Five Minute Blockchain Newsletter Nr. 57

Five Minute Blockchain Newsletter Nr. 57

Five Minute Blockchain – No. 57


Estimated reading time: 3 mins 42 seconds

Quote of the Week

Science Fiction writer Ted Chiang in an interview with the Financial Times: What could be a better word to describe “artificial intelligence”?

Chiang’s main objection, a writerly one, is with the words we choose to describe all this. Anthropomorphic language such as “learn”, “understand”, “know” and personal pronouns such as “I” that AI engineers and journalists project on to chatbots such as ChatGPT create an illusion. This hasty shorthand pushes all of us, he says — even those intimately familiar with how these systems work — towards seeing sparks of sentience in AI tools, where there are none.

“There was an exchange on Twitter a while back where someone said, ‘What is artificial intelligence?’ And someone else said, ‘A poor choice of words in 1954’,” he says. “And, you know, they’re right. I think that if we had chosen a different phrase for it, back in the ’50s, we might have avoided a lot of the confusion that we’re having now.”

So if he had to invent a term, what would it be? His answer is instant: applied statistics.


“Platforms have given up on 2020 lies”

Spreaders of misinformation get their accounts re-activated for several reasons. This looks problematic from the outside because wrong statements and views will be amplified again. In other news: Twitter is currently negotiating with Google Cloud services; in principle, they want to change a contract. This, though, will affect all kinds of services Twitter uses, for example, to avoid spam or other malicious content.



Management versus users: The big fight over at Reddit

These days thousands of Reddit communities are not reachable. Their administrators, all volunteers, have taken the communities “private”.

The reason for the move is that Reddit plans to charge for the use of its API. The changes were announced in April and will become effective by June 30, 2023.

Before usage of the API was free, which led to the creation of some successful apps, providing access to Reddit users using mobile phones.

Those apps, one example being Apollo, will now stop working. Based on preliminary calculations, they would have to pay up to $20 million per year to Reddit. On the other side, the company says that the external apps are not helping to make any money (e.g., through advertising) and that they even cost money, based on the need to maintain the API and other parts of the software.

Though users’ protests are loud and clear, it is unlikely that the API charges will change. The main reason is that Reddit is preparing for an IPO.

Reuters (Explainer)




Swift explores blockchain interoperability to remove friction from tokenised asset settlement

Swift, the global financial transactions network, aims to overcome the fragmentation of multiple blockchains, specifically for institutional investors.

“In capital markets, there’s a growing view that blockchain technology has the potential to generate efficiencies, reduce costs and open up opportunities for some parts of the industry. For example, private markets have historically been dependent on legacy systems and processes, which add costs and deter investment. By rationalising operations and settlement processes, blockchain could attract more investors into the private markets and ultimately increase liquidity.”

Swift Press Release

Venture company Andreessen Horowitz opens crypto-focused office in London

The move is partially understood as a reaction after the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) sued Binance and Coinbase in the U.S. The expectation is that in London, where many financial institutions have headquarters, regulatory clarity for crypto assets might be achieved faster than in the U.S. This could lead to start-ups and even established companies in the crypto market moving to the U.K.

Quote from Axios: “If they can get regulatory clarity soon in the U.K., I think you’ll see U.S. companies move there and new companies start there,” says Chris Dixon, who founded and leads Andreessen Horowitz’s crypto practice (known as a16z crypto).


$43 million funding for Gensyn, a blockchain-based marketplace for compute power

London-based Gensyn, a blockchain-based marketplace protocol connecting compute power buyers and sellers, announced a $43 million Series A fundraising today.

A16z Crypto led the round alongside CoinFund, Canonical Crypto, Protocol Labs, Eden Block, Maven 11 and various angel investors.

The Block

Short Links

  • Robin Hood to delist Solana, Cardano & Polygon tokens after SEC describes them as securities (Web3isjustgoinggreat)
  • Former SEC Chairman Jay Clayton on Enforcement Actions: Crypto Should Be Treated With ‘Nuance’ (
  • Binance Labs and FunPlus lead a $6.6 million investment in Fusionist – the platform has a community of 800,000 people. (The Block)
  • Tencent backs Aave’s decentralised social networking protocol, Lens (Ledger Insights)

Thank you for reading. If you have questions or suggestions, please get in touch with us via

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

Five Minute Blockchain Newsletter Nr. 54

Five Minute Blockchain Newsletter Nr. 54

Five Minute Blockchain – No. 54


Estimated reading time: 7 min 55 seconds


“Given the proliferation of AI models being released these days, do we need a sort of Linnean system (i.e. kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, species) to classify and make sense of the space?”

