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Nvidia to limit Ethereum mining, announces CMP for professional mining

  • Nvidia will limit hash rate on GeForce RTX 3060 processors to discourage Ethereum mining with this type of GPUs.
  • A dedicated Cryptocurrency Mining Processor (CMP) is supposed to mitigate the GPU shortage.

In a blog post, graphic processing unit (GPU) manufacturer Nvidia has made two announcements that could change the mining industry. The post titled “GeForce Is Made For Gaming, CMP Is Made to Mine” marks the beginning of a more aggressive strategy to discourage the purchase of GPUs for mining cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum.

To that end Nvidia will reduce the hash rate in the software drivers for the product it will release on February 25, the GeForce RTX 3060. By doing so, the company seeks to ensure that GPUs “end up in the hands of gamers”. Nvidia announced:

RTX 3060 software drivers are designed to detect specific attributes of the Ethereum cryptocurrency mining algorithm, and limit the hash rate, or cryptocurrency mining efficiency, by around 50 percent.

The publication shows no disdain for cryptocurrency mining. On the contrary, Nvidia claims in a complacent tone that its users are “constantly discovering new applications” for its programmable GPUs. However, all consumers have been affected by the shortage in GPUs which originate from the high demand in the mining sector.

Thus, Nvidia’s new graphics cards will have new technology “tailored” to meet the demand of gamers. Moreover, Nvidia announced the launch of a second product, their Cryptocurrency Mining Processors (CMP) for “professional miners”.

Unlike their GPUs for gamers, the CMPs will not support graphics production but will have a number of features that will make them “more efficient” at Ethereum mining. As Wu Blockchain reported, Nvidia’s announcement has been met with criticism from specialized news media.

Restriction only for Ethereum?

For now, it appears that Nvidia will not reduce the hash rate for Ethereum mining on the rest of its graphics cards. Despite that, mining expert Kristy-Leigh Minehan said via Twitter that Nvidia’s announcements will bring “mixed feelings among miners and gamers alike.”

Apparently, there are gamers who use their GPUs to mine cryptocurrencies when they are idle, Minehan said, asserting that there will be room for innovation that will “break that distinction”, as the expert added:

I can vouch for the CMP series. So can a few other farms out there (you know who you are). CMP’s can be pushed harder; are more performant; and are streamlined for mining. I’m interested to see if this restriction is algorithm-based, or applies to other altcoins as well.

In addition, Minehan indicated that the move will have a positive impact on Ethereum due to “reduced” investment in equipment supporting the Proof of Work (PoW) algorithm. As reported by CNF, the cryptocurrency has launched the Beacon Chain operating with the Proof of Stake (PoS) algorithm as part of its transition to Ethereum 2.0.

One of the concerns of many during the migration of the ecosystem is about the mining sector and how its influence could slow down the progress made by developers. Unlike PoW, a PoS blockchain does not offer incentives for miners to maintain expensive equipment. Minehan concluded:

From another viewpoint, this is a big move into commercialised mining. Nvidia is now supporting professional businesses who are the backbone of ETH – and all the additional activities, such as frontrunning, hah.

About Author

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Reynaldo Marquez has closely followed the growth of Bitcoin and blockchain technology since 2016. He has since worked as a columnist on crypto coins covering advances, falls and rises in the market, bifurcations and developments. He believes that crypto coins and blockchain technology will have a great positive impact on people's lives.

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