Nvidia (NVDA) Stock Price: Cryptocurrency Drives Sales, Record Earnings
The explosion of cryptocurrency hasn’t just been good for investors (despite the recent dip in the market)—it’s also helped drive up profits for chip makers like Nvidia, which make processors used for mining cryptocurrency.
When Nvidia reported its earnings for the fourth quarter of 2017 Thursday, the maker of graphics processing units (GPUs) revealed it produced revenue of $2.9 billion and a record net income of $1.1 billion.
Nvidia’s stock (NVDA) soared following the news, spiking from $217.53 to $238.89 following the record quarter. The nearly 10 percent increase pushed Nvida’s stock price close to its highest value ever.
While Nvidia’s products are primarily for gamers and creators who require high-powered processors to handle demanding tasks like displaying games at high resolution, the recent success of the company has been in part pushed by cryptocurrency mining.
“Strong demand in the cryptocurrency market exceeded our expectations,” Nvidia chief financial officer Colette Kress said on a call with analysts following the company’s earnings report.
The process of mining for cryptocurrencies requires users to lend their computer processing power to solve complex mathematical equations needed to authenticate transactions across the blockchain—a distributed ledger that keeps track of all sales and purchases of a particular cryptocurrency.
When those equations are solved and the transactions are confirmed, coins are released and provided to people who lend their processing power to the process as a reward for helping complete the process.
Graphics cards aren’t specifically marketed by manufacturers as tools for mining for cryptocurrency, but their ability to handle complex and resource-demanding tasks makes them ideal components for miners.
Despite enjoying the benefits of the cryptocurrency boom, Nvidia insisted that it won’t shift its focus away from its core audience to cater to those hoping to mine for Bitcoin and other altcoins.
“While the overall contribution of cryptocurrency to our business remains hard to quantify, we believe it was a higher percentage of revenue than the prior quarter,” Kress said to investors. “That said, our main focus remains on our core gaming market as cryptocurrency trends will likely remain volatile.”
Nvidia isn’t the only company benefitting, either. Its main rival, AMD, has also profited thanks to cryptocurrency. AMD reported its earnings for the fourth quarter of 2017 on January 30, where it announced revenue of $1.48 billion—up 34 percent year-over-year—and net income of $61 million.
It is unclear if the recent cryptocurrency market crash will affect sales of graphics cards and processors. If it drives down demand, gamers likely won’t be too disappointed—many have reported prices on the processors are higher than ever before as there are product shortages and they are being sold at a premium.
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