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The Web3 and AI Newsletter 18

The Web3 and AI Newsletter 18
Image generated using OpenAI's DALL-E 3

Hello, everyone, and warm welcome to all newly joined subscribers!

This is the Web3 + AI newsletter, where we explore the intersection of blockchain and artificial intelligence. With interest in Web3 + AI increasing exponentially, VCs' appetite to acquire a large piece of the pie is also growing. That is why, this week I dedicate an entire rubric to the latest funding rounds in Web3 + AI startups.

Thank you for being here! Let's dive in!

What's New in the Web3 + AI Startup World?

Fetch.ai, SingularityNЕТ, Ocean Protocol Form Superintelligence Alliance & Merge Tokens

As Jim Barksdale famously said, there are “only two ways to make money in business: One is to bundle; the other is unbundle”. For several months, we have been witnessing the proliferation of new Web3 + AI ventures, each specializing in one particular service or element of the decentralized AI stack. Now that the space has got extremely competitive, it seems like we are on the verge of a new stage of consolidation and expansion of service offerings.

That is evident by the surprising move by three of the Web3 + AI veteran companies. Fetch.ai, SingularityNET, and Ocean Protocol have announced the establishment of the Superintelligence Alliance, an AI collective that will pursue a decentralized alternative to the Big Tech-controlled AGI projects.

Three Decentralized Platforms to Merge AI Tokens, Create AI Alliance
Fetch.ai, SingularityNET and Ocean Protocol agreed to combine their crypto tokens into one and create an alliance for decentralized AI.

The new entity will combine a blockchain network, computation resources, data trading, AI agents, and AI-to-AI marketplace, all under one roof.

Link to the original post

A while back, I have told you about Ocean Protocol's Trent McConaghy's vision for achieving superintelligence through brain-computer interface technologies:

e/acc, d/acc, bci/acc
A sequel to the “Techno-Optimism and e/acc vs. d/acc” piece that adds nuances and introduces another fork of the e/acc camp of thought.

However, the more fascinating part of the announcement concerns the token merger of the three companies. Accordingly, the $FET token will be renamed to $ASI, whereas SingularityNET's $AGIX and Ocean's $OCEAN will merge into $ASI. The new $ASI token will start selling at $2.82 and will have a total supply of 2.63 billion tokens. That will bring its market capitalization to $7.5B.

It is obvious that the merged entity will be much more visible, flexible in its operations, and better funded than its separate parts. In fact, given that VCs are mainly interested in startups, and all three companies have existed for years, that strategic move may have been their only way to reach some fresh liquidity.

As positive development as this was, its immediate aftermath was marked by community members' palpable concerns about their funds. Token migration events are always accompanied by risks and hurdles, and here the situation will be even direr, because it involves three different tokens. Still, the merger is yet to be approved by governance votes before entering into force.

Tether Ventures Into AI

The USDt stablecoin operator and one of the largest crypto companies, Tether is expanding its AI focus, dedicating efforts and resources to advance AI accessibility and efficiency. Worried by the AI development's monopolization by Big Tech, the company said its Tether Data division “is stepping forward to champion transparency and privacy in AI model development.” Moreover, Tether calls top AI talent to join the forefront of innovation.

The expansion of Tether data’s AI focus will focus on several key areas. Firstly, Tether data plans to pioneer the development of open-source, multimodal AI models to set new industry standards, driving innovation and accessibility within AI technology. It will also lead collaborations to integrate AI solutions seamlessly into market-driven products, leveraging the technology to address real-world challenges. Lastly, actively engaging with the broader ecosystem through community contributions, Tether data seeks to advance the field of open AI while showcasing its innovative projects.
Tether Expands AI Focus, Welcomes Top Talent to Fuel Innovation

ICP Demos AI Running as Smart Contract

The Internet Computer's CEO Dominic Williams showcased a neural network for image classification running as a smart contract. The AI model runs on DFINITY's ICP Testnet, but can soon be deployed on the public mainnet. In a long-form X publication, Williams listed all optimizations in the team's pipeline aimed to fulfil their vision:

Secure and unstoppable AI and third generation blockchain will be two sides of the same coin. Security and AI will be indivisible. AI models will be traded as NFTs. Thanks to Internet Computer's chain key (trustless multi-chain) capabilities, all blockchains will be able to leverage AI smart contracts.
Internet Computer (ICP) Demonstrates First Blockchain AI Smart Contract
Internet Computer has broken record with the world’s first blockchain-based AI represented as a smart contract

Ankr Launches AI-Centric Blockchain Neura

Blockchain infrastructure provider Ankr has introduced Neura, a new EVM-compatible blockchain leveraging the Cosmos SDK and built specifically for AI. Striving to alleviate the most pressing challenges existing in the Web3 + AI space, Neura unites the best of the two worlds. It will feature on-demand decentralized GPUs and storage, advanced cryptographic primitives and tokenimics, as well as crowdsourced funding.

Neura will offer foundational infrastructure for AI startups, offering access to decentralized GPU resources, crypto-based crowdfunding, and on-chain AI operations.
Introducing Neura: A New Era of AI x Blockchain Innovation
Learn more about the blockchain built for AI.

Neura will be powered by the ANKR token, although “AI projects can launch their own cryptocurrencies on the network to enable collective project ownership, AI model usage payments, and other functionality”.

AIOZ Network & Alibaba Cloud to Form DePIN Alliance in Asia

The Singapore-based DePIN AIOZ Network has joined forces with Alibaba Cloud to enhance and improve Web3 capabilities and availability across Asia. They also plan on launching a DePIN Alliance in South-East Asia to “bolster AI, storage, and streaming infrastructure services”.

