Nvidia's crypto problem may be bigger than it admits
Nvidia's crypto problem is bigger than it admits, an RBC analyst says after crunching the numbers.
"We think NVDA generated $1.95 billion in total revenue related to crypto/
blockchain," RBC analyst Mitch Steves said in a note out Wednesday. "This compares to company's statement that it generated around $602 million over the same time period."
By his calculation, the total crypto revenue from April 2017 to July 2018 should be around $2.75 billion, based on the hash rate of
ethereum and other cryptocurrencies that require graphics processing units. Steves estimates Nvidia captured around 75% of the total crypto market during that period and AMD captured the rest. There is no way to actually confirm the numbers, according to Steves.
Steves said that AMD's recent earnings release added another piece of evidence that Nvidia's exposure to crypto should be higher than it revealed.
On Tuesday, AMD said it expects its first-quarter revenue to be approximately $1.25 billion — down 24% year-over-year — due to "excess channel inventory, the absence of blockchain-related GPU revenue and lower memory sales."
AMD's guidance implied it had crypto exposure of $234 million in the first quarter of 2018, which roughly matches the 25% of the total crypto revenue, Steves noted.
Nvidia has long warned about the potential for crypto headwinds following the boom and bust in digital currencies.
In August, CEO Jensen Huang said he was expecting "essentially no
cryptocurrency" business moving forward. And then in November, in the company's third-quarter earnings release, he noted Nvidia's "near-term results reflect excess channel inventory post the crypto-currency boom, which will be corrected."
"While Nvidia and AMD have suggested that the crypto currency overhang will be a one quarter issue, we think it is more likely a two quarter issue given new market dynamics," Steves said in November.
Based on his calculation of Nvidia's historical crypto revenue, Steves lowered his price target for Nvidia from $200 to $180 and noted that the company's revenue will bottom in the second quarter.
Nvidia was up 8% so far this year.