Can Nvidia and AMD Beat the Bitcoin slump?

Unless you’ve been in a coma for the last few years, you know that both Nvidia Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA) and Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMD) introduced cryptocurrency-mining specific GPUs. Recently, in a direct contradiction to earlier momentum, Bitcoin and the cryptocurrency markets are receiving a thrashing. Now deep into correction territory, the crypto investor’s focus has shifted from hitting new plateaus to salvaging whatever they can. Hardened veterans understand that extreme volatility comes with the territory, but what about chip makers, Nvidia and AMD? ?

Bitcoin

Source: Shutterstock

As a quick refresher, mining is an algorithm-heavy process where computers compete to verify blocks of transactional data. The first to verify the data receives a cryptocurrency unit, such as Bitcoin, as a reward.

As you might expect, mining is an intensive process. Furthermore, the competition becomes all the more fierce as the mined cryptocurrency rises in value. If you have a slow computer, you are virtually guaranteed to waste a lot of electricity for nothing. To gain an edge, miners elect to use ultra-powerful GPUs. The top sellers are AMD and Nvidia.

Naturally, as Bitcoin prices soared to the moon, interest also shifted to NVDA stock and AMD stock. While not direct investments towards cryptocurrencies, their respective associations cannot be denied. AMD admitted as such in June of this year, and for good reason. Their primary focus is on their core gaming sector, but nobody turns down free money.

But now, as Bitcoin prices erode, the association is an unfavorable one. After the “king of cryptos” first hit $1,000 and then went on to collapse, it took down Nvidia and AMD. Potential miners got a case of the weak knees and fled to the nearest exit.

Could the same thing happen again?

Nvidia and AMD can Weather the Bitcoin Storm

Before I say no, I fully disclose the fact that I’m a strong advocate for cryptocurrencies. As evidence, I was one of the first people, along with my colleague Dana Blankenhorn, to speak consistently about Bitcoin and the blockchain on InvestorPlace. Furthermore, I’ve been buying this crypto slump, and will continue to do so.

Despite my obvious propensity for the digital markets, I still believe, for lack of a better phrase, that “this time is different.” I don’t think current shareholders of either NVDA stock or AMD stock have anything to worry about regarding cryptocurrencies. Here’s why:

First, when GPU sales for Nvidia and AMD took a hit after Bitcoin’s mercurial boom-bust cycle in 2013 and 2014, the concept of digital coins was very much a new phenomenon. GPUs weren’t marketed specifically for crypto mining; rather, it just happened that miners used Nvidia or AMD devices. Moreover, these chips weren’t necessarily efficient or effective for mining. Competing technologies ultimately hurt GPU sales at that time, not slumping Bitcoin prices.

Second, no correlation appears to exist among Nvidia and AMD stock, and Bitcoin. For the second half of this year, NVDA stock is up 17%, whereas AMD shares lost 2.5%. What might surprise lay investors is that Bitcoin is actually up 25% since July 1. Yet the most famous digital coin lost 36% over the last two weeks!

These performance metrics are simply all over the place. This dynamic clearly indicates that other factors besides cryptocurrencies impact Nvidia and AMD stock.

Finally, I’m not convinced that lower crypto prices weaken Nvidia and AMD processor demand. Corrections weed out the speculators and “Johnny-come-latelys.” This helps true proponents get more bang for their mining buck through competition elimination.

Next Page

Will the Plunge in Bitcoin Crush AMD and Nvidia?

A crackdown in cryptocurrencies in China and ICOs (initial coin offerings) has been weighing on bitcoin and other cryptocurrency markets. After nearing the $5,000 mark, bitcoin prices have been plunging, now trading near $3,875. Currently, it’s down 7% or almost $300 per bitcoin thanks to recent comments from JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) CEO Jamie Dimon. He called it a “fraud” and said he would fire any trader at the bank who touched it.

“You can’t have a business where people can invent a currency out of thin air and think that people who are buying it are really smart,” Dimon said at the Delivering Alpha conference Tuesday.

