Tech Snippets Today – aelf Portkey – Steven Dung – CTO, with Joseph Raczynski

Wonderful conversation today with Steven Dung, CTO, of Portkey, part of the aelf ecosystem. We discussed the current state of blockchain, wallets and the evolution of people from Web2 to Web3.

Mainnet has recently welcomed the deployment of the first CA (contract account) contract by Portkey, the first CA wallet project from aelf ecosystem. Approved by all BPs, the Portkey.Contracts.CA contract is up and running, and will soon be connected to the Portkey project whose goal is to become the entry point for Web2 users and projects to migrate into Web3.

aelf’s ecosystem has been steadily expanding since the end of 2021 with the maturation of its infrastructure. Aiming to support a vibrant Web3 economy, aelf particularly made efforts to achieve one technical breakthrough: account abstraction which is deemed as the technology to revolutionize the Web3 wallet and drive mass migration from Web 2 to Web3.

Dubai World Government Summit – Future Technology and its Impact on Regulation

Dubai, UAE – It was a pleasure and an honor to have been invited back to Dubai, and speak in front of their Excellencies and part of the Royal Family. I presented on several technologies that governments around the world will have to think about over the course of the next several years. These will impact nearly everyone around the world.

Tech Snippets Today – Metaverse Standards Forum – Neil Trevett – Chair, with Joseph Raczynski

Lovely conversation today with Neil Trevett, Chair of the Metaverse Standards Forum! We get to hear about what led him to his position and the important need that the Forum is working on right now, as the Metaverse takes off. I have seen this firsthand when meeting with companies and firms of all sizes. They are looking for a guiding light on all things standards and interoperability, as well as finding a common ground with this soon to be mainstay of the future of the internet.

Interoperability is the bedrock of the metaverse, to enable multiple disruptive technologies to work together, to build bridges between applications to scale beyond a series of disconnected silos, and to evolve a platform that is open and inclusive for all.

Open to any organization, the Metaverse Standards Forum provides a venue for cooperation between standards organizations and companies to foster the development of interoperability standards for an open and inclusive metaverse, and accelerate their development and deployment through pragmatic, action-based projects.

Forum Establishes Pipeline of Exploratory and Domain Working Groups – The Forum has initiated a pipeline of member-driven Exploratory and Working Groups that are meeting regularly to create Charters and execute the projects they define. The Working Groups currently include ‘3D Asset Interoperability using USD and glTF’, ‘Digital Asset Management’, ‘Metaverse Standards Register’ and ‘Real/Virtual World Integration.’ The exploratory groups currently include ‘3D Web Interoperability‘, ‘Digital Fashion Wearables for Avatars, Interoperable Characters/Avatars’, ‘Network Requirements and Capabilities’, ‘Privacy, Cybersecurity & Identity’ and ‘Technical Interoperability and End-User Troubleshooting.’

Tech Snippets Today – Unlimint – Jack Jia – Head of Gatefi, with Joseph Raczynski

Very interesting conversation with Jack Jia, Head of Gatefi (Crypto) at Unlimint. They specialize in global payment systems and you can gather that they are very interested in how crypto can do this efficiently and legally around the world.

A note about Unlimint. Since launching a decade ago, we’ve helped thousands of businesses boost revenue and improve conversion. We’ve done this by acting as a simple, single gateway to local payment ecosystems – making it far easier for businesses to go global. Our vision is to make the financial world of tomorrow closer to businesses here and now. Unlimint as a product offers a constantly evolving business interface for your business to accept and make payments globally.

OH SNAP! – Expert Weighs in on Snapchat My AI

Recently, I was interviewed at the behest of Fox Business, by Kristen Altus on the topic of the impact of AI on children surrounding the Snapchat “My AI.” You can view and read the entire story below entitled, Tech experts warn Snapchat’s ‘My AI’ major ‘misstep’ has ‘dangers ahead’ for children. See the following video on my take about AI and kids.

Interview conducted by Kristen Altus.

Tech Snippets Today – CasperLabs – Medha Parlikar – Co-founder and CEO, with Joseph Raczynski

Here is my conversation with Medha Parlikar, Co-founder and CEO of CasperLabs. It is great to hear her take on enterprise level blockchains.

Casper is the first blockchain built specifically for business adoption. Casper’s unique design allows it to adapt and endure with your business over time – and thanks to Casper Labs, organizations building on Casper always have a clear place to turn for dedicated services, support and bespoke software development.

Consensus 2023 – Grit House Daily Stage – CeFi Broke, but is DeFi and Other Tech the Answer?

Consensus 2023 was loaded with activity this year. Much of the discussion was around regulation in the blockchain, cryptocurrency, and NFT space. On the side stage of Grit House Daily, I moderated a fantastic crew of experts in blockchain and AI. The focus of the panel was CeFi Broke, but is DeFi or other Emerging Technology the Answer?

I firmly believe the cross section of AI and Blockchain is about to have its day, and this discussion further buoys that idea.

“Humanity is just a passing phase for evolutionary intelligence.”

By Joseph Raczynski

At MIT EmTech Conference – Cambridge, MA

This is not a joke.  Our time is short here on Earth, according to Geoffrey Hinton Emeritus Professor, University of Toronto; Engineering Fellow, Google, “Humanity is just a passing phase for evolutionary intelligence.”  In other words, we don’t have much more time.  This is a stunning statement, and what I just witnessed was one of the most impactful sessions I have seen in many moons. The MIT Lab was speechless and bewildered. 

Geoffrey Hinton, just resigned from Google as the Head of AI.  He made his first comments today after leaving Google during the MIT EmTech Digital Conference to a room full of executives, scientists, technologists, and educators from around the world.  Some consider him to be the godfather of AI.  He has been in the space his entire career as he retires at 75.  He is also the winner of the Turing Award, referred to as the “Nobel Prize in Computing,” the most highly prized award in computing. 

