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Nvidia CEO talks cryptocurrency, AI, and the leisure economy

Nvidia turned out another stellar financial result for the second quarter ended July 31. Jen-Hsun Huang, CEO of the world’s biggest stand-alone maker of graphics chips, credited some big trends like the growth of PC gaming, artificial intelligence, self-driving cars, and the Nintendo Switch.

But the Santa Clara, California-based company also got some attention because some of its revenues came from an unusual source: Cryptocurrency. The demand for graphics hardware to mine the algorithms to produce more cryptocurrency has finally become measurable. While Nvidia reported more than $2.2 billion in the quarter, about $200 million, or about 10 percent, came from hardware sales related to cryptocurrency.

Above: Nvidia launches an inexpensive 10-series card for the low-end of the market.

Image Credit: MSI/Nvidia

In the earnings call, Huang said, “Cryptocurrency and blockchain are here to stay. Over time, it will become quite large. It is very clear that new currencies will come to market. It’s clear the GPU is fantastic at cryptography. The GPU is really quite well positioned. This is a market that is not likely to go away soon. Our strategy is to stay close to the market and offer miners a coin-mining SKU, optimized for mining.”

After the earnings report, I had a chance to catch up with Huang for five minutes. I chose to ask him about two topics that were tangential to the earnings. But Huang was a good sport, and he indulged my questions.

Here’s an edited transcript of our interview.

GamesBeat: Did you say a hallelujah for cryptocurrency?

Jen-Hsun Huang: No? Cryptocurrency is around. But it represented only a couple hundred million dollars, maybe $150 million or so. There’s still crypto mining to go to, currency mining. It comes and goes. It’ll come again. Somebody will come up with new hardware. Digital currency is not going away. It’s here…

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