The fall in bitcoin has some wondering what other implications the drop could have. Specifically, could it hurt Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and Nvidia Corporation (NVDA) going forward?

In a note earlier this week, Jefferies analyst Mark Lipacis laid out just how much exposure NVDA stock and AMD stock have to cryptocurrencies. The stocks aren’t directly correlated, but because their graphics products are used to mine cryptocurrencies like ethereum, demand for the products are tied to demand for the currencies. The higher demand for crypto, the higher demand for the tools necessary to mine it. That’s good news for AMD and NVDA.

In the second quarter, Lipacis says about 3% of Advanced Micro Devices’ sales came from cryptocurrencies, while accounting for about 10% of Nvidia’s revenue. There are reasons to believe that risks are limited in the near term, Lipacis says, and that cryptocurrencies are not a fad.

But do price drops like the current one in bitcoin hurt AMD and Nvidia? The algorithms may say yes. AMD stock is down about 1% near the open Wednesday, while NVDA stock is down about 75 basis points. Both are underperforming the PowerShares Nasdaq ETF (QQQ) .

Even large near-term price fluctuations in bitcoin are unlikely to cause demand to drop significantly though, which should pad AMD and Nvidia’s cryptocurrency business. However, should demand taper off significantly in the future, it would have a negative impact on these two stocks.

More of What’s Trending on TheStreet:

Bitcoin and Nvidia Price Soar in Sync

Featured

The stock price of chipmaker Nvidia and the value of Bitcoin continue to skyrocket almost in sync. These two technology disruptors, in their respective fields, are propelling amazing technological and economic changes. Their significance is being clearly reflected in the financial markets, as the values of both NVDA and BTC reach all-time highs.

Also read: Another All Time High – Bitcoin Breaks Through 5,000 USD on Asian Exchanges

Bitcoin and Nvidia’s Impressive Price Trajectories

Nvidia products and Bitcoin seem to be interrelated. Both are key elements that are powering the world’s transition to the 4th Industrial Revolution.

“Technology is changing the nature of relationships between industries and creating a new range of challenges. For example, technology is now interconnected with retail, healthcare, and banking,” according to a PWC report.

In this connection, then, is there some degree of correlation between the price trajectories of Nvidia stock and Bitcoin?

Nvidia stock is hovering at its highest-ever stock value. As of writing, a share of Nvidia is over US$170, up from less than US$20 in 2014. As shown in the chart below, Nvidia’s stock price climbed significantly when Bitcoin miners started to order graphics cards specifically tailored for cryptocurrency mining, causing Nvidia shares to jump in value.

Figure 1 – NVDA Price – Courtesy of Google Finance

No less impressive is Bitcoin’s price trajectory, which has been consistently and spectacularly ascending for the last eight months. And, on 1 September, Bitcoin’s value reached yet another all-time high, piercing the US$5,000 mark in the Asian markets.

Figure 2 Bitcoin Price- Courtesy of Google Finance

The paths of Silicon Valley’s Nvidia and Bitcoin intersected when Nvidia launched graphic cards specifically dedicated to cryptocurrency mining.

ASUS, the Taiwanese computer hardware and electronics consumer company announced launching the Nvidia based technology, such as ASUS Mining P106, recently. The advertisement reads, “ASUS Mining P106 is designed for coin mining with high-efficiency components – delivering maximum hash-rate production at minimum cost.”

Specifically, the demand for cryptocurrency mining products has caused Nvidia sales to rise 52%, representing $1.2 billion, Fortune reported on August 10, 2017.

Another chipmaker benefitting from the cryptocurrencies craze is Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD).

The demand for mining cryptocurrencies has been so extraordinary that some Wall Street experts have started to fear that Nvidia’s price is now becoming too dependent on Bitcoin.