Situational awareness: The discussion about trustable content is as relevant as ever. However, the focus has shifted from decentralised blockchain architecture towards anticipating the many changes of “new” content coming through generative AI. So many areas of work might be affected. But what are the risks, and what are the market effects?

One thought: How can this be an opportunity for the EU? Currently, the perspective is that most future technologies will come from a few substantial-tech companies (Open AI/Microsoft, Google, etc.) But a big part of using AI is how it is deployed, how it is regulated and how the technology is used for economic growth. This week a senior Google engineer wrote an internal memo that open-source AI could outpace both Google and Microsoft and lead to a much broader, new tech world in the next ten to twenty years.


“Sparks of General Intelligence”

Noteworthy: A scientific article concludes that the newest version of GPT-4 shows “sparks of “artificial general intelligence” or, in short, AGI. The researchers conclude:

“We demonstrate that, beyond its mastery of language, GPT-4 can solve novel and difficult tasks that span mathematics, coding, vision, medicine, law, psychology and more, without needing any special prompting. Moreover, in all of these tasks, GPT-4’s performance is strikingly close to human-level performance, and often vastly surpasses prior models such as ChatGPT. Given the breadth and depth of GPT-4’s capabilities, we believe that it could reasonably be viewed as an early (yet still incomplete) version of an artificial general intelligence (AGI) system.”


AI can fool voice verification systems

Exclusive by The Guardian:

“Using just four minutes of audio, a Guardian Australia journalist was able to generate a clone of their own voice and was then able to use this, combined with their customer reference number, to gain access to their own Centrelink self-service account.”


Centrelink and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) both give people the option of using a “voiceprint”, along with other information, to verify their identity over the phone, allowing them to then access sensitive information from their accounts.

The Guardian

NPR (National Public Radio): Elon Musk threatened to reassign NPR’s Twitter account

In an unprompted email to an NPR reporter, Elon Musk asked if NPR planned to start posting on Twitter again, “or should we reassign @NPR to another company?”

Comment from “Daring Fireball” on this story:

“This is a shakedown, pure and simple. What a message to big brands and celebrities: stop posting to Twitter, and they’ll reassign your longstanding username.

It’s bizarre that Musk thinks this might prompt NPR to start posting to Twitter again when the only rational reaction is to feel assured that walking away from Twitter was the right move.”


Daring Fireball

Twitters Verification Fiasco might end in a US court

Before the Elon Musk take-over, Twitter provided a blue verification checkmark to users with many followers, journalists and celebrities. Then the company tried to make verification a subscription business, but interest was low. Then many celebrities got their blue checks back, which created the impression that the stars did, in fact, pay – which was not the case. Wired reports that giving such an impression for marketing is forbidden in the US.

Wired UK

How Google AMP Ruined the Trust of Publishers in the Company

In 2015 Google started a new standard called “Accelerated Mobile Pages” AMP. The key idea was to speed up news content to load faster for quick display in search results, specifically on mobile devices. As of 2023, the technology has, by and large, faded away. Publishers do not care, and even Google seemingly has given up on AMP.


“…AMP came with huge tradeoffs, most notably around how all those webpages were monetised. AMP made it harder to use ad tech that didn’t come from Google, fraying the relationship between Google and the media so severely that AMP became a crucial component in an antitrust lawsuit filed just five years after its launch in 2020 by 17 state attorneys general, accusing Google of maintaining an illegal monopoly on the advertising industry.

The Verge


Spotify cleans thousands of AI-made songs

The music streaming platform found AI-made songs connected to potentially fraudulent listening numbers. If successful such as deception would mean that Spotify would have to pay real money for fake listening.

Financial Times

Learn Prompting

Before forming an opinion about generative AI, we should start using the new technology. The goal should be to determine what the technology does well and where the limits are. Wired US has a list of links pointing to resources where you can learn:

Learn Prompting (free)
Free course teaching how to write prompts at different levels.

How to take your prompts to the next level (Wired)
Comprehensive article with examples of how to enhance prompts.

Inside my head

Run by technologist Linus Ekenstam, it features a host of useful AI-related material, covering tutorials on getting the optimum results from these tools and crafting the smartest prompts”. (Substack, some posts free, some only for a subscription.)

A generative ML model for icons.

Scientific paper on how to use a generative AI model to generate Icons.


Analysis: The costs of training LLMs

Training AI platforms means you need to have a big budget for computing resources.

Navigating the High Cost of AI Compute”:

“…We’ve seen many companies spend more than 80% of their total capital raised on compute resources! In this post, we try to break down the cost factors for an AI company. The absolute numbers will of course change over time, but we don’t see immediate relief from AI companies being bound by their access to compute resources.”

