Announcing the AI x Crypto Base Camp Accelerator Program 
& Introducing our AI x Crypto Thesis

Contents

Fuelling the Convergent Decentralized Web

  • Outlier Ventures launches the Artificial Intelligence (AI) X Crypto Base Camp with a focus on supporting early stage founders.
  • As one of the world’s first AI-focused accelerator programs, the AI x Crypto Base Camp will support startups who are building at the intersection of AI and blockchain with a focus on AI Agents, Cryptography Enhanced Machine Learning and Decentralised Data Infrastructure.
  • The 12-week virtual accelerator program will include workshops with subject matter experts from Outlier Ventures as well as mentorship from industry experts.
  • Applications are now open and will close in early April, 2024 with the program starting in mid April, 2024.
  • Outlier Ventures also published today the AI and Crypto thesis. We explain how AI and blockchain technology form a synergistic relationship, fundamentally grounded in their reliance on data.

Introducing our AI x Crypto Base Camp and Thesis 

After decades of parallel development, Outlier Ventures is currently observing the intersection of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and blockchain—an exciting development we previously referred to as the convergence thesis back in 2018 and why we invested in companies focused around AI and data including DIA, Exabits, Fetch.ai, IOTA and Ocean Protocol

We believe it is time to get serious about building out the AI x Crypto vertical, which is why we are excited to launch our first AI x Crypto focused Base Camp accelerator program. During the twelve week virtual program, we will select a cohort of leading startups focused on building the creation, development, and monetization of AI Agents, improving trust and security of machine learning models via privacy preserving technology and builders creating decentralised infrastructure for data, compute, and models. for distributed data usage and decentralized data infrastructure. 

Applications are now open until early April 2024. The program will kick off in mid-April.

Apply to join the AI x Crypto Base Camp accelerator program here

AI x Crypto – The Convergence Technology Stack

We have also published our AI x Crypto thesis as an evolution to our thesis in 2018. We explore how this convergence will fuel the future of the web and help towards mass adoption of Web3.

The convergence between AI and blockchain technology is finally materializing. More driven by necessity than opportunity, both technologies joining forces. We, at OV, believe it is time to get serious about building out the AI x Crypto vertical.

Learn more about our thesis:

Executive Summary

After decades of parallel development, artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain technology are finding mass adoption, and these innovations are now falling into the hands of millions of users. 

The convergence is not happening by accident. Instead, we believe there are key drivers that are currently accelerating this trend:

  • The current state of the internet is broken
  • Web2 is integrating AI capabilities, Web3 needs to follow suit
  • AI and blockchain have technological limitations. The solution lies in joining forces

This study aims to provide founders and investors with a comprehensive understanding of the convergence of AI and blockchain, an area we anticipate will have a significant impact over the next decade across multiple sectors.

The Ecosystem

There is currently a lot of exploration happening in the intersection between AI and blockchain. In the short term, we see AI enhance blockchain’s efficiency and security, while blockchain is bringing transparency and decentralization to AI. The trends occurring over the long term are of a more transformative nature.

In this piece, we map out the ecosystem across two dimensions:

  • Time – How long until the trend will be mature.
  • AI x Crypto – Which technology is using the other for improvements.

To help founders and investors navigate the space, we mapped out the ecosystem across what we believe to be three key pockets within AI x Crypto:

  1. Cryptography Enhanced AI – Improves trust and security of machine learning models for distributed data usage with a focus on not revealing or centralizing information
  2. Decentralized Data Infrastructure – Decentralised Marketplaces & infrastructure for resources for data, compute, and models.
  3. AI Agents – AI agents as portable systems that independently pursue goals via adapting and executing complex tasks.

User Expectations

The integration of AI in Web3 is becoming crucial to keep up with changing user expectations set by the increasing AI functionality of Web2 interfaces. Big tech integrating AI into Web2, reshapes user expectations of application UX/UI. In order to stay competitive, Web3 must adopt AI into its front-end design. Without this, Web3 risks falling behind, limiting potential adoption by Web2 users. Embracing AI is not just an improvement for Web3, it’s necessary if Web3 wishes to remain a viable option for users.

Fixing The Internet

The internet was promised to re-shape the way we communicate, interact and operate within society. But more than four decades after its creation, the internet is far from what it was initially promised to be. We see four structural issues with the internet today:

  1. Lack of data privacy and security.
  2. Misinformation and  information overload.
  3. Algorithmic biases and central control. 
  4. The Indistinguishability & impact of bots. 

Web3 promises a decentralised internet where users have control over their data and transactions. In order to achieve this, we need to overcome these structural issues that are plaguing the internet. Blockchain technology and AI are both very promising but each lacks in specific areas, preventing them from solving all these structural issues by themselves. The solution, instead, resides in the convergence of these two elements. AI forming the front-end, while blockchain technology could form the back-end, creating a unified tech stack. We believe that this is the only way to fix the internet.

From the front to the back

While AI has been transforming the front end with its advanced, intelligent interfaces, it remains reliant on conventional back-end data storage, which poses limitations such as data breaches and privacy concerns. Similarly, blockchain greatly enhances back-end data integrity with its decentralised ledger system but often pairs with less dynamic, conventional front ends.

The convergence of AI and blockchain addresses these technological challenges: AI’s innovative front-end capabilities merge with blockchain’s secure and transparent back-end infrastructure. This synergy leverages AI’s ability to interact with and analyse data in new, groundbreaking ways, while blockchain’s robust back-end architecture ensures data security and decentralization, creating a more efficient, secure and user-centric digital environment for data to be stored and used in.

It’s all about data…

The convergence between AI and blockchain sounds difficult but becomes logical when thinking about the fundamental asset both are dealing with. AI and blockchain technology form a synergistic relationship, fundamentally grounded in their reliance on data. Blockchain technology is about storing data. AI is about increasing value extraction from data. By virtue of their proximity in the data value chain, both technologies are converging, driven by the economic demand to extract more value from data, which is an increasingly important asset in the age of information.

In this piece we answer three fundamental questions about the intersection between AI and Blockchain technology:

  1. What forces are driving the convergence between AI and blockchain technology?
  2. What makes both technologies synergistic and how will the convergence technology stack look like?
  3. What are the different fields of application where we see AI and blockchain technology coming together?

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