Crypto billionaire’s nonprofit buys $500 million of AI data center chips

by | Oct 30, 2023 | Business

By Max A. Cherney and Anna Tong

(Reuters) – A nonprofit organization funded by cryptocurrency billionaire Jed McCaleb bought roughly $500 million of Nvidia advanced chips and plans to lease computing capacity to companies for artificial intelligence projects.

The AI cloud-computing organization, called Voltage Park, has 24,000 Nvidia H100 chips, Voltage Park CEO Eric Park told Reuters in an interview.

The operation plans to offer long- and short-term, low-cost AI computing to help alleviate the shortage of AI chips.

“It’s our belief that basically the current ecosystem for machine learning is broken,” Park said.

Voltage Park plans to set up clusters of the Nvidia AI chips in Texas, Virginia and Washington. It has some running and plans to fully deploy the 24,000 Nvidia chips by about February, Park said.

After the release of OpenAI’s ChatGPT last year, demand for Nvidia’s advanced AI silicon soared as businesses scrambled for chips to power their AI ambitions.

Intel, Advanced Micro Devices and a host of startups sell competing AI chips that are also in heavy demand.

McCaleb amassed a fortune as founder of three well-known cryptocurrency companies: Mt. Gox, Ripple and Stellar. Ripple developed a blockchain with a cryptocurrency called XRP, and the founders received 20 billion XRP, which at its peak was worth nearly $80 billion.

San Mateo, California-based Voltage Park is a wholly owned subsidiary of McCaleb’s nonprofit Navigation Fund. Any profit Voltage earns will be sent to Navigation. McCaleb does not operate or sit on the board of either the nonprofit or Voltage.

(Reporting by Max A. Cherney and Anna Tong in San Francisco; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)


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