Miners are dumping GPUs via livestreamed auctions

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The crypto market is now in bear market territory, which means mining returns aren’t anywhere near as good as they were when everything was on the up and up during 2021. As profitability drops, miners are increasingly dumping their hardware onto the second hand market. If there are further losses, its possible we’ll see some truly epic GPU dumps.

It’s particularly noticeable in China, where mining was concentrated for years due to cheap electricity. Sellers are flocking to Xianyu (opens in new tab)—which is a bit like a Chinese eBay— and flogging off piles of unwanted RTX 30 graphics cards.

Twitter user I_Leak_VN (opens in new tab) posted listings for RTX 3080 graphics cards that are being sold for as little as 3,500 Yuan, or around US$523. To put that into perspective, the RRP of an RTX 3080 in the USA is $699, so that’s some discount. Is that just the start though? if prices remain in a trough, those kinds of prices are surely likely to fall further.

But that’s not all. Some miners have been holding live stream auctions in order to dump large numbers of cards. According to this post on Baidu (opens in new tab) (via Tom’s Hardware (opens in new tab)), RTX 3060 Ti’s were auctioned off in the $300 to $350 range. Admittedly, some of them look like they spent their lives locked in rooms with chain smoking long hair cats, but $300 is still a big drop compared to how they were priced during the highs of the crypto boom and the correlated GPU shortage.

Even here in Australia, I have seen dozens of GPUs listed for sale in my local tech forums. One seller sold 19 RX 6700 XT’s for AU$440 (US$303) each.

Is this the start of an even larger GPU purge? Though Ethereum’s move to Proof-of-Stake has been delayed several times, there will still be miners willing to keep rigs running in the hope of an uptick in the price of eth in the months ahead. But as the merge draws closer and GPU mining gets phased out, we can expect to see even more cards flood the second-hand markets. It doesn’t look like there’s a profitable PoW coin to migrate to right now.

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There’s also the looming launch of next generation GPUs which will depress the price of RTX 30 cards even further.

It’s risky to buy a card that’s been thrashed 24/7 for months, if not years, but if second hand prices continue to fall, a cheap card may be worth a gamble in the months ahead.