AIOZ Network Partners With Alibaba Cloud to Boost AI, Storage and Streaming Services
Alibaba Cloud teamed up with NEAR to enhance web3 adoption in Asia last year.

Unlike other DePIN projects that specialize in providing one specific service, AIOZ Network's infrastructure offers various decentralized functionalities like storage, content delivery, and computing. Striving to become the one-stop shop unlocking the full potential of AI in the Web3 space, AIOZ Network has recently introduced its optimized file storage system W3IPFS:

While the traditional IPFS (Inter-Planetary File System) acts as a cold storage solution, W3IPFS with its "built-in Content Delivery Network (CDN)", acts as a “2-in-1 hybrid infra-as-a-service” solution that offers a more stable data retrieval performance. Users can utilize this built-in CDN to amplify the speed and efficiency of their application’s content delivery, while also reducing latency drastically.
AIOZ W3IPFS: The Ultimate Web3 IPFS Storage Solution
The AIOZ Web3 Interplanetary File System (W3IPFS) is a revolutionary “decentralized file storage solution” powered by the 74,000+ global edge nodes that currently make up the AIOZ DePIN (Decentralized Physical Infrastructure Network).These edge nodes provide the necessary computing resources that enable AIOZ W3IPFS to offer secure, high-speed, and scalable file storage to end-users and development teams.With the introduction of W3IPFS, everyday users from around the world finally have the op
Image generated using OpenAI's DALL-E 3

A Weekly Dose of Investment News

0G Labs Closes a $35M Pre-Seed to Build Modular AI Chain

0G Labs, or ZeroGravity, has successfully closed an impressively large pre-seed round amounting to $35M. The company will use the funding to build a modular AI blockchain and to remedy some widespread problems in the Web3 + AI space like speed and cost efficiency. Hack VC, Alliance, Animoca Brands, Delphi Digital, and more led the round.

The modular design in blockchains allows for one single operation to be performed exclusively, which makes such chains easily customizable and scalable. They are then able to rent out that particular operation as a service to other chains. On the contrary, monolithic blockchains like Ethereum incorporate an execution, a consensus, and a data availability layer, and optimizing one without affecting the others is impossible. For instance, Ritual is building a modular AI execution layer.

0G Labs launches with whopping $35M pre-seed to build a modular AI blockchain | TechCrunch
As the crypto space heats back up, so has funding for new startups. 0G Labs, a web3 infrastructure firm,” has raised $35 million in a pre-seed round, the

peaq Raises $15M in a Pre-Launch Funding

The DePIN-dedicated Layer-1 blockchain peaq raised $15 million in a pre-launch round to expand its ecosystem of physical infrastructure projects and develop modular DePIN functions and SDK.

The funding was led by Generative Ventures and Borderless Capital, and comes right before peaq's mainnet launch and token public offering, scheduled to take place in the coming weeks.

DePIN Layer 1 peaq raises $15 million in pre-launch funding
The funding will be used to expand the peaq DePIN ecosystem ahead of a public offering and mainnet launch.

MyShell Attracts $11M to Develop Open-Source Foundation Model

The decentralized AI consumer layer MyShell closed a pre-Series A funding round of $11M. Numerous high-profile investors took part in the round, including VCs Dragonfly, Robot Ventures, Delphi Ventures, Bankless Ventures, and angels NEAR's Illia Polosukhin, ex-Coinbase's Balaji Srinivasan, and ex-Paradigm's Casey K. Caruso.

"MyShell is poised to revolutionize the AI creator ecosystem,” MyShell CEO Ethan Sun said. “With this new funding, we're not just scaling our operations, we're catalyzing a movement towards a more open, collaborative, and democratic AI landscape."
Link to the original tweet

The MyShell platform, currently empowering users to build, share, and own AI agents, will eventually feature an AI assets trading platform. A couple of weeks ago, I told you about MyShell's partnership with Ritual and Story Protocol, involving registering AI models and their outputs as IP, tracking and monetizing them.

The team also recently launched a subnet on Bittensor, one of the most prominent and influential Web3 + AI protocols, thus reaffirming their complete commitment to open-source and decentralized AI.

Link to the original tweet

FLock.io to Use $6M Funding to Democratize AI Training

The decentralized AI training and fine-tuning platform FLock.io has announced a $6M seed round co-led by Lightspeed Faction and Tagus Capital. The company will put the new funding into upgrading its testnet and rolling out its Federated Learning-powered Training Platform.

FLock plans to peddle forwards with its mission to democratise the creation, governance and ownership of AI agents. It aims to take power away from the world’s largest corporations and distribute decision-making and rewards among the community.
FLock.io Announces $6M Seed Round to Democratize AI Training
FLock.io, a decentralised AI training and finetuning platform, has raised USD $6 million to roll out its upgraded testnet and federated…

ceτi AI Allocates $500K to Attract Web3 + AI Partners

The fairly newly established ceτi AI has announced a Partnership Innovation Fund of $500K aimed at accelerating innovation and partnerships within the decentralized AI space. The Fund's mission is to forge strategic alliances at the intersection of blockchain and AI, and encourage integrations of ceτi AI's technology and infrastructure.

ceτi AI Announces Partnership Innovation Fund to Accelerate Innovation in Decentralized AI - Decrypt
Vancouver, Canada, March 27th, 2024, Chainwire In a significant move to fuel the growth of decentralized artificial intelligence, ceτi AI is proud to announce the establishment of the ceτi AI Partnership Innovation Fund with an initial allocation of $500k USD. This strategic fund is designed to catalyze innovation by forging partnerships with emerging projects at […]

Disclaimer: None of this should or could be considered financial advice. You should not take my words for granted, rather, do your own research (DYOR) and share your thoughts to create a fruitful discussion.