Bitcoin and Nvidia’s Role are Intertwined

Nvidia’s graphic processing units (GPUs) play a key role in developing artificial intelligence, driverless cars, drones, and robotics. These innovations, along with Bitcoin and the Internet of Things, are emblematic of the 4th Industrial Revolution.

Now, cryptocurrency miners are benefitting from Nvidia’s GPU technology.

Nvidia is celebrating the anniversary of the first GPU, GeForce 256, which was launched on August 31, 1999. This GPU transformed forever the way humans interact with computers. Nvidia defines a GPU as “a single-chip processor with integrated transform, lighting, triangle setup/clipping, and rendering engines that are capable of processing a minimum of 10 million polygons per second.” This technology enables the acceleration of deep learning, analytics, and engineering applications.

The market for driverless cars, artificial intelligence, virtual reality devices, drones, and robots is in its infancy and taking hold of the world fast. Similarly, the transformation of the monetary and banking system initiated by Bitcoin technology is also young and still being tested.

The ultimate impact of the dramatic changes that these new technologies bring is unknown. However, one thing we can be sure of is that the market for these innovations is not going to shrink in the near future. On the contrary, it will expand unimaginably. The skyrocketing prices of BTC and Nvidia are showing us just a tiny glimpse of a new economic model.

What are your thoughts about the relationship of Nvidia’s products  and Bitcoin? Let us know in the comments below!

_____________________________________________________________________

Images courtesy of Google Finance and Shutterstock.

Bitcoin Boosts Nvidia, AMD Graphics Card Sales

Makers of the world’s most advanced graphics cards — the hardware that lets gamers experience photorealistic action and immersive virtual reality — have had a hell of a year. In August, market leader Nvidia announced a 56% rise in year-over-year revenue. Competitor AMD’s revenue saw an 18% rise over the same period.

But neither company has been eager to crow about what’s driving all that growth, and investors haven’t exactly been overjoyed about it.

Why? The answer is one word long: Bitcoin.

Actually, it’s a little longer than that. Graphics cards (also known as GPUs) were once used to ‘mine’ Bitcoin, or solve the cryptographic riddles that effectively secure billions of dollars worth of virtual currency in exchange for digital cash. That’s no longer true, with Bitcoin now mostly mined using a more specialized chipset known as an ASIC — and on an increasingly industrial scale.

Related

CHINA-US-IT-INTERNET-LIFESTYLE-APPLE

But, as Bitcoin’s price has skyrocketed this year, dozens of lesser-known cryptocurrencies have also become more and more valuable. And those blockchains – including Litecoin, Monero, and, especially, Ethereum – can still be profitably mined by part-timers using off-the-shelf graphics cards. In locales with cheap electricity, a single card can generate roughly a hundred dollars in profits per month.

That has led to huge demand for graphics cards. Nvidia said it made around $150 million last quarter off miners. Analysts speaking to CoinDesk estimated that a sizable proportion of AMD’s revenue is also now coming from miners.

On the consumer side, prices for graphics cards have surged, frustrating consumers who want to use them as intended – for playing games.

Get Data Sheet, Fortune’s technology newsletter.

But investors haven’t been eager to pile into the stocks, precisely because of their dependence on cryptocurrency. Despite the rising value of Bitcoin and others, the space is still very speculative, with actual working applications for blockchain tech relatively rare.

To put the risk in perspective, CoinDesk looked back to 2013, when the bottom dropped out of Bitcoin’s price. Miners, still using GPUs at the time, quickly dumped their hardware on eBay. AMD’s sales slumped drastically in the following year, before slowly recovering in 2015.

Though the cryptocurrency ecosystem is much more robust today than it was in 2013, the bubble could certainly pop again, making mining unprofitable and putting chipmakers against a wall. An even clearer mid-term risk is that Ethereum, the second most valuable cryptocurrency, is trying to move away from hardware-dependent security.

But there’s potential upside, too. If and when cryptocurrency becomes truly widely adopted, AMD and Nvidia may have lucked into a large new market. The potential is suggested by a thriving traffic in guides and tools to help new would-be miners set up rigs in their bedrooms, calculate their potential profits, and manage their digital assets.

