Nvidia has been accused of under-reporting sales of graphics processors for cryptomining in an effort to distance itself from the volatile market.
An amended complaint [PDF], filed this week in California by aggrieved investors, accuses Nvidia of trying to pass off the sales of as much as $1bn in accelerator chips for cryptocurrency mining as gaming hardware. Nvidia did not respond to a request for comment.
The suit dates back to 2017 when the cryptocurrency market was doing well, and in particular there was soaring demand for the math engines in graphics cards to use in mining new online fun-bucks.
“In early 2017, Nvidia faced an unusual problem: its flagship product was flying off the shelves. Under normal circumstances, such a trend would be cheered,” the suit reads.
“But the enormous sales growth owed not to an increase in demand from gamers (Nvidia’s traditional consumer), but rather to bands of online prospectors who were buying up the processors by the thousands and deploying them in massive datacenters to solve complex mathematical problems in pursuit of digital tokens.”
The suit goes on to explain how Nvidia courted the crypto-currency world by selling dedicated hardware specifically marketed for mining, but still found that many of its gaming cards were being purchased for crafting alt-coins.
Knowing the market for mining hardware could cave at any moment, it is alleged Nvidia management – CEO Jensen Huang, CFO Collette Kress, and SVP Jeff Fisher – decided to conceal much of the cryptomining sales.
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This involved sweeping most of the cryptocurrency hardware sales under the OEM and intellectual property carpet, it is alleged. Nvidia insisted its dedicated mining units…