Crypto Is Tired, AI Is Wired.


Not too long ago, crypto, blockchain and web3 were incessant buzzwords that seemed to gain more traction each day. Traders scooped up digital currencies at soaring prices. Venture capitalists poured billions of dollars into nebulous startups raising funds at epic valuations. Companies like Nike, Starbucks and even RadioShack tried to glom on to the crypto craze with NFT offerings.

But following a series of scandals that culminated in the spectacular implosion of crypto exchange FTX, coin prices have plummeted from their all-time highs, VC funding for digital asset startups has dramatically declined and NFTs sales remain far below their previous record-setting heights.

Now, some players in the digital-asset industry have spotted a lifeline in the tech craze that has usurped crypto as the hot new thing: artificial intelligence.

With the explosion of interest in chatbots like ChatGPT — and the loquacious new chat-equipped version of Microsoft’s Bing — AI is a bright spot defying the broader tech and crypto slowdown. So it’s no surprise to see AI terms like machine learning and natural language processing popping up in press releases, pitch decks and tweet threads of startups hoping to show they are cutting edge, or at the least still relevant.

Some digital currencies have even been classified as “AI tokens,” and the association has helped to give them a boost. The Graph, a decentralized software project that wants to use AI to help with blockchain data searches, has seen its GRT currency top lists of AI tokens to watch. The rush of attention has given new clout to the venture, which has been around since 2018.

In blockchain gaming, developer platform ImmutableX is using AI to automate the creation of in-game visual imagery. AI has also bled into the metaverse, another 2022 catchphrase caught up in the crypto hype machine. In December, eight companies including AI, metaverse and crypto startups merged into a single entity called “Futureverse” with the goal of building a decentralized virtual world.