Jed McCaleb-backed nonprofit will provide easier access to AI computing capacity

Ripple co-founder Jed McCaleb’s nonprofit Navigation Fund is helping to tackle the AI chip shortage by offering leasable capacity large machine learning models. A new cloud was officially launched on Oct. 29 that will be accessible on an hourly, monthly or long-term basis.

An organization called Voltage Park “currently offer[s] bare-metal access for large-scale users that need peak performance” and expects to expand its service by early 2024, according to a statement on its website. It has around 24,000 NVIDIA H100 graphics processing units (GPUs) grouped into interconnected clusters. Voltage Park is a subsidiary of Navigation Fund.

The hardware is worth $500 million. Clusters will be set up in Texas, Virginia and Washington, Voltage Park CEO Eric Park told Reuters. Park joined the organization in July.

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Voltage Park is currently auctioning off contracts with lengths of one to three months on 1,560 GPUs. It said in its announcement:

“The market for cutting-edge ML compute is broken. Startups, researchers and even big AI labs are scrambling to buy or rent access to the latest chips for ML training. […] We’re on a mission to make machine learning infrastructure accessible to all.”

The Navigation Fund was founded in 2023 with plans to provide a small number of grants this year and expand its programs in early 2024. It plans to advance a number of causes in addition to “safe AI.”

Billionaire McCaleb created Mt. Gox to trade Magic: The Gathering cards, then repurposed it as a Bitcoin (BTC) exchange and sold it in 2011, three years before its collapse. He went on to become a co-founder of Ripple Labs, and after leaving Ripple on bad terms with the rest of the management, he co-founded the Stellar blockchain. He also created a space station startup in 2022 that has partnered with Elon Musk’s SpaceX.

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