RJ Jaczko/Halo Creative for MIT Technology Review

In what he outlined to the standing room only crowd of attendees; this is a new concern for him, which came about over the last few months.  While Google has had this technology since 2018, OpenAI’s release of GPT4 has completely changed his mind on what is next, which is honestly, frightening.  He has seen evidence that ChatGPT can reason at a lower rate.  That is the beginning, but something he did not expect to see in the wild.  In the not-too-distant future, he expects this to only become a better reasoning machine.  He used the example of humans being a two-year-old and asked by its parent if it would like peas or apple sauce.  In other words, we will not know when it will become more powerful than us.  Hint, it is soon.  He went on to describe what OpenAI has done with 1 trillion connections whereas a human brain has 100 trillion connections – yet the 1 trillion from OpenAI are likely more intelligent, at this very moment.  When the 1 trillion grow, which they are now, it will certainly surpass human knowledge soon.

Questions were posed about how we might be able to stop this, and honestly, he did not have any positive answers.  The genie is out of the bottle, and it would take a worldwide effort of every country to stop this progression.  While I have been talking and writing about this moment for many years, I thought we were still decades away from artificial superintelligence or the singularity, but in fact, according to one of the best minds in the world on this, it is much closer than any of us know.

With permission from MIT Technology Review’s EmTech Digital, May 3, 2023 here is the video:

Tech Snippets Today – Re – Karn Saroya – Co-founder and CEO at Re, with Joseph Raczynski

Today, I spoke with Karn Saroya, Co-founder and CEO, at Re.  This is an area that I was very interested in learning more about as the company Re is essentially a ‘decentralized Lloyds of London’.

Reinsurance transfers the risk from one insurance company to another to reduce the likelihood of a large payout. The reinsurer will receive a cut of the insurance premiums but will also bear a portion of the losses when a claim is made.

Built on the Avalanche blockchain, Re enables reinsurance brokers to bring business to clients via the protocol. Distributed syndicates on the protocol will be able to underwrite the claims. 

Syndicates can earn yield in return for supplying capital. Members will also be able to earn yield by supplying capital to an index of insurance programs across a range of industries. This will be separated into different tranches, and the member pool will be the senior tranche, according to the whitepaper. 

Consensus 2023: Web3 and Blockchain Communities Plea for Regulatory Clarity

By Joseph Raczynski (+Art)

Consensus 2023 is a wrap!  With over 15,000 attendees in Austin, Texas they were a testament to the level of optimism that still remains in the crypto space despite a lack of regulatory clarity.  The event was attended by people from traditional finance, Web3, government agencies, and crypto advocates, all of whom had a common goal of finding some common ground clarity for crypto.  This optimism was shared by both traditional finance and crypto-adjacent infrastructure, and was highlighted by PepsiCo’s head of communications, Kate Brady, who spoke on the need for regulators to offer a platform for this bourgeoning global technology.

The conference was held in the midst of a number of regulatory developments, including a bill to assess crypto’s use for criminal activities, multiple hearings addressing stable coins, and reports from the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Government Accountability Office and the New York Department of Financial Services.  Those reports explain what they see as the root causes for the failures of Signature Bank and Silicon Valley Bank, and ultimately exonerate crypto, casting much of the culpability on traditional finance.

In addition to the discussion of the core regulatory issues, the conference also highlighted the collaboration between DeFi advocates and regulators. DeFi advocates were adamant that regulators will eventually come around to the power and purpose of DeFi, and that DeFi could provide real-time auditability, an immutable record of transactions, and the ability to easily track users.  The panel discussion between Uniswap’s legal chief Salman Banaei, dYdX’s marketing lead Nathan Cha, Maple Finance co-founder Sidney Powell and The Defiant founder Cami Russo highlighted the importance of the collaboration between the two groups.  One clear point emerged, the intrinsic benefits of blockchain have proved out that statistics show how DeFi has a higher seizure rate of illicit funds than the traditional financial system.

The session hosted by Jesse Hamilton on the turf war between the CFTC and the SEC was interesting and highlighted the fact that regulations will likely continue to be a hot mess for the foreseeable future. The conversations between builders of decentralized finance (DeFi) and financial regulators brought up the issue of whether linguistic agreement could be found at Consensus.  Some financial watchdogs have said crypto clearly fits into the existing regulatory framework, but the SEC’s authority is “transaction by transaction” and this has caused them to resort to bringing individual enforcement actions.

The clear view at the conference was that banning crypto is simply the wrong policy, and that Congress, the courts, and the international community have already rejected the idea.  It was noted that many in Congress support embracing and regulating crypto, and that multiple U.S. Senators have been willing to introduce bipartisan legislation on the issue.  The courts were also mentioned as a foundational arbitrator, as they have reined in agencies operating beyond congressional mandate in the past.

Ultimately, most surmised banning crypto in the United States would mean that foreign companies reimport the possibility of even more risk back into the United States under different guidelines.  The International Monetary Fund has asserted that comprehensive regulations are preferred to blanket bans because those bans would stifle innovation, drive illicit activities underground, be costly to enforce and motivate users to access illegal markets.  

Overall, the conference showed that there is a lot of optimism in the crypto space, and that collaboration between DeFi and regulators is key to the success of the industry.  It is clear that banning crypto is not the answer, and that regulation and collaboration are the way forward.  It is now up to Congress and financial watchdogs to come together and create a comprehensive and thoughtful regulatory framework for crypto. As fundamentally, blockchain allows for the creation of a single source of truth, the ability to easily track transactions, and the ability to create digital assets, all of which are extremely useful in the digital economy.