It’s no secret these days that GPU makers took advantage of the early cryptocurrency mining boom, but NVIDIA is now facing some repercussions as a result. The company is paying $5.5 million to settle US Securities and Exchange Commission lawsuits. It did not disclose that crypto mining played a “significant” role in the soaring revenue from GPU sales during fiscal year 2018. NVIDIA would enact both the Securities Act and breached the Securities Exchange Act when it failed to reveal that its success was linked to a “volatile venture,” potentially misleading investors who may have believed it was the result of the company’s usual gaming-focused strategy.
The SEC order also said NVIDIA misled investors by acknowledging that cryptocurrency demand was affecting other aspects of its business at the time. That implied that, according to the regulator, mining was not a significant part of the success of the gaming industry where it was before other products. NVIDIA will have to abide by a ban to break rules in the future.
An NVIDIA spokesperson declined to comment. However, the brand increasingly sees crypto mining as a disadvantage to gaming GPU sales rather than an advantage. It started limiting the mining capabilities of RTX GPUs in 2021 in an effort to free up cards for the intended audience. The company even launched special mining cards that year in an effort to satisfy crypto fans without cutting demand for its GeForce GPU line.
The payment is small for a company that made $7.6 billion in the past period reported quarter† That said, the modest settlement was somewhat to be expected, given a failed previous attempt to claim damages. Tom’s hardware noted in March 2021 that a judge dismissed a lawsuit accusing NVIDIA of misleading investors – it was no secret that many GPUs were destined for cryptominers, the judge ruled. Although the SEC found wrongdoing, it would make it harder to prove that NVIDIA had done enough damage to warrant a hefty fine.
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