Andreessen Horowitz

Google is expected to demonstrate new AI platforms this week

At Google I/O, the search company will present PaLM 2, the latest AI development platform. PaLM 2 will include more than 100 languages, according to internal documents viewed by CNBC. The new AI platform will be used for coding, math, creative writing and analysis.


Adobe Firefly AI

Adobe Firefly is a new offering bringing the capabilities of generative AI to Adobe software products. Firefly enables users to generate images and text effects from descriptions, and Adobe says the platform is trained content licensed or out of copyright.


IBM introduces WatsonX, its own AI platform

“IBM, like pretty much every tech giant these days, is betting big on AI. At its annual Think conference, the company announced IBM Watsonx, a new platform that delivers tools to build AI models and provides access to pre-trained models for generating computer code, text and more.”


Amazon buys search engine “Snackable AI”.

The technology will be used for podcast projects, enabling the discovery of people, topics, etc.



Visa: “Learning by Doing” critical for the long-term success of digital currencies

“Visa has developed a programmable finance platform designed to help Brazilian farmers better negotiate contracts.”


“…Visa presented its solution for the Banco Central do Brasil’s central bank digital currency (CBDC) competition, the Real Digital LIFT Challenge. The prototype consists of a programmable finance platform for small and medium-sized businesses (particularly farmers), which allows tokenising sale contracts into NFTs and auctioning them to global investors. Microsoft, Sinqia, and Agrotoken were also part of the submission.”

Ledger Insights

Mastercard introduces Crypto Credentials to increase trust in blockchain technology.

“Mastercard says Crypto Credential has been developed to “establish a set of common standards and infrastructure that will help attest trusted interactions among consumers and businesses using blockchain networks”.

The standards will help users verify blockchain-based transactions, with Mastercard also providing the technology necessary for those wishing to interact across Web3 environments. The firm says trust is “critical” if blockchain is to reach its full potential, while a lack of robust protections and standards has often eroded the trust of consumers, businesses and governments.”

Fintech Futures

Goldman Sachs, Microsoft, Deloitte and other companies will use a blockchain platform to link financial applications.

Digital Asset has developed the system, which will be called Canton Network.

A group of firms including Goldman Sachs Group Inc, MicrosoftCorp, Deloitte and Cboe Global Markets Inc are joining a new blockchain system aimed at linking disparate institutional applications, potentially encouraging broader adoption of distributed ledger technology in financial markets.

Bloomberg ($)

Everledger bankrupt

Everledger was an Australian company that hoped to use blockchains to track provenance of diamonds, other precious gems, fine wines, and other luxury goods. Things apparently didn’t pan out, though, when an investor’s planned funding fell through and the company was placed into voluntary administration.

Everledger had in the past raised US$37 million in funding. AUD$3 million (~US$2 million) of that funding came from the Australian government’s blockchain grants program in 2021.

Web3 is going just great


  • Italy lifts ban on ChatGPT after data privacy improvements (Deutsche Welle)
  • With Sandbox and Decentraland looking static, crypto investors are looking for other credible alternatives (Crypto News Flash)
  • PayTM, India’s leading mobile payment platform, reported a surge in revenue and reduced its losses by 57%. (TechCrunch)
  • Goldman Sachs found that 62% of family offices are neither invested nor interested in crypto. In 2021 the percentage of wealthy people not interested in crypto was much lower, at 39%. (The Block)
  • “You can now create a shitcoin in less than 23 seconds” (Cointelegraph)

Thank you for reading. If you have questions or suggestions, please get in touch with us via

Five Minute Blockchain Newsletter Nr. 52

Five Minute Blockchain Newsletter Nr. 52

Five Minute Blockchain – No. 52

The weekly newsletter from the crossroads of trust, content & blockchain.

TruBlo is an EU research project. We support 45 early-stage projects to research and create new solutions.


Estimated reading time: 9 minutes 44 seconds


“A platform that can mimic humans’ writing with no commitment to the truth is a gift for those who benefit from disinformation. We need to regulate its use now.”

Emily Bell: A fake news frenzy: Why ChatGPT could be disastrous for truth in journalism

The Guardian


Bank failures in the US affect start-ups and crypto platforms

In the US, three banks defaulted in the past week. First Silvergate, then Silicon Valley Bank, and then – only since Friday – another bank called Signature was closed in New York. The reasons are different, though three have in common that creditors lost trust. It is bad enough for the US government to step in.

