In 2021, smuggled GPUs are being trafficked to produce cryptocurrency

Graphics cards are so rare that they are the object of smuggling and chases in Hong Kong Bay. A very 21st century news item against the backdrop of a semiconductor shortage.

The shortage of semiconductors causes unexpected edge effects. A report from the Hong Kong channel TVB News dated April 3, 2021 and spotted by Digital Times tells the strange story of smugglers of a new kind: graphic card traffickers.

Hong Kong customs seized a boat full of contraband products, which in addition to transporting traditional exotic foods and other beauty products, was loaded with 300 Nvidia CMP 30HX graphics cards. The interception was made during a water chase at two in the morning which saw the smugglers escape, but the boat was seized.

Cryptocurrency traffic

Considering the model of graphics card, it is however not certain that the traffickers took so many risks to offer superb video game experiences to buyers and potential buyers. The CMP 30HX are indeed GPUs specialized in cryptocurrency mining and do not even have video outputs. Nvidia also claims it on its site, indicating that these components ” mine more efficiently “And allow” a quick return on investment ».

Two cryptocurrencies: Ethereum and Bitcoin. // Source: Pexels / David McBee

The CMP 30HX are however the least powerful graphics cards dedicated to mining at Nvidia with a hash rate (mining power of a machine) of 26 MH / s, or 26 million hashes / second. The manufacturer’s most expensive cards go up to 86 million hashes / second.

A shortage that never ends

Cryptocurrencies have largely contributed to the shortage of components currently plaguing the high-tech industry. The relentless miners joined the confined populations who sought to equip themselves to escape in the video game. The addition of the two categories created such demand, that the industry, also slowed down by the Covid-19, has failed to keep up.

The story would have been more poetic if the operation had targeted the needs of players around the world, but it seems that the cargo was more intended to produce dematerialized wealth. This is evidenced by the RAM sticks also found in the boat.

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