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Accusations of NVIDIA Monopolizing the Ethereum Blockchain

September 30, 2019
Ross Peili


Accusations of NVIDIA Monopolizing the Ethereum Blockchain

A rapidly-spreading theory that says NVIDIA is plotting to monopolize the Ethereum network is doing the rounds of web3 as well as at traditional fintech media outlets, and it doesn’t seem to be as far-fetched as it sounds.

The various accusations which sparked via Twitter allege that NVIDIA has secretly influenced the development of ProgPoW (Programmatic Proof-of-Work). This is essentially a GPU-tuned extension of Ethash that enables mining using GPUs only instead of application-specific integrated circuits (ASIC) such as AntMiner hardware.

Specifically, some accusers are claiming that ProPow was designed to work only with NVIDIA GPUs – or at least to work more efficiently and profitably. As well, there is the implication that after a certain chronological point, NVIDIA could basically take over the Ethereum network if they wanted to.

Calvin Ayre’s majesty

Kristy-Leigh Minehan, the architect of ProPow denied the accusations, saying that they are ‘ludicrous conspiracy theory’. Interestingly enough, she left her position at Core Scientific, who commented otherwise. 

According to accuser’s claims Core Scientific was already linked with NVIDIA, as a part of a series of strategic mergers and acquisitions pulled by Calvin Ayre.

For those of you that are not gamers, Ayre is a Canadian entrepreneur and investor who made his fortune by investing in the video game industry during the ’00s, but his love for ‘games’ does not end there. 

In a machine-gun style wrap-up: Ayre is the owner of CoinGeek, and the Economic Envoy for Antigue and Barbuda to advise on developments in cryptocurrency. He is the largest Bitcoin Cash miner and supporter, and some say that the whole concept of BCH, the ridiculous $30m act of Craig Wright that he’s Satoshi Nakamoto, and pretty much everything involved with the project was orchestrated by Ayre himself.

Ayre was also supporting the even more ridiculous Bitcoin SV, and he’s generally involved in the mining business, directly or indirectly, and in many different ways. He was previously charged with illegal gambling and money laundering activities. 

Accusations vs Defendants

NVIDIA had nothing to comment when asked about the accusations, while CoinGeek denied the accusations, same as Minehan.

According to Ethereum Classic CED, Bob Summerwill, Minehan was directly involved with CoinGeek and BSV, while the President of gpuSTASH, Alexander Levin, called Minehan an ‘NVIDIA patsy’.  

It’s not a bad thing that NVIDIA would make some extra cash from GPU sales, but is it really ok if it’s done at the expense of ASIC technology and competitor GPU companies such as AMD?

Levin further says that NVIDIA and Core Scientific were working together under an incubator that involves the sharing of ProgPoW-ready mining technology, which simply ads up to the fact that there’s something smelly here that no amount of ‘air-spray’ can cover it up.

It was confirmed that both the CEO of Core Scientific, Kevin Turner, and Calvin Ayre as well as Craig Wright, all hold positions at Squire mining, a former precious metals mining company that shifted into a cryptocurrency mining firm, after a reverse-merger into Ayre’s CoinGeek earlier this year. 

This summer, Squire mining had an agreement with Core Scientific to host 41,166 Bitcoin SV compatible ASIC devices, again, increasing the heat around Clavin Ayre, who some say is pulling the strings of all this, several layers behind CoinGeek. 

Finally, Ethereum inventor Vitalik Buterin says that “I think the main harm of ProgPoW is that it just wastes people’s mental energy on something that ultimately is not a big deal because we are switching to Proof of Stake,” he told Decrypt.

Indeed, Proof-of-Stake is a totally different consensus mechanism which doesn’t involve miners or NVIDIA GPUs, but that doesn’t deny the fact that the whole process behind ProgPow was influenced by a lot of factors outside the Ethereum network.