Blockchain and AI: What’s Behind the Hype
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Blockchain and AI: What’s Behind the Hype

Created 1yr ago, last updated 1yr ago

Blockchain and artificial intelligence have been converging for more than five years — with the first blockchain projects to leverage AI appearing in early 2018.

Blockchain and AI: What’s Behind the Hype

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Frequently billed as two of the potentially disruptive technologies of this century, blockchain and artificial intelligence are widely expected to change the way we go about our daily lives.

With applications in practically every field, sector and industry, both artificial intelligence and blockchain are being used to boost efficiency, unlock new revenue streams, automate repetitive tasks, and even remove the need for human oversight over both mundane and complex tasks.

As is the case with many emerging technologies, efforts are currently underway to see how blockchain and artificial intelligence can synergize to power a new wave of products, services and opportunities. While many of these will inevitably fail, some will likely go on to disrupt entire industries.

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How Is AI Being Used Alongside Blockchain?

Blockchain and artificial intelligence have been converging for more than five years — with the first blockchain projects to leverage AI appearing in early 2018.

While most of these included only rudimentary AI technologies, recent innovations have enabled a new wave of more capable projects that leverage the latest blockchain and AI technologies to provide a great deal of utility to users.

Right now, generative NFTs are by far the most popular cross-over of AI and blockchain, with there now being dozens of NFT collections that were created using AI algorithms. These algorithms are generally trained on various styles and techniques and then used to produce output NFTs that resemble a consistent art style.
One of the very first examples of a generative NFT collection is Autoglyphs by Larva Labs. This is a collection of 512 glyphs that were created by an AI generator using only simple ASCII symbols. Since its release in 2019, the NFT market has seen an explosion of generative NFT collections, including Art Blocks, Lost Poets and Solvency.
Beyond this, Alethea was one of the first projects to create what it describes as ‘intelligent’ and interactive NFTs. The platform recently introduced CharacterGPT — which uses multi-modal AI to generate 3D characters from simple text prompts.
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Besides generative NFT collections, a number of blockchain projects are leveraging AI for more practical applications. One of the most common is using AI to power a new range of decentralized financial products and applications.
Several projects and firms are now using AI to find spot trading opportunities, as well as automate investment and trade decisions. This includes DefiLabs, which trains AIs using blockchain-based data to automatically manage assets and improve farming yields, as well as Zoidpay, which is building AI-based loan and risk management products.
Other projects are looking to integrate AI on a deeper level. This includes Velas, which is working on a technology known as “AIDPOS” to automatically optimize for performance and security while keeping fees down, and BitTensor, which is building a blockchain-based machine learning network that will power a decentralized marketplace for AI.
Likewise, CryptoGPT is the first project to build a ZK layer-2 focused around artificial intelligence — while providing an SDK that developers can use to easily plug AI features into their applications, to help users optionally monetize their usage data.
SingularityNET is arguably one of the most popular AI-centric blockchain projects. The platform's core mission is to develop artificial general intelligence (AGI). It looks to achieve this by providing a blockchain-based platform through which AIs can cooperate, and where AI tools and agents can be easily bought, sold and shared.

That said, not all blockchain/AI integration efforts have gone to plan, and there is a veritable graveyard of projects that have faced challenges and failed to achieve their goals — many of these were 2017-era projects.

One example includes a project known as DEEP AERO, which promised to use AI and blockchain to power autonomous UAVs for low-altitude flights. Despite raising potentially up to 135,000 ETH during its 2018 ICO, the project now appears to be defunct.

Recent Performance

AI-centric cryptocurrency and blockchain projects have been on what can only be described as a meteoric uptrend since the start of 2023 — outperforming the broader market sentiment to clock in impressive returns.

In January 2023 alone, the top three largest AI projects gained an average of more than 150%, outperforming the market average by roughly five-fold over the same period. Since then, most prominent AI projects have continued to see bullish price action, with a handful of projects more than doubling in value in the first week of February.

The reasons behind this growth are clear: the rapid adoption and proliferation of traditional AI applications (notably GPT-3, Midjourney, and, more recently, ChatGPT), as well as the huge wave of buzz and excitement surrounding the future of the technology owed to significant interest from big tech. There has understandably been some spillover into the blockchain AI sector.

As a result, the vast majority of established blockchain + AI projects have performed well in recent weeks — though most remain drastically below their all-time highest values. The Graph (GRT), for example, is still down more than 90% compared to its February 2021 all-time high, despite being sent soaring following news of Google’s upcoming AI known as Bard and Bing’s integration of a suped-up version of GPT-3.

Read more: Is AI a Threat to Crypto and Blockchain… Or an Opportunity?

Nonetheless, some believe that this recent momentum is merely irrational exuberance rather than due to changes in the fundamental utility and value of these projects.

Likewise, while many projects claim to feature artificial intelligence capabilities, many are still in development or are simply using AI as a buzzword. As such, it's important to do your due diligence before investing in any project.

AI-Powered Crypto Projects

The AI + blockchain landscape is currently dominated by just a handful of large players — the largest of which have a market capitalization of over $100 million. As it stands, just three of the top 100 cryptocurrency projects by market capitalization have AI elements.

Some of the popular AI-powered blockchain crypto projects include:

The Graph (GRT)

Currently the largest AI-powered crypto project by market cap, The Graph is a platform that indexes data from a wide array of blockchains. The platform uses AI to index and retrieve this data more efficiently, helping to power the next generation of decentralized applications (DApps). The Graph recently awarded a $60 million grant to Semiotic AI, which now performs R&D to explore how AI can be used to enhance The Graph’s capabilities.

