One share that outperformed Bitcoin over 10 years

Over the past decade, the share price of graphics and artificial intelligence (AI) hardware manufacturer Nvidia has increased more than Bitcoin’s price.

Years-long crypto enthusiasts often make a fuss over the amount of money they made from a Bitcoin investment — and with good reason.

From its low-key launch fifteen years ago, Bitcoin’s value went from around $0.0009 in 2009 to $451.90 on 10 May 2014, a whopping 50,211,011% increase.

Over the past ten years, the value increase has also been impressive, with a 13,354% gain to $60,797 by 10 May 2024.

However, one major tech company has seen its share price increase more over the past decade.

Between May 2014 and May 2024, Nvidia’s share price on the Nasdaq jumped from $4.51 to $898.78, an increase of 19,829%.

Local investors benefitted even more. In May 2014, the rand traded at R10.35 to the dollar. Fast-forward ten years, and the rand is sitting at R18.60.

That means a R1,000 investment in Nvidia in 2014 would be worth R358,085 today – a whopping 35,708% return.

Nvidia’s market value first breached $1 trillion in May 2023, which saw it joining the trillion-dollar alongside Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and Meta Platforms.

It is the most valuable chipmaker in the world, outperforming rivals like Intel, AMD, Samsung, and Qualcomm.

Most of Nvidia’s share price growth has occurred over the last two years. Its explosive performance is attributable to growing investor interest in companies best positioned to capitalise on the demand for generative AI products. This is an area in which Nvidia is an industry leader.

The graph below from TradingView shows how Nvidia’s share price changed between May 2014 and May 2024.

Credit: TradingView

Nvidia’s humble beginnings and strong growth

In its early days, Nvidia was best known for making cutting-edge graphics cards primarily used for video gaming.

It was founded in 1993 by Taiwanese-American electrical engineer Jen-Hsun (Jensen) Huang, who has remained the company’s CEO and president since then.

Initially, Nvidia’s main focus was designing graphics processing units (GPUs) for accelerated computing applications. At the time, 3D gaming on PCs was gaining momentum.

In addition, other applications benefitting from GPU power, like rendering and video editing, became more commonplace outside of centralised editing rooms with enterprise-level systems.

In its early years, Nvidia had to contend with 3Dfx, ATi (now AMD), Matrox, Trident, and Rendition in graphics processing.

It launched several graphics accelerators, starting with the Nvidia NV1 chip in 1995.

However, its real breakthrough came with the 1999 rollout of the GeForce 256, which could arguably be called the first real GPU.

Key features included a T&L (hardware transform and lighting) engine, acceleration for MPEG-2 video, and full compliance with Microsoft’s Direct3D 7.0.

The subsequent releases of the GeForce 2 and GeForce 3 cards led to the demise of main rival 3Dfx, which was eventually acquired by Nvidia.

A large part of its continued dominance over ATi/AMD was a heavy focus on deep compatibility at the software level, with driver improvements giving the company an edge in PCs.

These days, Nvidia’s biggest growth is in AI computing, for which it provides powerful accelerators like the A30X, A100X, and AX800.

These chips drive the brains behind well-known AI applications like OpenAI’s ChatGPT and have been used by virtually every major tech company.

Nvidia’s AI capabilities also feature in its RTX graphics cards, with AI upscaling that intelligently improves picture quality from lower native resolutions.

Nvidia also has a large customer base among major vehicle manufacturers, many of whom use its chips to power increasingly demanding electronic infotainment and control systems.

Nvidia has also benefitted from the hype around cryptocurrencies, with its cards proving popular among crypto miners.

The processing power of Nvidia’s high-end GPUs makes them ideal for validating transactions on the blockchain, which is required to earn crypto like Bitcoin.

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One share that outperformed Bitcoin over 10 years