Bitcoin Miner Firm Northern Data Spends $360 Million on GPUs for AI Services

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Northern Data – a German data center and Bitcoin mining operator – has spent another $360 million on GPUs to bolster its cloud computing services.

The move signals further integration of Bitcoin miners into the AI sector where industry firms benefit from pre-existing infrastructure and economies of scale.

Diving Deep Into AI

Taiga Cloud – Northern Data’s AI-focused subsidiary – announced the purchase in a press release on Wednesday.

The investment, worth 330 million euros, netted the company 384 cabinets of HPE Cray XD supercomputers, equipped with roughly 8,200 NVIDIA H100 Tensor Core GPUs in total.

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“Taiga Cloud’s customers will have access to purpose-built HPE technology for generative AI innovations that deliver the scale and performance of a supercomputer required for a growing market of compute-intensive AI workloads.”

The investment follows Northern Data’s separate purchase of 10,000 NVIDIA cloud GPUs in September, using support from Tether – the world’s largest stablecoin issuer. Tether owns a partial stake in Northern Data, and offered the firm a $609 million debt financing facility earlier this month.

The firm added that its AI cloud facilities are “100% carbon neutral,” addressing energy-related concerns that plague AI and data centers and bitcoin miners alike. Earlier this month, Northern Data began construction of a 30MW mining facility in North Dakota.

Where Mining Meets AI

Since ChatGPT and OpenAI kicked off explosive AI growth late last year, demand for NVIDIA’s semiconductor chips has skyrocketed. The company’s stock is up 226% year to date.

Among their many hungry customers are bitcoin mining companies – firms that already boast the data centers, cooling facilities, and access to cheap energy required to run a cloud computing service at scale. All that’s missing are the chips themselves, since the computers used to mine BTC (aka ASICs) aren’t good for much besides that one purpose.

Public mining firm Iris Energy, for example, announced a “revitalization” of its high-performance computing data center strategy in June. HIVE Digital began repurposing its old Ethereum mining rigs after the Merge to serve the same purpose.

Experts have noted that HPC services are far more profitable per unit of energy compared to BTC mining. The latter, however, is more compatible with balancing energy grids and using renewable energy sources.

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