The next wave of blockchain applications is here, and it could provide a big boost to Nvidia.
A blockchain in its most basic form is a decentralized, public ledger. Bitcoin is probably the most widely recognised blockchain technology. It uses blockchain to break away from centralised banks and governments to create a new type of currency.
As blockchain technology matures, other uses are popping up everywhere. For example, IBM and Samsung are using blockchain to empower a new washing machine that will order its own detergent refills, according to a note to clients from RBC.
Future applications of blockchain might be a bit more practical, and some are already publicly available.
For instance, Golem is a blockchain-based technology that is the self-described “worldwide, decentralized super computer.” The technology connects users with spare computing power to users who wish to buy extra power for complicated tasks like computer graphics rendering or artificial intelligence training.
Then there are basic attention tokens, which are another example of the future of blockchain. The tokens fuel a network that hopes to disrupt the online advertising model. They let advertisers directly buy the attention of their users, instead of space on a website that readers may just ignore.
These are just a couple of examples, but Mitch Steves, an analyst at RBC, said instances such as these could increase demand for Nvidia’s graphics processing units (GPUs).
Steves points to an artificial intelligence system developed by Elon Musk’s OpenAI initiative. The system beat a human player at the complicated video game, Dota 2. Training the system took an incredible amount of computing power, which was bought, in this case, from a single source, Microsoft. Future blockchains could allow applications like OpenAI’s Dota 2 system to be trained in a decentralized manner.
If OpenAI used a blockchain system to buy computing power from a network of users instead of Microsoft, it could have saved money while speeding up its training process, Steves said. If lots of people started using a system like this for large computing projects, users who sell their spare computing power to the network might buy more Nvidia chips to boost the amount of power they could sell to the network. This would increase the amount of money the system pays them.
Cryptocurrencies, like Ethereum, verify payments in the same way. Cryptocurrency “miners” have been buying Nvidia’s chips to increase the power of their computers in order to receive a larger share of the verification fees. Nvidia has said cryptocurrency mining has been a boost to the company, so more applications using the same technology could add to the demand for Nvidia’s chips.
RBC has a price target of $US175 for Nvidia, and rates the company a buy. Nvidia is currently trading for $US165.43, and is up 62.24% this year.