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AI needs guardrails; enterprise blockchain has a role to play

In an astonishingly brief period, artificial intelligence (AI) has gone from the stuff of science fiction to a very real presence in the here and now, with significant ramifications for the world as we know it.

Not a day goes by without fresh reports of AI making further inroads—welcome or unwelcome—into different avenues of society. These reports illustrate AI’s capacity to disrupt any number of sectors, everything from business, the arts, science, government operations… few sectors appear immune.

All disruptive technologies spark similar concerns, stretching back to the original Luddites following the introduction of machinery into English textile mills in the early 1800s. I’m not yet convinced that AI must inevitably lead to the kind of malevolent ‘self-aware’ systems envisioned in the Terminator movies—although James Cameron is already making the rounds warning of the dangers of AI’s weaponization—but there will definitely be people who’ll need to retrain for different skills as AI’s capacities grow.

The growing awareness of AI’s capabilities followed the public being granted access to a number of programs that create text, images, videos, and musical compositions based on text prompts. The resulting creations left a lot of users slack-jawed after reading, seeing, or hearing the seemingly impossible.

As might be expected, some AI-generated images, videos, and music are better than others. The image software can struggle to render things like hands, while many of the singers belting out other people’s songs are easily detectable as bogus.

There are concerns regarding AI text generators’ tendency to sound authoritative even when they’re talking utter bullshit—potentially fatal bullshit. A New Zealand grocery chain recently found itself doing damage control after its in-house chatbot responded to a customer prompt for making an economical meal from water, ammonia, and bleach. The resulting ‘Aromatic Water Mix’ suggestion was, in reality, a recipe for chlorine gas, which hasn’t been popular since World War I.

The need for adult supervision

Public opinion may be split on whether AI will be our savior or our downfall, but one thing is clear: it can’t be the former without some technological guardrails, which is where enterprise blockchain comes in.

The basic problem with large language model (LLM) text generators is a formula as old as time: garbage in = garbage out. Simply put, randomly ingesting all available online information will invariably suck in as much bogus data as verifiable truth.

There are also occasions when AI makes up what it doesn’t know. Consider the lazy lawyers who submitted an AI-generated court filing rather than spend time doing their own research. Their failure to abide by the ‘trust but verify’ maxim led to their being sanctioned by a court for attributing fake opinions to real judges. (The court of public opinion may yet leave these attorneys without a practice.)

The situation will get progressively worse as AI models reabsorb AI-generated ‘alternative facts,’ making each new iteration that much further from the truth. Conversely, an AI model trained purely on authentic data from publicly verifiable sources would be a world-beater.

Research groups would benefit from a blockchain-backed AI system by allowing end users to confirm that reports and studies do, in fact, represent the legitimate output of these entities.

Blockchain-based AI could also ensure artists of all sorts (verbal, visual, aural, etc.) are properly compensated for derivative works based on their creations, assuming that ownership of those original creations is registered on the blockchain.

One chain to rule them all

Which is where the BSV Blockchain comes in. BSV is the only blockchain that has proven its ability to scale unbounded, making it the only blockchain capable of handling the immense data management needs of enterprises and governments. (BSV also stands alone as the only digital asset that doesn’t have to worry about financial regulators classifying it as a security rather than a currency.)

BSV is also the only blockchain capable of completing the internet’s development. It’s the only chain capable of handling the immense volume of new addresses possible under IPv6. The only chain that’s also economically equipped to handle all this data, thanks to transaction fees measured in fractions of a penny.

For a while, all you heard from ‘crypto’-focused VCs was the promise of Web3, but that roar has since become a whisper. It wasn’t because Web3 was a bad idea; it was because none of the blockchains that these VCs supported could scale to the level necessary to take Web3 beyond the theoretical.

Web3 is about reversing the transfer of power that occurred between the internet’s early days and the Web2 centralized data-harvesting model that followed. Returning control over personal data to the end user will allow individuals to effectively negotiate who has access to their data, how much of that data can be accessed, how often and for what purpose.

The role that an infinitely scalable blockchain will play in realizing all of the above was all the justification Ayre Ventures needed when it recently made the single-largest blockchain IP investment to date. The CHF500 million ($549.2 million) equity acquisition of nChain was based on its patent library, which Forbes described as impacting “everything from the US$1 trillion cryptocurrency market to corporate implementations built by some of the largest companies in the world.”