When exactly to fully embrace that market, at the risk of appearing too bubble-dependent, will be a tricky question for GPU makers.

Bitcoin Will Trigger Nvidia’s Powerful Explosion

Shares of leading semiconductor player Nvidia Corp.  (NVDA) have been on an absolute war path so far in 2017! This stock has exploded to the upside, with shares up a victorious 71% in the last six months. This monster uptrend is showing no signs of slowing with the stock currently trading just a few points off its 52-week high of $174.56 a share.

So what’s fueling all that upside momentum for the chip king? Nvidia is benefiting in a major way from the rise of Bitcoin, which is remarkably setting a new all-time high as I write this. Bitcoin is now trading above $4,700, and that epic run has now put the entire cryptocurrency market cap at a staggering $170 billion.

To put things into perspective, Apple Inc. (AAPL) has a market cap of $846 billion and Facebook Inc. (FB) has a market cap of $497 billion. Bitcoin alone has a market cap somewhere in the neighborhood of $70 billion, which is close to Netflix’s (NFLX) market cap of $75 billion. Since Bitcoin is considered a form of money, the cryptocurrency has a long ways to go to reach the valuation of the U.S. Dollar. The last figures from the Federal Reverse valued the monetary base at around $3.8 trillion, including coins and deposits.

Make no mistake about it, Nvidia and competitor Advanced Mirco Devices Inc. (AMD) have been two of the biggest equity winners off the Bitcoin and Ethereum boom, since they make the high-powered chips that make it possible for computer geeks to conduct large-scale mining operations.

Apple, Facebook and Nvidia are holdings in Jim Cramer’s Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. Want to be alerted before Cramer buys or sells AAPL, FB or NVDA? Learn more now.

The good times are far from over, since another massive wave is about to hit the cryptocurrency market that will fuel the next leg higher for the fancy chip stocks. This coming trend is the reason that NVIDA and AMD bulls should continue to love these stocks, even considering the lofty Bitcoin valuation and nosebleed all-time high prices.

That trend is blockchain. A blockchain is basically a decentralized public ledger in which transactions are made in Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency. I will spare you the technical details, but if you don’t think blockchain is the next wave, then just consider the recent news from Burger King. Burger King announced earlier this week that it was jumping into the cryptocurrency market by launching its own virtual coin called “WhopperCoin” in Russia.

Bitcoin is the present, but blockchain is the future. The blockchain trend is still in its infancy, so let’s take a look at the technical picture for NVDA and see if it’s flashing a buy or sell signal.

If you take a look at the chart for NVDA, you’ll notice that this stock has been uptrending incredibly strong over the last four months, with shares moving higher off its low of $95.31 to its recent high of $174.41 a share. During that uptrend, this stock has been consistently making higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action.

Shares of NVDA are ripping higher on Thursday right off its 20-day moving average of $165.29 a share with decent upside volume. This spike off the 20-day is now quickly pushing shares of NVDA within range of triggering a big breakout that would push this stock above its recent sideways and consolidated price action.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in NVDA if this stock manages to break out above some key near-term overhead resistance levels at $170 to its 52-week high of $174.41 a share with strong volume. Look for a sustained move and close above those levels with volume that hits near or above its three-month average action of 20.74 million shares. If that breakout hits soon, then this stock should continue on its war path to $200, and ultimately trend well north of $200 a share.

Traders can simply stop out of this play if NVDA moves back below its 50-day moving average of $160.79 a share, or below more near-term support levels at $157.23 to $152.78 share. Pick the stop that’s right for your position size, but don’t miss getting long NVDA here, the blockchain wave is coming and the company is positioned to benefit huge.

More of What’s Trending on TheStreet:

An obscure StarCraft: Brood War tournament is essentially one of the game’s most valuable functions of all time—thanks to Bitcoin

In 2011, an obscure on the net tournament for the esports vintage Starcraft: Brood War took area.

