6 min read

The Web3 and AI Newsletter 24

The Web3 and AI Newsletter 24
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. It has been an extremely dynamic week for the Web3 and AI space with tons of product releases, announcements, and regulatory developments. I am especially happy to publish my 24th Web3 and AI newsletter on May 24th, the day when we Bulgarians celebrate our alphabet, education, and culture! And the day when the crypto world celebrates the ETH ETFs approval 😎

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

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

NEAR Set to Become the Home of AI and Web3

The blockchain network NEAR announced “becoming the home for User-Owned AI” as the next stage in its roadmap. The practical steps NEAR's founders, Illia Polosukhin and Alexander Skidanov, are taking to make that plan a reality consist in launching the research and development lab Near AI, as well as an AI-focused incubator and a funding entity.

Link to the original tweet

In my view, that shift is a totally natural progression for NEAR, and I guess, it has been in the works for quite some time. Polosukhin has a rich background in AI and is a co-author of “Attention is All You Need”, a landmark 2017 research paper establishing the Transformer model architecture that revolutionized Natural Language Processing (NLP) and powered some of the most powerful LLMs like GPTs. Moreover, over the last year he has been gracing every major crypto event whose line-up featured talks on the intersection of blockchain and AI, like ETHDenver for instance. He is one of the most outspoken and respected proponents of open-source and decentralized AI.

What is somewhat surprising here, and quite impressive to be honest, is the scale of NEAR's ambition. The company is aiming at offering solutions at almost every development vector within Web3 + AI, including both data and computation crowdsourcing and monetization, verifiability of AI training and inference, and AI agents. The final goal is for NEAR to become the one-stop shop for crypto x AI tools and infrastructure.

The NEAR Foundation will invest in making NEAR the best ecosystem for the next generation of AI research and applications. This will include core infrastructure investment: enabling data collection and crowdsourcing; curation and rewarding creators; access to compute and novel ways to monetize it; verifiability of training and inference to ensure provenance; agentic infrastructure, and more. We want NEAR to be the place where any AI application and novel consumer use case can leverage the best User-Owned AI infrastructure, accessible by everyone in the Web3 ecosystem.
User-Owned AI is NEAR
NEAR is the network for a world reimagined. Through simple, secure, and scalable technology, millions are empowered to invent and explore new experiences. Business, creativity, and community are being reimagined for a more sustainable and inclusive future

Polosukhin's vision for NEAR AI agents, in particular, is to enable users to easily and seamlessly generate the code for any dApp:

Near co-founder Illia Polosukhin shared the company’s goal of empowering visionaries without technical coding skills with an artificial intelligence (AI) agent that can create decentralized applications (DApps) for them.

Meanwhile, NEAR initiated a series of AI-focused live discussions covering the latest news from the world of AI and featuring prominent figures from the space. The company seems to target to use these sessions to highlight the contrast between closed-source centralized AI companies and the decentralized AI movement within Web3.

In Episode 1, NEAR's Illia and Alex welcomed representatives of Pond, Nevermined, and Hyperbolic.

In Episode 2, they hosted Ringfence, SuperSight, and MIZU.

Casper Labs and IBM Launch Prove AI Governance Tool

Casper Labs, a developer of enterprise blockchain solutions, has revealed Prove AI, an AI governance solution that enhances transparency and auditability of training data. The product is developed in collaboration with IBM, as it directly integrates with IBM’s Watsonx platform.

Prove AI will offer the most advanced solution for maintaining and sharing audit logs of AI data in a secure and tamper-proof manner. Additionally, it introduces AI version control, along with multi-party access controls and advanced auditing functionality and for AI training datasets.
prove ai - Leading AI Governance Solution For Business | Casper Labs
Discover how Casper Labs and IBM have teamed up to develop AI governance solutions, with the use of blockchain technologies. Become a partner today.

Prove AI's goal, as part of the emerging AI governance stack, will be to de-risk AI and solves, at least to some extent, its “black-box” problem.

Valory / Autonolas Unveil Staking Agent Pearl

The decentralized AI agents lab and Olas' mother company, Valory has unveiled Pearl, a user-friendly application for streamlining staking $OLAS.

Olas enables everyone to own a share of AI, and Pearl enables everyone to participate, without the need for special skills, advanced hardware, or previous experience.
Pearl allows you to effortlessly run an agent and start accumulating OLAS through your agent’s contributions.
Link to the original tweet

All users need to do is install Pearl (only on MacOS for now), stake some $OLAS, and launch their own agent. Then, as long as your agent meets its performance targets, you will earn rewards in $OLAS.

Eden Launches Tx Explain, EVM Transactions Analysis Tool

The multichain infrastructure Eden Network has released a beta version of Tx Explain, a tool for analysing transactions on Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM)-type chains using AI. Eden's Chris Piatt considers Tx Explain a stepping stone towards building truly smart agents:

Tx Explain takes a transaction hash and outputs detailed information about the transaction, token transfers, function calls, etc. as well as a human-readable explanation of what the transaction accomplishes.
Tools like Tx Explain help make blockchains safer to use and more transparent for end-users, but also can aid researchers looking to understand what is happening under the hood of complex transactions.
Explain | Eden Network
Tx Explain is an agent-like open source service that takes a transaction and returns a human-readable description of what happened.
Reach out and take part in ETHSofia Conference & Hackathon

Noteworthy Podcasts, Articles, Events

US House Passes Crypto Bill, SEC Approves ETH ETFs

The US House of Representatives passed on Wednesday FIT21, an important crypto bill that, at last, brings some regulatory clarity for the industry.

The law would create a tailored disclosure and registration regime for digital-asset companies, and grant primary responsibility for regulating the industry to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission at the expense of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
House passes historic crypto bill. Here’s why it’s a ‘massive step forward’ for the industry.

The legislation received large bipartisan support, which signalled a potential change in the way US authorities had been treating crypto companies. The bill comes soon after Donald Trump strongly backed the crypto community and even started accepting campaign donations in Bitcoin, and thus directly threatened POTUS Biden with losing the crypto vote.

On the very next day, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced the longed-for approval of ETH ETFs.

With Ethereum ETFs now approved, how long until they go live?
Eight spot Ethereum ETFs were approved earlier today, but it might be a few weeks before they are available for trading.
The SEC approved the 19b-4 forms for Ethereum ETFs, which include offerings from BlackRock, Fidelity and Grayscale. For these products to start trading, however, their S-1 registration statements need to go effective.
When the Bitcoin ETFs were approved, the S-1 forms were ready ahead of the 19b-4 approvals. This resulted in the S-1 forms becoming effective very quickly, with trading beginning the following day.

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.