On August 29, the publicly traded bitcoin mining entity, Iris Energy, revealed its acquisition of 248 Nvidia H100 graphics processing units (GPUs) at a cost of $10 million. While the company emphasized that its primary focus remains on BTC mining, it views generative artificial intelligence (AI) as an enticing “additional opportunity.”

From Bitcoin Mining ASICs to Nvidia GPUs — Iris Energy Expands to Offer AI Services

As generative AI gained momentum in the early 2020s, tech giants such as Microsoft, Google and Baidu ramped up their investments. However, by 2023, the technology saw an even more pronounced surge.

Generative AI involves artificial intelligence (AI) systems that create new content — be it text, images or video — grounded in their training data. Openai’s Chatgpt, Anthropic’s Claude, along with art platforms like Midjourney, pushed the technology further.

These platforms can comprehend and respond to a vast array of text inputs, from simple queries to complex requests. Drawing a parallel to cryptocurrency mining, these AI models encompass billions of parameters, all needing training on expansive datasets.

The enormity of training these models demands computational power that CPUs can’t handle. Therefore, GPUs step in, parallelizing computations to provide the necessary throughput for large language models (LLMs).

On Tuesday, Iris Energy, listed on Nasdaq as IREN, shared that their bitcoin mining efforts will now also channel computational power toward generative AI. Iris shared that it snapped up 248 Nvidia H100 GPUs for $10 million, eyeing a strategic entry into the burgeoning industry.

“Leveraging our next-generation data centers into generative AI is an exciting opportunity, particularly given current industry shortages in rack space and compute,” Daniel Roberts, the co-founder and co-CEO of Iris Energy stated.

Roberts added:

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.

Iris further mentioned its intentions to showcase its novel abilities to potential clients. This announcement comes as Nvidia H100s are reportedly selling like “hotcakes” this month. Reports have also highlighted that Nvidia is reaping an astounding 823% profit from H100 sales. While bitcoin mining continues to be their primary focus, Iris views generative AI as an “additional opportunity.”

“Having spent my career building, designing, and operating Tier 2-4 data center facilities, I believe Iris Energy is uniquely positioned to capitalize on the generative AI opportunity,” the company’s CTO, Denis Skrinnikoff stated.

What do you think about Iris Energy expanding into AI and purchasing 248 Nvidia H100s? Share your thoughts and opinions about this subject in the comments section below.