Six a long time later, this obscure tournament is now one of the most valuable in the game’s history—for the bottom finishers, that is. 

The tournament, termed the AoV iCCup Starleague, showcased a grand complete of $1,000 in prizes. and experienced extra than 50 players consider aspect. The dollars was only divided among the top 4. But as Twitch personnel (and former Dot Esports contributor) Cody Conners recently pointed out on Twitter, the 5th-8th area finishers also acquired a prize: 25 units of an experimental new forex termed “Bitcoin.”

A decentralized forex, Bitcoin can be traded freely among people with out an middleman or bank—allowing for brief, anonymous transactions among the senders. As an untraceable and safe forex, bitcoin’s use (and value) grew exponentially in 2016 and 2017. But in 2011, the forex was only two a long time previous.

Nevertheless, at the time it manufactured for a rather acceptable prize for a sport that was on its way out.

The unique Starleague was a series of main Brood War tournaments in South Korea in the early 2000s, exactly where the game’s most important stars competed on countrywide television in significant, packed arenas. The AoV iCCup Starleague was a great deal extra modest in comparison—to set it mildly. Arranged by some of Brood Wars’ handful of remaining die-hard fans in the west, the tournament was only talked about on the Brood War subforum of Team Liquid. The AoV Starleague acted extra as a reunion for the persons whose fascination in the sport however persisted nearly 12 a long time after its launch. In the finish, Terran participant Ryoo “Scan” Seung Kohn was in a position to consider dwelling the tournament, as very well as the $400 first prize.

Six a long time have passed considering the fact that the summary of the AoV iCCup Starleague, and while Scan claimed victory and laid arms on what was, back then, a sizable quantity of dollars, the accurate spoils of war went to those people who did not even attain the podium. The 4 players that put 5th-8th, Anton “Kolll” Emerich, Szikszai “Sziky” Miklos, Ritt “Jumper” Srisawat, and Jacek “Hejek” Koziol, acquired 25 bitcoins for their trouble—a prize valued at $41 in 2011.

Today, the same quantity is valued at $114,000.

While it truly is not obvious if the players were being rewarded 25 Bitcoins each, or 25 dispersed among them, the complete possibly way would make the AoV iCCup Starleague one of the top 10 most most valuable Brood War functions of all time. In case the tournament essentially split 100 Bitcoins among the 4 players, however, that would retroactively suggest the in general prize pool is now valued at $457,000. That would make it the premier-at any time in the famous esports title’s heritage. The next premier prizepool, for the 2007 GOMTV MBCGame StarCraft League Year 2, was $126,000.

Know one of the players who gained bitcoins at this function? Enable them know we might be fascinated in chatting to them. They can e mail us in this article.

Knowledge Dive: Malware, Bitcoin, Apple Watch News

This week, People will have a thing of a scarce prospect in the digital age: The opportunity to all do the exact matter at as soon as. That exact matter will, of training course, be wanting up.

Now, among 12:05 p.m. EST/9:05 a.m. PST in Oregon and 2:48 p.m. EST in South Carolina, there will be a overall photo voltaic eclipse — with Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia all savoring prime viewing slots between begin and end. And individuals are just the entrance row seats: The eclipse will also be noticeable from most of the continental United States.

The pleasure has united People in other odd approaches, from the frantic scramble for eclipse glasses to the building of pinhole projects for individuals unsuccessful in their glasses-paying for quests.

Though PYMNTS and commerce can’t truly contend with celestial situations (but), it does bear noting that the eclipse will only be two minutes prolonged. For the remaining 23 hrs and 58 minutes of the working day, it may well be the far more prudent selection to keep one’s eyes on the terrestrial landscape — a single which under no circumstances fails to disappoint.

As well as, you really don’t have to have to buy any exclusive glasses to do so.

