirements.

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