Technological advances can (and do) inspire both optimism and fear, but it’s up to us to determine how these technologies impact society. With a little help from blockchain, AI doesn’t present any challenges that we can’t meet while offering opportunities too good to pass up.

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Ayre Group–nChain CHF500 million deal set to boost European Tech blockchain and Web3 sectors

CHF500million deal believed to be the single largest enterprise blockchain IP investment to date

UPDATE – 31 August 2023: Ahead of the investment in nChain, Calvin Ayre commissioned an independent legal review by Buffone Law Group PLLC regarding the classification of digital assets with a specific focus on Bitcoin and its equivalents as securities. The review emphasised that only categorizing an asset as a “currency” does not exempt it from potentially being deemed a security.

Read the review in full here.

LONDON, UK – 2 August 2023:  Ayre Group has finalised agreements to take a controlling interest in nChain, the global leader in blockchain and Web3 technology, in a 500 million Euro deal that will provide a huge boost to the blockchain and Web3 sectors.  

As Forbes recently observed, nChain’s patents “affect everything from the US$1 trillion cryptocurrency market to corporate implementations built by some of the largest companies in the world.”  

The deal, believed to be the single largest enterprise blockchain IP investment to date, will see Ayre Group invest up to a total of CHF500 million (€516 million/£443 million). The sum consists of an equity acquisition of nChain by the Ayre Group, an IP licensing deal for Ayre Ventures portfolio companies, and a line of credit.  

To date, nChain has been awarded nearly 800 technology patents with over 3,000 more presently awaiting approval, a wide-ranging intellectual property library representing the fundamental building blocks on which these next-generation internet products and services will be built. nChain’s IP is the DNA of the new internet, encompassing Web3 precursors, non-fungible tokens, smart contracts, and everything in between.

nChain has a heavyweight R&D team dedicated to turning its vast IP library into workable applications. nChain was included in the LexisNexis Innovation Momentum 2023: The Global Top 100 report of companies advancing innovative solutions to today’s challenges and laying the IP foundations for further breakthroughs.  

Ayre Group Founder Calvin Ayre commented on the deal: “For the better part of a decade, nChain and its London-based Chief Scientist Dr. Craig Wright have been quietly amassing a patent portfolio of unparalleled scope, literally the foundational elements of enterprise blockchain, AI and Web3. My goal is to accelerate the pace of nChain’s development and increase the commercial adoption of its extensive IP library.” 

Ayre is a vocal supporter of the BSV Blockchain but says nChain’s patents are “blockchain-agnostic. There isn’t a single blockchain or Web3 project out there that isn’t standing on the shoulders of nChain’s patent library—the earliest, largest, and highest quality collection in this space.”   

BSV’s combination of unbounded scaling capacity, ultra-low transaction fees and integration with IPv6 make it the only enterprise blockchain on which the internet of the future can be fully realized. 

Stefan Matthews, nChain’s Co-Founder and Executive Chairman, added: “Calvin has been a strong advocate for nChain over the years. His decision to take a greater equity position in the nChain Group signifies his confidence in our business model and the value that we hold in our patent portfolio, software development and consulting services.”

About Ayre Group 

Ayre Group are a global investment group that fund ground-breaking businesses and technologies. They invest in building ventures in real estate, blockchain technology, media, publishing, health & wellness and travel & leisure. 

Ayre Group build and support technology and businesses that break down barriers to entry, democratize opportunity, and positively enhance people’s lives. 

About nChain 

nChain is a leading global blockchain technology company, offering software solutions, consulting services and IP licensing for clients in various industries looking to benefit from the security, transparency and scalability of the blockchain. Founded in 2015, with offices in Lichtenstein, Switzerland, the UK and Slovenia, nChain employs more than 240 staff, holds nearly 800 patents and is the developer of the Bitcoin SV Node software, Teranode, LiteClient and more.  

About Calvin Ayre 

Calvin Ayre is a celebrated entrepreneur with an established track record of building successful internet-based businesses. In the mid-1990s, he was among the first to see online gambling’s breakout potential, leading to the launch of his market-leading Bodog brand and his appearance on the cover of the 2006 Forbes ‘Billionaires’ issue. Since leaving the gaming industry, he has focused on the Ayre Group, which invests in real estate, travel & leisure, blockchain/Web3 and media/publishing projects. Ayre Group also produces the London Blockchain Conference, the world’s largest annual Government and Enterprise Blockchain conference.   

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