After receiving a recommendation from the boards of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Federal Reserve, Treasury Secretary Yellen, after consultation with the President, approved actions to enable the FDIC to complete its resolutions of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank in a manner that fully protects all depositors, both insured and uninsured. (Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System)

The downfall of Silicon Valley Bank will have repercussions for venture capital and start-up financing, potentially around the world. If the bank behind many deals in this space suddenly fails, there is a need to investigate the causes.

The unraveling at Silicon Valley Bank will have far-reaching implications for U.S. venture-backed startups, half of which did business at the bank, and the broader tech ecosystem. (Crunchbase)

The lightning collapse of Silicon Valley Bank Friday raised the specter of a broad tech-industry crash for the first time since the dotcom bubble burst in 2000. That threat, which loomed all weekend as legions of the startups that made up the bank’s clientele worried about meeting next week’s payrolls, receded after the federal government intervened Sunday to backstop depositors’ assets even over the $250,000 FDIC threshold. After a year of layoffs and market retreats, the run on the industry’s own community bank put tech’s new status as a troubled business in sharp relief. (Axios)

In the UK, HSBC bought the British subsidiary of Silicon Valley Bank for one British pound (New York Times, €)

Crypto platforms are also involved because some might have exposure to these failing banks. Circle and Coinbase published statements to assure clients can redeem their holdings this Monday.

The shutdown of Signature and the collapse of Silvergate leave many companies in the crypto industry without much access to the US banking system. (Web3 is going just great)

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

Joint Statement by the Department of Treasury, Federal Reserve and FDIC



The Economic Times


The Verge

Web3 is going just great

Fractional ownership investments are popular in South Korea

After each financial crisis (2003, 2008), one would think that there is a lesson learned about making a lot of money, fast. But there are repeating patterns, and of course, there is pressure on the next generation to make enough money somehow, usually to buy a flat or a house.

So, in South Korea, there is an early cycle of investing, which – as of now – is not very critical but could be the nucleus of another crisis and loss of trust in five to ten years:

“Young South Koreans are unusually keen to put their meagre savings to work—perhaps because the country’s lacklustre jobs market makes it hard for them to buy property or support a family. A survey in 2021 found that eight in ten people in their 20s and 30s invest in stocks, cryptocurrencies or other assets. And they start young; 7% of shareholders in Samsung Electronics, a tech manufacturer, are in their teens.”

The Economist (€)


Meta is developing a text-based decentralised social network as a Twitter competitor.

Meta is working on a text-based social network. Based on current information, the platform will use ActivityPub, a decentralised social networking protocol which powers Mastodon and other decentralised apps. The codename, for now, is P92, and the platform will be Instagram-branded. The current plan is to publish a minimum viable product with no clear release date.


The week in generative AI

Generative AI is so quickly evolving right now that it is challenging to keep track. However, here is a quick update on some of the most relevant stories this past week:

  • ChatGPT and Whiper are accessible via an API (OpenAI) at meager prices. (Nathan Labenz)
  • Antrophic, another AI company founded by ex-Open AI employees and funded with $124 million, is offering its language model to other companies. (TechCrunch)
  • Elon Musk is considering setting up a rival, despite being one of the co-founders of OpenAI. (The Information)
  • Generative AI helps developers to boost productivity (WSJ) (€)
  • Video: How Nvidia powers the AI revolution (CNBC)
  • A developer manages to run the LLaMA model on his laptop. LLaMA was developed by Meta for $13B and is considered competitive to GPT-3 from OpenAI. Costly hardware is needed to run GPT-3. (Simon Willison)
  • Using LLaMA with M1 Mac (l1x/dev)
  • Dalai is a “dead simple way to run LLaMA on your computer (
  • Neal Mohan, the new CEO of YouTube, released a statement saying that YouTube will introduce new AI-driven features for creators (YouTube Blog)

Come on, Google, let’s dance: Bing says it crossed 100 DAUs

Since introducing Chat GPT to assist with search queries four weeks ago, Bing has experienced user growth. According to Microsoft, the search engine crossed the number of 100M DAUs (Daily Active Users), though the blog post did not specify the number before introducing new AI features.

“Of the millions of active users of the new Bing preview, it’s great to see that roughly one third are new to Bing. We see this appeal of the new Bing as a validation of our view that search is due for a reinvention and of the unique value proposition of combining Search + Answers + Chat + Creation in one experience.”

For comparison: Google is still the market leader, with a market share in many countries in the 95% and above range. But Bing had already gained some market share in the past and will grab more. We are witnessing a new phase of the competition, not only for search but for the quality of answers and information retrieval. New generative AI is just the opening for intense competition in the search business. There is one particular sentence in the blog post from Microsoft clearly showing how this has energised the company:

This (the number of DAUs, sic) is a surprisingly notable figure, and yet we are fully aware we remain a small, low, single digit share player.  That said, it feels good to be at the dance!