Kaspersky Finds Malware Hitchhiking With Ridesharing Companies

According to Kaspersky Lab, an outdated malware has gotten a new lease on lifestyle by hijacking qualifications from ridesharing products and services. The malware is recognized as the Faketoken Android Trojan, a cell banking malware designed to steal qualifications these as name, credit score card variety and CCV, amid other information.

According to the business, cybercriminals are working with the malware to go soon after some of the world’s far more well-known products and services. The stability firm’s exploration located cell-based products and services that keep economical details are installed on millions of Android devices worldwide, and are thus hugely desirable for cybercriminals. The new iteration of the Faketoken Android Trojan performs stay monitoring of applications, and when a person operates a specified application, the Trojan overlays it with a phishing window to steal the victim’s financial institution card facts, Kaspersky Lab reported in the press launch.

“The simple fact that cybercriminals have expanded their routines from economical applications to other areas, together with taxi and ridesharing products and services, usually means that the builders of these products and services could want to begin having to pay far more consideration to the protection of their customers,” Viktor Chebyshev, stability qualified at Kaspersky Lab, reported in the news launch.

Chebyshev additional noted the ridesharing industry desired to employ far more common stability criteria, protocols which economical products and services firms are expected to employ.

“The banking industry is common with fraud schemes, and its option of employing stability systems in applications has drastically decreased the hazard of theft of important economical details,” Chebyshev reported. “Perhaps now it is time for other products and services that are operating with economical details to stick to match.”

Kaspersky Lab reported the new version of Faketoken targets largely Russian customers, but former iterations of the malware have found it spread quickly to other nations.

Bitcoin Surges — And Faces One more Split

It has been a active week for blockchain, specifically in the Bitcoin neighborhood.

Bitcoin used section of the week spiking, achieving a price of $4,000 for every coin previous weekend. In simple fact, as of Aug 20, the CoinDesk rate of Bitcoin was roughly$4,100. Which is a large climb, specially contemplating that at the commencing of the calendar year, Bitcoin was worthy of fewer than $100 a pop.

The recent surge has been pushed by a difficult fork effectively acquiring a new cryptocurrency, dubbed Bitcoin Cash. It appears to be, though, that Bitcoin could not be carried out splitting just but. According to rumors, Bitcoin could spin off one more upcoming-gen cryptocurrency in coming months, tentatively named Segwit2x.

Segwit2x will function two-megabyte blocks in the blockchain ledger, enabling it to operate quicker than Bitcoin but continue to slower than Bitcoin Cash. Developed below the New York Agreement, Segwit2x is meant to raise transaction block measurements with various witnesses in tow. The target, specialists reported, is to strike a equilibrium among primary recipe Bitcoin’s difficulties with pace and its incapability to tackle big volumes. The hope is that this new digital currency will strike a pleased medium among the two.

Segwit2x will operate below its own rules, but the principal problem is that as well numerous splits in the Bitcoin manufacturer will confuse markets and likely customers. One way or one more, we will all locate out shortly. The recent target for Segwit2x is a November 2017 start.

Cupertino Liberates The Apple Watch

A person of the principal and recurring grievances considering that the start of the Apple Watch a couple of several years ago is that it hasn’t made available significantly in the way of an knowledge individual from an Iphone, and could not be utilised at all devoid of a single.

But that may well be changing.

According to reports on CNBC, the upcoming iteration of the Apple Watch will be equipped to make phone calls, text concept and tap into the web, all devoid of remaining related to a smartphone. The latest version of the Apple Watch is supposedly receiving its around the world introduction in September, along with the a few new Apple Iphone products.

Reports show up to date Apple Watches will have developed-in cellular connectivity so they can act as standalone devices and cater to far more customers. Though Apple has a large subsequent with its Iphone, there are also scores of people who use other smartphones but could continue to want access to the Apple Watch.

