EthCC: Is Crypto Back with AI Boost?

EthCC: Is Crypto Back with AI Boost?

The Rising Wave of Optimism in the Blockchain Industry

Paris, FRANCE — With more than double the attendees compared to last year’s event, over 250 side events and pretty much every event and side event oversubscribed, the mood at last week’s EthCC was elated, leaving attendees at the Ethereum-focused conference to wonder whether the worst of the bear market is in the past.

The recent EthCC conference in Paris marked a turning point for the blockchain industry, with a surge in attendance and an overwhelming sense of optimism among participants. The Ethereum-focused event was not only a platform for enthusiasts to come together but also an opportunity to discuss the future of blockchain technology. Against the backdrop of sunny Paris and the positive momentum generated by Ripple’s legal victory against the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the atmosphere was electric, sparking hopes for a market recovery.

This growing optimism is not unfounded. The past few weeks have witnessed influential asset managers expressing interest in launching bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs), indicating a growing acceptance of digital assets. Although these developments may not directly relate to the Ethereum blockchain, they are crucial in shaping the broader digital asset sector. The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) was another hot topic at the conference, generating multiple discussions and side events exploring the intersection of AI and blockchain technology.

AI in Web 3 Finance

One exciting area of focus within blockchain technology is the integration of AI in the realm of Web 3 finance. Industry experts see enormous potential in leveraging AI tools to enhance productivity and boost the value of funds managed by crypto firms in financial markets. Ken Timsit from Cronos Labs, the Layer 1 blockchain of exchange, believes that AI can revolutionize the crypto financial market by enabling advanced analytics for traders and institutions. Although high-frequency trading houses and market makers have already harnessed AI for their operations, the widespread adoption of AI in the crypto space remains relatively untapped.

A shining example of AI’s potential is Upshot, a company that utilizes AI algorithms to price non-fungible tokens (NFTs). They have been honing their AI capabilities for three years and firmly believe that NFTs provide the infrastructure to bring trillions of dollars worth of assets into Web 3. These assets span various sectors, including art, luxury goods, insurance, and even real estate. However, managing non-fungible assets effectively requires significant human intervention. By employing AI, the industry can solve complex problems such as pricing mechanisms and market clearing.

Cryptography for Better AI

Zero-knowledge proofs (ZK) have emerged as a buzzword in the crypto development space. ZK is a cryptographic technique that verifies the validity of a statement without revealing any additional information about the statement itself. Interestingly, ZK can be applied to machine learning, creating what is known as ZKML. This fusion of blockchain and AI has the potential to establish a decentralized trust system for AI applications.

Eli Ben-Sasson, Co-Founder and President of StarkWare, a prominent figure in ZK development, asserts that blockchains excel in social coordination while ZKs reinforce privacy. Although privacy is not a core requirement for machine learning, the blockchain’s ability to track and manage AI training data presents a unique opportunity for collaboration between the two technologies. However, the field faces challenges in terms of computing power, performance, and usability of ZK proofs. Innovators like Manta Network and Fabric Cryptography are actively working on tackling these limitations.

Beyond ZK, blockchain technology offers the capacity to pool computational power, enabling the training and execution of machine learning models. This collaborative approach could unlock new possibilities and accelerate advancements in the field. As discussions unfolded in the picturesque city of Paris, ideas regarding the use cases of blockchain technology in conjunction with AI started to take shape.

The EthCC conference marked a pivotal moment for the blockchain industry, ushering in a wave of optimism and excitement. The event showcased the industry’s collective belief in the potential of blockchain technology, AI, and their convergence. From enhancing productivity in crypto financial markets to establishing decentralized trust systems and coordinating computational power, blockchain and AI are poised to shape the future of multiple industries.

Edited by Bradley Keoun and Parikshit Mishra.

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