Bing Blog

Grammarly announces GrammarlyGO which uses generative AI to write & rewrite content

Launching in the coming months, “GrammarlyGO” is a generative AI product that is designed to “accelerate productivity where people write.”

Like ChatGPT, GrammarlyGO is able to create text based on a short prompt, though Grammarly’s special trick is that the content generated copies your usual writing style – after all, Grammarly already analyzes everything you write for typos, so there’s plenty of data to work with. Use cases for this that Grammarly points out includes writing email replies based on one-click prompts such as “I’m not interested.”

9to5 Mac

The “Bold Glamour” TikTok Filter is highly problematic

A newly released TikTok Filter called “Bold Glamour” will change your appearance from ordinary to model features. The generated visual looks highly realistic and works dynamically in a short video, and the superficial perfection draws considerable criticism. It is one thing to be confronted with beautiful people on magazine covers, even when you know all images are heavily worked on in Photoshop. But it is another escalation when new filters can make you a “beauty” with one click. According to at least one study, comparing machine-generated images and actual appearance leads to a desire for plastic surgery.


When influencer parents use their kids to produce content


Claire, whose name has been changed to protect her privacy, has never known a life that doesn’t include a camera being pointed in her direction. The first time she went viral, she was a toddler. When the family’s channel started to rake in the views, Claire says both her parents left their jobs because the revenue from the YouTube channel was enough to support the family and to land them a nicer house and new car. “That’s not fair that I have to support everyone,” she said. “I try not to be resentful but I kind of [am].” Once, she told her dad she didn’t want to do YouTube videos anymore and he told her they would have to move out of their house and her parents would have to go back to work, leaving no money for “nice things.”

When the family is together, the YouTube channel is what they talk about. Claire says her father has told her he may be her father, but he’s also her boss. “It’s a lot of pressure,” she said. When Claire turns 18 and can move out on her own, she’s considering going no-contact with her parents.

Teen Vogue

YouTube and the multi-million-dollar dubbing economy

From “Rest of World”:

  • Unilingo, the dubbing provider for MrBeast and PewDiePie, is part of a new localisation strategy for some of YouTube’s biggest stars.
  • YouTube dubbing is helping creators reach new audiences worldwide and monetise the same video in several languages.

Rest of World


European politicians suggest building a European blockchain called “Europeum.”

Mathieu Michel, Belgian Minister digital Minister, talked to Coindesk, offering a blockchain solution for infrastructure and public services:

“After regulating cryptocurrencies, European politicians are contemplating the next step in the race to attract Web 3 business – and it might be a tailor-made blockchain that respects privacy, Belgium’s digital minister told CoinDesk in an exclusive interview. A new “Europeum” blockchain could be the vehicle to record property ownership, driving licenses or professional qualifications while sticking to the European Union’s high regulatory norms, Mathieu Michel said.”


USDC stablecoin depends on Silicon Valley Bank collapse

The financial services firm Circle confirmed Friday that $3.3 billion of its reserves were tied up at Silicon Valley Bank, resulting in the USDC stablecoin going below one US dollar.

“Stablecoins derive their value from those reserves; if one is worth more than $43 billion – as USDC was earlier on Friday – there should be roughly that much cash or cash-like fixed-income instruments stashed somewhere backing that up. USDC’s market capitalization has now slumped below $40 billion.”

Crypto was born in the aftermath of – and, to some, in response to – the 2008 crisis. Satoshi Nakamoto’s Bitcoin paper debuted into a world where governments had just propped up the financial system by pouring money into it. Crypto lacks such a centralized authority. If SVB customers, including Circle and its USDC stablecoin, are forced to take a haircut on their money, the repercussions are unclear.

Coindesk lost the ability to accept US-Dollar. announced it could only provide euro-denominated banking last week. The exchange lost its ability to accept US-Dollar deposits due to problems with banking partners. Gemini denied that the relationship with JPMorgan had ended in a tweet.



  • PeopleDAO loses $120,000 after the payment spreadsheet is shared publicly (Web 2 is going just great)
  • Meta to end Canadians’ access to news on Facebook and Instagram if Bill C-18 becomes law (The Globe and Mail)
  • WhatsApp has started a fight with the UK about encryption (Wired UK)
  • A conservative Catholic group in Colorado bought a mobile app tracking data worth millions of dollars to identify gay priests across the US. (PC Mag)
  • More than €1.4 billion was invested in European Tech this week (Tech. eu)

Thank you for reading. If you have questions or suggestions, please get in touch with us via

Photo by Jackson Simmer on Unsplash

Five Minute Blockchain Newsletter No. 51

Five Minute Blockchain Newsletter No. 51

Five Minute Blockchain – No. 51

Your weekly newsletter from the TruBlo project reports from the intersection of trust, content and blockchain.

