Nvidia weakens potential hash rate from GeForce chips to discourage miners from using its GPUs

Computing hardware maker Nvidia is reducing the possible hash rate production of its GeForce graphics cards to discourage their use for mining.

In an announcement from the firm Tuesday, it said the new, lower hash rate cards will start shipping in late May.

The chipmaker sells GeForce model gaming computers (GPUs) in addition to separate, dedicated mining hardware. However, the GeForce chips feature programmability, and some found the graphics cards had enough hash power to mine cryptocurrency. This led some to utilize their dedicated gaming computers for Ethereum mining, which in turn drove up hardware prices and created shortages, making the product less accessible to those looking to use it for its intended use. 

Ethereum miner revenue reached an all-time high in April of this year, and Nvidia reported $150 million in revenue from mining-specific sales in Q1 2021. 

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As of February of this year, Nvidia unveiled a dedicated Ethereum mining product. With that announcement, Nvidia also committed to differentiating the two product lines by making the GPU less useful for crypto mining. 

The fix is lowering the hash rate found in the graphics cards, according to Nvidia. GeForce RTX 3060, 3070 and 3080 will also feature graphic cards with reduced hash rates. They'll be labeled with "Lite Hash Rate" or "LHR" to further differentiate the products. Ethereum's hash rate has continued to expand in recent months.

"We believe this additional step will get more GeForce cards at better prices into the hands of gamers everywhere," the firm said in its announcement. 

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Aislinn Keely is a reporter on The Block's policy team holding down the legal beat. She covers court decisions, bankruptcies, regulatory actions and other key moments in the legal sphere, putting them in context for the wider crypto industry. Before The Block, she lent her voice to the NPR affiliate WFUV and helmed Fordham University's student newspaper. Send tips or thoughts on all things policy and legal to [email protected] or follow her on Twitter for updates @AislinnKeely.

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