Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Mustek, an assembler and distributor of information technology (IT) products, says it is struggling to keep up with demand for cryptocurrency mining equipment in SA.

The company said on Thursday that it had seen a “phenomenal rise” in graphics processing unit (GPU) sales.

This is due to “intense interest in cryptocurrency mining by the public – supply is unable to meet demand”.

Cryptocurrency mining refers to the process whereby transactions are added to the public ledger, as well as the method by which new bitcoins, ethereum and other digital coins are released onto the market.

Mustek CEO David Kan said the rapid increase in demand had come despite sharp price increases from suppliers, which had to be passed on to consumers. “Two weeks ago, we got an allocation of 500 GPU units [from a supplier]. Within 20 minutes, all 500 were sold. The demand is certainly there,” Kan said.

He estimated that less than 10% of GPU units were being used for gaming, with the remainder being used for cryptocurrency mining.

Kan said that thanks in part to SA’s fibre rollout, IT equipment sales in general were poised to rise again after years of negative growth.

Mustek reported on Thursday that revenue edged up 1% to R2.65bn in the six months ended December.