Saturday, 04.03.2023

Estimated reading time: 8 min 27 sec

(Sorry, it was hard to keep in the five-minute range this week, lots of exciting and relevant updates).


“Biased input leading to biased output is a big issue across the board here”.

John Oliver in “Last Week Tonight” on the current state of Artificial Intelligence.


Crypto-focused US bank Silvergate in crisis

The big fear of any bank is that people lose trust in its ability to pay out money.

This is what currently happens with Silvergate. The US bank had served many crypto clients, making it simpler to convert dollars to Bitcoin, etc. The bank achieved a profit of $76m in 2021, and it experienced a net loss of $949m in 2022.

By March 1 this year, the bank said it would not file its annual report to the SEC on time and that the losses were even higher than previously known. In the past few days, crypto exchanges like Coinbase and others said they would stop transactions with the bank. The bank has warned that it might not survive the next 12 months.


Crypto exchange Binance must answer difficult questions

Another crypto company under some external pressure is Binance. The crypto exchange seemed to emerge as the winner after the collapse of FTX. But now Forbes Magazin has published an investigation. The journalists say they found evidence that Binance invested $1.8B, which was meant as collateral for customers’ stablecoins, into a hedge fund. Such practice is considered risky and problematic because there is no real transparency. Binance says nothing is wrong; all transactions were within the boundaries of proper investment. But the market is watching.


Coinbase (commentary)

Coinbase (with an interview of the author of the Forbes article)


Why do the EU and US want to ban TikTok?

TikTok is considered suspicious. Governments outside of China worry that the app could be used to track users and get their data, such as names, locations and other information. It could be that Bytedance has to comply with requests by the Chinese government. As a result, several governments have ordered their staff to delete TikTok from their phones. This week, the EU, the US, Canada, and Denmark are considering a ban.

Benedict Evans, an expert in the digital economy, says the threat is not that people could be spied upon and their data being passed on, as operating systems by now provide considerable protection. Amazingly, in a world of digital devices and highly measurable data flows, the recent actions are primarily based on assumptions but no more profound knowledge of actual data misuse.



How EU data acts affect the handling of data

This spring, several EU acts will be put into practice. Currently they still in draft status. But companies and organizations should anticipate that the new rules go further than GDPR. On the upside the rules are not meant to be only restrictive. In fact the EU commission hopes that the new guidelines will enable a market for data and a productive exchange of information between companies.

Here is a quick overview of the several acts from an article published by Mckinsey:

  • The Data Governance Act creates a new way of managing data to increase trust in and facilitate data sharing.*
  • The Digital Markets Act creates fair and contestable markets for innovation, growth, and competitiveness in the digital sector.
  • The Digital Services Act creates a safer digital space where the rights of all users of digital services are protected.
  • The Data Act regulates access to data in B2B, B2C, and B2G (business-to-government) relationships and while switching between cloud providers.
  • The AI Act enacts stringent regulations of (high-risk) AI systems and prohibiting certain practices.


EU Commission: EU Digital Strategy

Reuters investigation reveals a recycling initiative by Dow as just greenwashing

Determining whether certain initiatives actually deliver on their promises is often difficult in today’s information environment. A few weeks ago, The Guardian had a story that up to 90% of rainforest carbon offsets are worthless.

This week Reuters published the results of an investigation into a sneaker recycling program initiated by the government of Singapore and Dow, the US petrochemical company. They equipped used sneakers supposed to go into the program with hidden AirTags to see where they would end up. As you might have suspected: They were not recycled. Instead, the investigators found them in second-hand stores in Indonesia. Just one story reveals a massive gap between promises and reality. But the story is an example of what needs to change to achieve trustability in many areas of environmental activity.



The new hot job: AI whisperer

The ability to write the right “prompts” for the new AI platforms is becoming a profession in high demand. It is not coding, not writing. Instead, generating prompts is finding the fitting instructions for the best possible results from an AI platform. There are pretty several articles and YouTube videos about the art of the prompt. One awe-inspiring video (link below) shows how to generate highly realistic pictures using certain variations of prompts. You can even use ChatGPT to help you write prompts for visual AI platforms like Dall-E or Midjourney. There are evolving dark arts here, too. An example is the “prompt injection”, – which aims to instruct an AI platform to reveal its instructions (see link below to Ars Technica).