“It is a win-win for Apple as it will travel up the average promoting rate of the system mainly because they will be far more expensive,” Neil Shah, exploration director of devices and ecosystems at Counterpoint Investigate, explained to CNBC in the report. “It will [additionally] cater to the niche marketplace of well being and physical fitness customers who really don’t want to have their Iphone when they go for a run. It will also be good for organization use instances.”

Bloomberg reports earlier in the month indicated new Apple Watch variations will come embedded with LTE chips, enabling the wearable devices to do numerous duties devoid of the have to have to be shut to, or paired with, an Iphone. Whether customers will have to pay back their carriers for but one more details program for the devices remains to be found.

So, what have we figured out? Bitcoin carries on to be the rollercoaster of the calendar year, Kaspersky notes “beware of hitchhikers” and Apple is receiving ready to get out there and make some new pals. Additional or fewer a great details dive for the waning times of summer months holiday.

Also, defend your eyes. The eclipse is in a couple of minutes, and you are going to have to have your vision for a couple of decades.


Is NVIDIA Too Dependent on Bitcoin?

NVIDIA Corp. (NVDA), the graphics chipmaker, blew past Wall Street expectations with its second-quarter earnings results thanks in part to Bitcoin mining, but investors’ fear the company is too reliant on the cryptocurrency craze is taking away from its strong results.

All summer, shares of the semiconductor maker have been rising with the price of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin and, to a lesser extent, Ethereum​. The boom in the price of the digital currency has brought more people into the market who are using high-end graphic cards to mine for these digital coins. It has resulted in NVIDIA’s graphics cards becoming sold out and the company gearing up to roll out products specifically for the cryptocurrency market. But while miners, NVIDIA and rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) are betting the cryptocurrency surge has a lot of room to go, Wall Street isn’t so convinced. With Bitcoin hitting an all-time high of more than $3,500 this week, some pundits are warning of a bubble that will eventually burst. In June, Goldman Sachs started coverage of the digital currency, saying its wild ascent may not last for too long. Others have argued the price increases are simply unsustainable. (See also: Goldman Sachs Takes Bearish View on Bitcoin.)

New Rivals to Bitcoin

Still, for every skeptic, there seems to be a supporter of the theory that Bitcoin will march much higher. The latest comes from Fundstrat Global Advisors managing partner Tom Lee who, speaking on CNBC’s “Fast Money,” said Bitcoin has the potential to rival gold as a safe haven asset, putting a lofty potential price tag on the digital currency. “There’s $7.5 trillion worth of gold out there, so gold dwarfs the amount of currency in circulation, and if Bitcoin captures 5% of that alternative currency, it could [be worth as much as] $25,000 to $50,000 a share,” Lee told CNBC. Meanwhile, billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban confirmed in June he has plans to participate in an initial coin offering (ICO) just weeks after tweeting that Bitcoin is in a “bubble.” Cuban’s decision came after one of the companies he is invested in, eSports betting platform Unikrn, announced plans to raise funds for a new online coin to rival Bitcoin. (See also: NVIDIA Earns $200 Price Target From B. Riley.)

NVIDIA, not surprisingly, falls into the bullish camp. During a conference call to discuss second-quarter earnings after the close of trading Thursday, Chief Executive Jensen Huang said the cryptocurrency boom is sustainable, pointing to other digital currencies that are growing in popularity. He also noted that startups are launching ICOs instead of turning to venture capitalists to raise money. Huang predicted the market would be huge and said sales for graphic cards to mine for the digital coins will continue to be in demand.

“Cryptocurrency and blockchain​ is here to stay. The market need for it is going to grow, and over time it will become quite large. It is very clear that new currencies will come to market, and it’s very clear that the GPU [graphics processing unit] is just fantastic at cryptography,” Huang said during a conference call to discuss Q2 results. “This is a market that is not likely to go away anytime soon, and the only thing that we can probably expect is that there will be more currencies to come. It will come in a whole lot of different nations. It will emerge from time to time, and the GPU is really quite great for it.”

