Over the last couple of years, the world has been grappling with the lack of semiconductors, which are the substances that conduct electricity between metals and isolates. The most famous semiconductor is silicon.
If correlating this concept to electronic devices, then the key semiconductors are processors and other microcircuits that are present in almost all devices that people use every day, from smartphones to cars.
In 2021, semiconductors hit a world record in terms of sales. Electronics production also boomed, with hundreds of millions of complex semiconductors being devoured by gaming consoles. The number of GPUs produced grew to unseen levels, with major manufacturers like Nvidia seeing all-time highs in terms of production.
Despite all this, electronics prices skyrocketed and manufacturers of related goods were struggling to find semiconductors.
Crypto miners: Guilty or innocent?
It has become customary to not only mention but to blame cryptocurrency miners for the global shortage of GPU cards and semiconductors. To their credit, miners would buy up huge swaths of graphics processing units, sometimes emptying whole stores at once.
Some countries that are feeling the shortage of cards acutely are already fighting against cryptocurrency mining.
At the same time, the manufacturers, themselves, do not take such a definite position. AMD CEO Lisa Su said in June 2021 that miners are far from guilty for the lack and even complete absence of certain GPU cards. She said that their influence on the market is generally minimal and does not exceed 5%–10% of the total demand.
Andy Long, CEO of White Rock Management, a digital asset technology company situated in Switzerland, agreed with Su that mining isn’t entirely to blame:
“GPUs are still in high demand to power Ethereum and other altcoin mining. Nvidia’s published estimate for the percentage of traditional GPUs going to miners is in the single digits, but the true figure is likely higher than that — somewhere around 20%.”
Another important factor behind the shortage of GPU cards is the COVID-19 pandemic. The supply chain showed that due to the many…