Cryptocurrency miners are buying lots of mid- to high-end GPUs to keep their operations profitable in a very competitive market. Only half a year ago, the Nvidia Geforce GTX 1070 was available for about €410. Now, most GTX 1070 models are sold close to €600. The price for the average GPU was already above average in summer, but with the sudden spike in Bitcoin value - and public interest - before Christmas, we are in the middle of a second GPU price surge.
The price surge is fueled by an increasing demand for alternative cryptocurrencies, like Ethereum and Monero. It's a problem that's affecting pricing worldwide and it seems like card vendors can't keep up with the demand. Countries that are attractive to cryptocurrencies miners (cheap power) might see an even bigger increase in GPU retail prices.
What could change the current situation? 1.) Graphics card manufacturers could try to keep up with the demand and develop more specialized mining GPUs. 2.) A sudden and continuing devaluation of cryptocurrencies could flood the second hand market with cheap, used GPUs from unprofitable mining rigs. 3.) Stricter regulations and the loss of confidence due to high price swings could have the same effect. In either case, we could finally put those GPUs to use again: Play PC games at 4K resolution, train neural networks and crack our neighbor's WiFi password.