Midjourney prompts (via Medium)
Midjourney prompts for Ultra-Realistic Images (YouTube)
Hyper Realistic Midjourney Images – Complete prompt guide (YouTube)
Ars Technica: How to trick a language model into revealing its programming

AI companies rush to find income streams

Operating the newest AI platforms is expensive, and they demand a lot of computer processing, translating to high hardware, software and electricity costs. Chat GPT reached 100 million users in record time. As a result, AI companies are quick to introduce usage options for money.

Last week Open AI released an API which enables the use of Chat GPT for business. The costs are “0.002 per token or about 750 words”. According to Techcrunch, Snap, Quizlet, Instacart and Shopify are early clients.

One company already seeing increased sales is Nvidia. The graphic card specialist produces a $10,000 chip called the A100, which is in strong demand because of its performance. Need for the follow-up model, the H100, which is only recently going into mass production, grows as fast. (CNBC)

For illustration

The latest version of Stable Diffusion, an image generator, was trained on 256 A100 GPUs, or 32 machines with 8 A100s each, according to information online posted by Stability AI, totaling 200,000 compute hours.

At the market price, training the model alone cost $600,000, Stability AI CEO Mostaque said on Twitter, suggesting in a tweet exchange the price was unusually inexpensive compared to rivals. That doesn’t count the cost of “inference,” or deploying the model.


Open AI ChatGPT API for Business

CNET Editor leaves the job to work on AI content

CNET recently admitted that they used Chat GPT for several published stories, and the criticism was that the origin of the stories was not revealed. Now the CNET editor-in-chief has resigned and will join Red Ventures, a VC fund which had bought CNET, to work on AI projects. At CNET, management announced mass layoffs.

The Verge

How to verify

AI-generated content will profoundly change journalism. But how? To learn more about the expected impact of this technology read an interview with Nic Newman, a senior analyst at Reuters Institute. And, if you want to learn more about verifying content, there is a helpful website.

How to verify

Visual misinformation on Facebook

Scientific results of an extensive study of visual misinformation on Facebook:

“We conduct the first large-scale study of image-based political misinformation on Facebook. We collect 13,723,654 posts from 14,532 pages and 11,454 public groups from August through October 2020, posts that together account for nearly all engagement of U.S. public political content on Facebook. We use perceptual hashing to identify duplicate images and computer vision to identify political figures. Twenty-three percent of sampled political images (N = 1,000) contained misinformation, as did 20% of sampled images (N = 1,000) containing political figures. We find enormous partisan asymmetry in misinformation posts, with right-leaning images 5–8 times more likely to be misleading, but little evidence that misleading images generate higher engagement.”

Journal of Communication


Transparency by design: How next-gen blockchain could help to make greenwashing impossible

Reliability of information and data is the big goal for the future. Blockdata reports a company from Vienna, Austria, named Riddle&Code that tackles this problem. The team has previously worked for several industrial clients, including BMW and Wien Energy, a regional energy provider.

“The company is is now evolving from a project-driven company to a product company. In doing so, it’s taking the well-worn path taken by Amazon with AWS, in the sense that it is making its own infrastructure available commercially, so that others can benefit from the software and hardware stack they’ve developed in-house.”


How to scale blockchain into the future

Three challenges here: Decentralization, security, and scalability. Interesting article here which discusses potential steps towards achieving these goals.


Most innovative crypto, web3 & metaverse companies 2023

Fast Company has a list of companies showing the path to implementing new platforms towards a web3 future. On the list:

  • ROBLOX – For raising the metaverse through its adolescence
  • CHAINALYSIS – For being crypto’s cop on the block(chain)
  • NIKE – For kicking it in digital expression
  • ETHEREUM FOUNDATION – For executing a successful Merge
  • LEDGER – For building the iPod of crypto wallets
  • THE HUNDREDS – For exploding how artists and collectors benefit in Web3
  • DRESSX – For outfitting our avatars
  • LINKSDAO – For hitting the green with its next-gen golf club membership
  • EMPERIA – For building high-street retail in the metaverse
  • MILK ROAD – For laughing all the way through the crypto crash

Fast Company

eNaira CBDC in Nigeria: Low usage and technology problems

Only 0.5% of the population uses it; there are few transactions. The Bank of Nigeria is now seeking a new provider for the technology. It seems there are issues with the blockchain platform used (Hyperledger), for example, regarding scalability. So, the search is on for a different technology stack. Unrelated: Flutterwave, a fintech start-up in Nigeria, is embroiled in a scandal.



