Why Ethereum co-founder proposes merging crypto and AI

Vitalik Buterin sees both opportunities and risks as synergy products cannot be fully contained.

In a recent blog post, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin shares his thoughts about the eventual fusion between artificial intelligence and cryptocurrency, exploring potential benefits and emphasizing associated risks. 

Buterin envisions AI as an active participant within blockchain protocols, identifying it as the most feasible application. This integration allows mechanisms to function on a more intricate micro-scale while maintaining the foundational design of the underlying mechanism, presenting a promising and relatively straightforward approach, in his opinion.

“It just feels like there must be some kind of connection between the two. It's easy to come up with synergies at a superficial vibe level: crypto decentralization can balance out AI centralization, AI is opaque and crypto brings transparency, AI needs data and blockchains are good for storing and tracking data,” the post reads

The utilization of AI as an interface to protocols is hailed for its high potential, yet Buterin is quick to highlight certain risks associated with this application.

Although the specific role of AI in this context remains somewhat undefined, the implications suggest a complex interplay between users and blockchain technology.

Another dimension involves AI serving as the governing rules themselves in blockchain systems. This approach proves to be less attractive due to the complexity of directly embedding AI into the governance or operational rules of blockchain networks, which – unlike AI’s – are more transparent.

Buterin acknowledges the potential benefits, particularly in enhancing AI safety and mitigating centralization concerns present in mainstream approaches, but he also warns about potential pitfalls, delivering complex formulas and calculations to back up his ideas.

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“There are indeed some promising applications of AI inside of blockchain ecosystems, or AI together with cryptography, though it is important to be careful about how the AI is applied. A particular challenge is: in cryptography, open source is the only way to make something truly secure, but in AI, a model (or even its training data) being open greatly increases its vulnerability to adversarial machine learning attacks,” Buterin states.

Buterin’s idea of merging AI and crypto have been commented cautiously by industry experts due to its complexity and unproven benefits.

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