The SEC fined Nvidia $5.5M for not disclosing the impact of crypto mining on earnings
facepalm: The SEC fined Nvidia $5.5 million after determining it failed to report critical sales data on its 2017-2018 earnings reports. The slapping punishment was accompanied by an official statement that Nvidia did not disclose crypto mining as a significant source of its revenue growth in the period under review, thereby depriving potential investors of important information.
May 6 Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) press release quoted Nvidia for “Inadequate disclosure of the impact of cryptomining.” SEC Claims Nvidia Didn’t Report Increasing Cryptocurrency Sales As Required Form 10-Qinstead attributing the increase to gaming-related growth.
Missing information about sales and fluctuations left investors with an incomplete picture of the company’s performance, which is key to analyzing business risks and investment potential. Nvidia did not confirm or deny the allegations of improper disclosure and agreed to a cease and desist order accompanied by a $5.5 million fine.
Brent Wilner, a member of the SEC’s crypto assets and cybersecurity division, led the investigation into the company’s documentation and history. The news is on the heels of the SEC doubling the size of the enforcement unit that deals with crypto assets, exchanges, crypto lending, decentralized finance (DeFi) platforms, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and stablecoins. Wilner found that Nvidia violated section 17(a)(2) and (3) Securities Act of 1933 and disclosure provisions Stock Exchange Act of 1934.
The huge rise in gaming revenue in just one fiscal quarter was an obvious wake-up call for investigators. Nvidia filings for 2018 confirm the regulator’s decision. That year, the company reported $9.714 billion in revenue, with roughly half of that coming from games. What does it all mean in plain English? Nvidia started making money during the 2017/2018 mining boom and they didn’t say “how” they did it.
While the investigation appears to be a win-win for consumers and investors who expect transparency from the companies they back, the multi-million dollar fine is unlikely to hinder Nvidia’s current plans or operations as a whole. Earlier this year, Nvidia released its fourth quarter and fiscal year 2022 financial results. The green giant posted quarterly revenue of $7.64 billion (up 53%) and a record revenue of $26.92 billion (up 61%). Based on those numbers, the company could gobble up a barely visible $5.5 million settlement payment without batting an eyelid.