Hackers Cash Out WannaCry Bitcoin Wallets | News & Opinion

Those behind the massive WannaCry ransomware attack earlier this year are making moves to protect their windfall.

On Wednesday evening, the hackers emptied three bitcoin addresses known to be associated with the WannaCry ransomware, according to Elliptic, a company that identifies illicit bitcoin activity.

According to Elliptic’s data, the hackers amassed more than $144,000 worth of bitcoin in the three accounts. But on Wednesday evening, they quickly emptied them.

WannaCry withdrawls

A Twitter bot set up by Quartz to monitor the WannaCry-affiliated bitcoin wallets showed that the owners of the accounts started withdrawing the money around 11:10 p.m. ET last night in increments of around $20,000 to $30.000. After 15 minutes and seven withdrawals, the accounts were empty.

“The money was likely sent through a bitcoin mixer, a process that obscures its trail from bitcoin to hard currency,” Quartz wrote. “The process is a sort of laundering operation for digital currency.”

The report notes that security experts and government agencies believe North Korea was responsible for the attack, which was likely “more political than money-driven.”

Meanwhile, Elliptic’s co-founder Tom Robinson told CNBC the funds were likely converted into a different cryptocurrency. “We believe some of these funds are being converted into Monero, a privacy-focused cryptocurrency,” he told the news outlet. Elliptic is working with law enforcement to help track down the owners of the accounts, he added.

WannaCry first hit computers in Europe and Asia on May 12 before spreading to hundreds of thousands of PCs around the world and throwing government agencies and private businesses into disarray. Those who were infected found their computers locked, with hackers demanding a $300 ransom to unlock the device and its files.

As Bitcoin splits, its clone stumbles out of the gate | VentureBeat | Business

NEW YORK (By Anna Irrera and Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss, Reuters) – Bitcoin’s underlying software code was split on Tuesday, generating a new clone called “Bitcoin Cash,” but the new virtual currency got off to a slow start due to lackluster support for its network.

The initiative was headed by a small group of mostly China-based bitcoin miners – programmers who essentially operate the bitcoin network – who were not happy with scheduled improvements to the currency’s technology meant to increase its capacity to process transactions.

These miners, who get paid in the currency for contributing computing power to the bitcoin network, initiated what is known as a “fork” on Tuesday, where the underlying blockchain splits into two potential paths, creating a new digital currency.

The blockchain is a shared online ledger of all bitcoin transactions and has spawned a range of financial and business applications.

Bitcoin’s split has created a new competitor to the original digital currency, which remains the oldest and most valuable in circulation.

Yet only a small fraction of bitcoin miners have been contributing their computing power to the new blockchain, and it took nearly six hours for the first batch of Bitcoin Cash coins to be mined this afternoon, according to Blockdozer Explorer, a firm providing data on digital currencies.

“It’s been a slow start for Bitcoin Cash,” said Iqbal Gandham, managing director at trading platform eToro. “The delay … could be a result of a lack of miner support for the new cryptocurrency.”

Bitcoin Cash on Tuesday traded on certain exchanges at a median price of $146.37, according to bitinfocharts.com, while bitcoin was at $2,729 on the BitStamp platform, down 4.6 percent from Monday.

After the split, Bitcoin Cash has all the history from bitcoin’s blockchain, creating the same number of tokens, plus the new currency created. People who held bitcoins before the split now have access to an equal amount of Bitcoin Cash for free, which they will then be able to trade for fiat currencies – legal tender such as euros and dollars – or other digital tokens.

The creation of new tokens may speed up as less computing power will be required to mine new blocks, said Jeff Garzik, co-founder of blockchain startup, in an email.

Ryan Taylor, chief executive of Dash Core, a firm that manages the development of the Dash digital currency, said Bitcoin Cash may yet be short-lived.

“Bitcoin Cash has not solved scaling,” Dash said. “It has merely kicked the can down the road with slightly larger blocks, but still lacks a credible technology to scale to massively larger numbers of users.”