Iris Energy, a publicly-traded company focused on bitcoin mining, announced on August 29 that it has diversified its focus by acquiring 248 Nvidia H100 graphics processing units (GPUs) for $10 million. While the company remains primarily engaged in bitcoin mining, it sees generative artificial intelligence (AI) as a promising “additional opportunity” for growth.
Generative AI, which gained momentum in the early 2020s and experienced a significant surge by 2023, involves creating new content such as text, images, or video based on training data. Major tech companies like Microsoft, Google, and Baidu have significantly invested in this technology. AI platforms like OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Anthropic’s Claude have also pushed the boundaries of generative AI, which involves training on massive datasets that require computational power beyond what traditional CPUs can provide.
Iris Energy, listed on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol IREN, revealed plans to use its computational resources for both bitcoin mining and generative AI development. Daniel Roberts, the co-founder and co-CEO of Iris Energy, expressed excitement about this expansion, stating, “We believe demand for sustainable computing is unlikely to go away, and feel we are uniquely positioned to capture ongoing growth in the broader industry; whether that be ASICs for bitcoin mining, or GPUs for generative AI and beyond.”
The acquisition comes at a time when Nvidia H100 GPUs are in high demand, reportedly selling like “hotcakes.” Nvidia has also seen a substantial profit margin, around 823%, from these sales. Iris plans to showcase its capabilities in generative AI to potential clients, reaffirming that although bitcoin mining remains its primary business, the company is keen on leveraging emerging opportunities in the AI sector.
Denis Skrinnikoff, the company’s CTO, echoed this sentiment, stating that Iris Energy is “uniquely positioned” to capitalize on the burgeoning generative AI market, given its expertise in operating next-generation data centers.