Cryptominers Are Driving Up Prices of Graphics Cards

And people aren't exactly happy

Credit: ZSkiraly/Wikipedia

As the popularity of mining cryptocurrency gains speed, it's affecting the price and availability of graphics cards from both AMD and Nvidia, CNBC reports.

As the outlet says, miners are currently using graphics cards to mine "new coins, which can then be sold or held for future appreciation." This method is now one of the more popular methods of cryptomining. 

Due to this popularity, ethereum cryptocurrency's price raised more than 400 percent in the second quarter of 2017 – which, CNBC says, resulted in graphics card shortages last summer. What's more, during the last two months of 2017 the currency doubled in value, resulting in a total 8,800 percent rise in price over the last year. 

"With availability consumed by the cryptocurrency mining market, there is little chance for any PC gamer to find a graphics card in stock, let along close to the expected price point," Shrout Research's Ryan Shrout told CNBC. "Because of that, many enthusiasts and DIY builders are putting off system builds and upgrades completely, setting up an unfortunate situation for all other component vendors from processors to motherboards to storage."

The issue with all this, according to the outlet, is the fickle nature of the crypotmining scene; "[B]uyers tend to flee as soon as profitability wanes as they do not have any brand loyalty and only care about mining return on investment," CNBC says.

But as these companies drive up prices of these cards to meet demand, some speculate this will alienate the gamer market that'd otherwise stay faithful to a company. CNBC points out disgruntled customers may look to the more powerful consoles coming to market – the Xbox One X and PlayStation 4 Pro – as viable alternatives to investing in a PC market quickly outpricing them. 

"The gaming market remains a priority for AMD and gamers are a primary focus across our GPUs, CPUs and semi-custom game console products," a representative from AMD told the outlet.

That's not to say consumers feel the same way. Many have taken to Reddit threads to both voice frustrations and wonder when prices may go to normal. 

And that's the root of the issue here: the price. As of right now, it's unclear whether or not once cryptominers have had their fill if these companies will bring their products down to a price consumers are comfortable with.