A drop in demand for graphics cards (GPUs) by the world’s cryptocurrency miners could ‘materially’ impact AMD’s chip business, the company disclosed this week.
In its most recent 10-K annual filing, AMD – one of several firms to ride the recent wave of demand for GPUs (which are needed for the energy-intensive mining process) – highlighted how “the rise of cryptocurrency prices and the introduction of new cryptocurrencies created a demand for our GPUs in 2017.” While the company offered no specific figures, the disclosure, published on Feb. 27, is in line with past predictions from AMD, which suggested near the end of 2017 that its GPU business was getting a lift thanks to crypto-miners.
That state of play might not last forever, however.
In the 10-K, AMD indicated that several factors could change the environment on the GPU front, highlighting market and regulatory risks that could lead to a decline in the number of GPUs being bought by cryptocurrency miners.
The firm wrote:
“The cryptocurrency market is unstable and demand could change quickly. For example, China and South Korea have recently instituted restrictions on cryptocurrency trading. If we are unable to manage the risks related to a decrease in the demand for cryptocurrency mining, our GPU business could be materially adversely affected.”
The prediction that volatility could alter the pace of demand is shared by others in the space, including rival GPU maker Nvidia.
During an earnings call in early February, Colette Kress, Nvidia’s chief financial officer, said it was “hard to quantify” how much of its GPU revenue came from cryptocurrency miners, adding that “cryptocurrency trends are likely to remain volatile.”
Still, the inclusion in its most recent filing serves to highlight how AMD is among a growing list of companies – primarily financial institutions – to acknowledge the impact that cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology will have on their bottom lines.
AMD Ryzen GPU image via Joerg Huettenhoelscher / Shutterstock