SingularityNET (AGIX)

SingularityNet is one of the first projects to integrate blockchain and AI technology by providing a decentralized platform for AI services. It allows AI developers and businesses to monetize their algorithms and models while enabling end-users to access and utilize AI services in a decentralized and secure environment.

Ocean Protocol (OCEAN)

Ocean Protocol is a decentralized platform that enables the secure and transparent exchange of data for artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) applications. It utilizes blockchain technology and smart contracts to provide a secure environment for data providers to monetize their data while maintaining control over its usage.

Fetch.AI (FET)

Fetch AI is one of the best-known projects to leverage AI and blockchain, Fetch AI uses these two emerging technologies to power an array of autonomous agents — which can be used to improve and scale various industries. The platform aims to create an open and interoperable network where data and services can be easily accessed and monetized, helping to fuel new economic growth and business models.

Numerai (NMR)

Numerai uses artificial intelligence to power a decentralized, crowdsourced hedge fund. Artificial intelligence models from around the world are trained on encrypted financial data to make predictions. These models are then combined to make a prediction that is traded on global financial markets. Participants in the network are incentivized through a token reward system, allowing profits to be distributed democratically.
In total, more than 100 blockchain projects now leverage AI to some capacity. Some of these were focused on AI at inception, whereas others recently folded artificial intelligence into their roadmap or upcoming applications.

Some of the more popular projects to recently integrate artificial intelligence include:

  • TRON: In a recent Twitter thread, TRON founder, Justin Sun, announced the development of a decentralized payment framework for AI-powered systems. The new framework will leverage TRON smart contracts to enable secure payment settlements between AI agents and services. The new solution will eventually leverage the TRX and BTT tokens to power decentralized governance and storage.
  • PRIMAL: In January 2023, PRIMAL announced it would be integrating ChatGPT's technology to provide AI-based utility to its users. The new integration will power a suite of new AI products accessible to users of the move2earn application, including a digital nutritionist, digital trainer and sports center. These tools will be accessible by users of the PRIMAL fitness tracker application.
  • XANA: The relatively new metaverse infrastructure provider, and GameFi ecosystem, has had AI ambitions since its inception with the release of the AI-based XANA: Genesis NFT collection in 2022. But the project recently redoubled its effort, announcing plans to allow companies, corporations and governments to leverage AI to build metaverse-based entertainment products and services.
For a complete list of AI and big data blockchain coins/tokens, see the Top AI & Big Data Tokens by Market Capitalization.

What Is AIPad?

Right now, many of the largest and best-established traditional AI companies are privately owned — making it very difficult to gain exposure to their success unless investors are able to participate in their private funding rounds.

Meanwhile, AI-powered blockchain projects tend to be monopolized by VCs and established angel investors, who are able to invest during their seed and private sale stages to access the best possible terms and prices.
This leaves retail investors with limited options to invest in early-stage blockchain AI projects, besides buying them post-listing on the spot market or speculating on them through a derivative product or cryptocurrency index fund.
To help democratize access to these new investment opportunities, AIPad was created by the same team behind the popular launchpads BSCPad and GameZone.

Read more about IDO launchpads!

The new launchpad focuses on AI projects built on top of blockchain technology and uses a tier-based allocation model to allow holders of the AIPAD token to participate in the IDO and private sale rounds of these projects. Besides hosting IDOs for AI projects, the platform also leverages OpenAI's chatbot technology to provide support to visitors and users.

As of writing, AIPad has three AI projects scheduled to host an IDO on the platform. The launch date has yet to be announced.

Upcoming AI-Powered Crypto Projects

The blockchain industry moves fast. Whenever a new technology demonstrates significant potential and capabilities, developers and entrepreneurs are typically quick to innovate and develop new business ideas and use cases.

As such, the next generation of AI projects is always in development, some of the most prominent include:


An upcoming ZK layer2 that lets users quickly and easily monetize their data. The platform introduces the concepts of data capsule NFTs, which are on-chain data repositories that can be updated with new data and easily monetized through AI development requests. The platform will provide users with a simple launcher that can be used to capture and store data from a variety of applications, which can then be turned into cash flow if they choose.

AI Arena

In development since 2021, AI Arena is an Ethereum-based application that uses artificial intelligence to make NFTs more capable and productive. The game centers around player-owned NFT characters which evolve over time by imitating human actions before battling each other in the arena. The game is currently being built on Arbitrum.


Arguably one of the most ambitious AI projects, Bittensor hopes to bring a decentralized AI market system to the Polkadot ecosystem. The platform aims to help facilitate the commoditization of artificial intelligence by providing an open-source repository of machine intelligence distributed over the blockchain.


From the creators of SingularityNET, HyperCycle is a layer 2 blockchain designed specifically for highly scalable and accessible decentralized artificial intelligence applications. It'll be launched using Cardano's Hydra sidechain framework and leverage SingularityNET’s Proof-of-Reputation (POR) system alongside TODA data structures.


Billing itself as the "next generation of social platforms," PLAI Labs aims to use AI, blockchain technology and gamification to power a novel social gaming experience. The company is creating a new platform, with battle and trading gameplay woven into a story that will evolve for years.

Rejuve Network

The project aims to use artificial intelligence to collect, analyze and evaluate the health data of users to provide research-based health and longevity recommendations. It will use AI to produce a mechanistic simulation of the human body which can be studied and tested by both AI agents and researchers to generate health insights and interventions.

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