"Crypto is a real thing — it’s not going to go away."
So says Jen-Hsun Huang, chief executive of graphics card maker Nvidia, which yesterday posted its fourth-quarter results for 2017. The company said on an earnings call Thursday that demand from cryptocurrency miners for its product beat expectations but that overall, that market segment remains a small one.
Speaking with Barron's in an interview, Huang echoed that sentiment, remarking that "clearly, there's a lot of talk about crypto." Indeed, much has been said about demand for the firm's products (gripes from the gaming community about sky-high prices for GPUs notwithstanding) and the long-term prospects Nvidia faces.
"And crypto was a real part of our business this past quarter, even though small, overall," the Nvidia CEO said.
Huang touted also touted the benefits of the technology underlying cryptocurrencies. There is "clearly real utility" with blockchain, Huang said, adding that he sees cryptocurrencies as being as real as any other type of virtual good or video game.
He expanded on this idea, going on to say:
"And as you know, tens of millions of virtual goods are created and shared and sold in virtual reality, and people invest thousands of hours to create space ships in space that they battle against each other. So, the concept of virtual goods and virtual worlds and virtual currency all ties together."
Bigger picture aside, the conversation around sales to miners is not that important for Nvidia, Huang argued, noting that "to us, it's all just demand for GPUs."
Nvidia's chief financial officer, Colette Kress, had also downplayed the impact cryptocurrency mining during the quarterly earnings call on Thursday, saying it was hard to quantify just how much revenue the company made from sales to cryptocurrency miners.