For the past year, graphics card manufacturers have been on a bit of a sugar high given the meteoric rise of cryptocurrency mining. Those looking to earn a bit of cash on the side have gobbled up graphics cards from both the AMD and NVIDIA camps, which in turn inflated sales numbers for NVIDIA and AMD along with their AIB partners.
It appears that the sugar high is now waning, as the obsession with cryptocurrency mining starts to taper off. That’s according to DigiTimes, which says that Taiwanese graphics card manufacturers like Gigabyte and MSI are expected to experience a significant decline in shipments for the month of April. How big of a drop is being forecast? Estimates are putting the month-over-month decline at 40 percent.
According to the Taiwanese news outlet, “Quite a few mining farm operators have even stopped purchasing graphic cards, as they are awaiting the rollout of Ethereum mining machines by China’s Bitmain in the third quarter of 2018.” However, these same mining operators are hopeful that cryptocurrencies values for Ethereum and Bitcoin will rise during the third quarter, which could lead to another spike in GPU sales.
Both Ethereum and Bitcoin are in a bit of a lull as far as valuations are concerned. Ethereum hit a high of around $1,400 in January, but is now valued at about $630. As for Bitcoin, the price of a single coin shot to near $20,000 in December 2017, but is now hovering at just under $9,000 today.
To put in perspective how much the cryptocurrency craze has affected hardware companies, take a look at Gigabyte. The company sold 4.5 million graphics cards during calendar year 2017. This was an increase of 1 million for 2016. Profits from its graphics card sales doubled during 2017 to $67.37 million.
Given that demand appears to be weakening, hopefully that means that the astronomical prices that graphics cards have commanded for the past 6 months or so will come back down to earth.