After a resurgence in cryptocurrency mining that accompanied the rocketing price of coins like Bitcoin and Ethereum, graphics cards are once again freely available to gamers who are celebrating the recent digital currency crash.
From across the US all the way to Russia, equipment usually associated with gaming - Graphics Processing Units - became incredibly scarce as cryptocurrency miners, especially those focusing on Ethereum and its relative ease of mining, bought up the lot.
Manufacturers, such as AMD and Nvidia noted that they had felt a spike in interest in their products, matching alongside the rise in interest of cryptocurrencies, stating there had been a solid demand for its graphics cards.
Primarily it was put down to the rise of Ethereum which closed in on $400 a coin. Recently that caused the flurry of casual miners to set up their own rigs with these high-end graphics processors. The difficulty of Ethereum's mining is still far below that of Bitcoin, and to the casual miner, there is still a margin of profitability, especially with the recent rise in the price of the coin.
GPUs flooding the second-hand market
However, there has been a sharp turn in fortunes for miners as the cooling of growth in the cryptocurrency sphere, as well as a recent flash crash of Ethereum, has shaken confidence in the digital currency. The final straw seemed to be the weekend’s massive dip that has seen Ethereum lose more than half its value.
Gamers are now rejoicing, however, as those bullish miners seem to have now thrown in the towel and are putting their equipment onto the second-hand market sites like eBay and Gumtree.
Searching for terms like "Ethereum mining rig" on second-hand market sites in the US delivers a huge return of results, far more than there were prior to early June when the price up-run began for Ethereum.
GPU price elevation
The buy up of so many GPUs had a major effect on the supply and demand of these products which in turn shot up the price to an infeasible level. Gamers looking to purchase new cards either struggled to find them as shops were sold out or their price was exponentially higher than their value.
Now, it is believed that with the second-hand market flooding with practically new GPUs, the price of new cards will come down to its normal range. Market saturation of these gaming cards could actually see the price dip lower than expected which would be praised by gamers who still shell out huge amounts of money for cards at a normal rate.
Not the end of the road for miners
The war between the miners and the gamers will not end here though. This battle may be won for gamers who can cash in on cheaper, practically new, second-hand GPUs, but there is plenty more scope for future mining.
The next big coin to follow in the path of Ethereum and Bitcoin will no doubt attract miners who want to get in on the ground floor of its rise. When there is another chance for causal profitable mining, the GPUs will come into high demand again.
Additionally, the volatile price swings of things like Ethereum and other altcoins could see them back up to a profitable margin within weeks, rather than years, and therefore attract a whole new slew of miners to buy up the GPUs.