In brief

  • NVIDIA makes graphics processing units for video game consoles and other hardware.
  • It was sued by investors in 2019 over allegedly underreporting its reliance on purchases for crypto mining rigs.
  • The company's CFO said if demand increases, the firm could restart GPU products for crypto miners.

The total market capitalization of the cryptocurrency market has doubled in under two months and now stands at above $1 trillion. The hot crypto market has one company contemplating about playing with the on-fire market—after getting burned in 2018.

NVIDIA, an S&P 500 company that creates graphics processing units and computer chips, is considering reintroducing products geared primarily to Bitcoin and crypto miners. 

In a recent statement to investors, NVIDIA Chief Financial Officer Colette Kress stated, “If crypto demand begins or if we see a meaningful amount, we can also use that opportunity to restart the CMP product line to address ongoing mining demand.”

The CMP product line removes video elements, making them great for cryptocurrency mining rigs, powerful computers with only one task: to validate cryptocurrency transactions on a blockchain network in order to earn crypto. They are, however, incompatible with video games, a key industry for NVIDIA.

The tension between crypto and video games has led to legal issues for NVIDIA. Since 2019, it has been waging a court battle against investors who claim the California-based company underreported how much of its revenue was from crypto mining—by over $1 billion—in violation of the Securities Exchange Act.

The investors pointed to a drop in NVIDIA’s stock price, linking it to volatility in cryptocurrency prices. The lawsuit targets the period of May 2017 to November 2018; during that time, Bitcoin’s price moved from $1,400 to nearly $19,000 and then back down to under $4,000.

Demand for Nvidia’s graphic cards among crypto minters subsequently evaporated; in the span of three months between September and December 2018, the price of NVIDIA stock fell by more than half.

No promises from Kress, however, who said of the crypto mining GPUs: “We don’t believe it’s a big part of our business today. Gaming demand is very strong, and we think that’s larger than our current supply.”

Correction: An earlier version of this article said the total cryptocurrency market capitalization now stands at above $1 billion. It's much higher in fact: above $1 trillion.