  • Bank of Korea finds performance issues with CBDC blockchain tech (Ledger Insights)
  • Another British bank is limiting crypto purchases (Coinmarketcap)
  • In India, a public platform successfully introduced digital payments even for petite purchases (New York Times) ($)
  • Amazon is closing eight cashier-less stores in NYC, San Francisco and Seattle (Bloomberg)

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Five Minute Blockchain Newsletter No. 50

Five Minute Blockchain Newsletter No. 50

Five Minute Blockchain – No. 50


Estimated reading time: 6 min 23 seconds


“Everybody says, ‘We don’t want to talk with the banks, we don’t want to know what they’re doing, etc.’ But they’ve actually been around for 300 or 400 years. They have a lot of experience on how to do things actually, or how not to do things.”

Cointelegraph reporting from European Blockchain Convention in Barcelona


Top search results could lead to online scammers; FBI recommends ad blockers when using search

Cory Doctorow, a well-known journalist, author and activist, recently published a screenshot of a search via Twitter where the top search result for a restaurant led to a fake website designed to scam users. The actual restaurant was also showing up in the search but ranked lower.

This new approach by scams is hard to detect by Google. As one result, the FBI recommends using an ad blocker to shelter against such falsified and malicious links.

“…cyber criminals are using search engine advertisement services to impersonate brands and direct users to malicious sites that host ransomware and steal login credentials and other financial information.”

Cory Doctorow on Twitter

Malware Bytes Lab

AI-generated voice used to break into a bank account

Many banks offer the option to enter an account using a voice command. A reporter for VICE managed to trick a bank system using a free choice to cheat the system. Experts suggest that banks re-consider and switch to different methods of identity verification.


Signal warns it might stop services for the UK should “Online Safety Bil” undermine message encrypt.ion

The Online Safety Bill is currently passing through the UK parliament. Boris Johnson, the former prime minister, introduced it. The government and child protection have argued that encrypted messages make it difficult to fight child abuse.

The UK Home Office said in a statement: “It is important that technology companies make every effort to ensure that their platforms do not become a breeding ground for paedophiles. The Online Safety Bill does not represent a ban on end-to-end encryption but makes clear that technological changes should not be implemented in a way that diminishes public safety – especially the safety of children online”.

Meredith Whittaker, president of Signal, told the BBC it was “magical thinking” if government agencies in the UK want to provide privacy, but “only for the good guys. Encryption is either protecting everyone or it is broken for every. one.”

Apple had previously suggested a system where content where photos on phones or tablets could scan for child abuse but had abandoned the plans after much criticism.


Mozilla study: Developer privacy claims on Google Play can not be trusted

A study by Mozilla calls the labels used in the Google Play Store “a joke” and “useless”:

“The study looked at the privacy information that app developers are supposed to fill out in the Google’s Play Store and compared those details to the apps’ privacy policies. The privacy labels are supposed to give you information about an app’s data practices so you can make informed choices, but the study found the labels are close to useless. Just six apps of the 40 apps in the study got a passing grade.”



Using new AI platforms, the next generation of “deepfakes” could leada  to a whole new level of damage

The people in the videos look r, and they speak compellingly. But they are not real, and their words might be a believable lie. This is the scenario experts say could be the next level of “deepfakes”.

The combination of several AI platforms “…can also be used to more quickly and cheaply build an army of people who don’t exist, fake actors capable of fluently delivering messages in multiple languages. That makes them useful, says Gregory, for the “firehose” strategy of disinformation preferred by Russia, along with everything from “deceptive commercial personalization to the ‘lolz’ strategies of shitposting at scale.”

Fast Company

It is tempting to use generative AI for legal documents. What could go wrong?

Without the help of technology, lawyers spent hours over hours in legal research and the gradual writing of contracts and other legal documents. Now, generative AI has arrived. And it is quite tempting to use the technology to generate legal texts. On one side, experts consider legal documents to be a good use case for generative AI.

There is already a dedicated an AI platform for this use case called Harvey. Law experts created the company behind Harvey using ChatGPT and received $5 million in funding from OpenAI in November 2022 (TechCrunch). The platform describes itself as a “copilot for lawyers”.

Wired has a story with statements from several prominent law firms. Most are optimistic about the use cases for generative AI, for example, for standard documents or early-stage research. But at the same time, there are worries about current platforms making things up and tending to “hallucinate” about topics poorly defined in the learning material. The significant risk is that some law providers signed not to be more cautious and deploy AI to mass-produce certain legal documents – only to find out later that it was a big mistake. (Waitlist)


Wired ($)


European Union starts consultation on whether some companies should pay more for using internet traffic

The EU considers demanding a contribution from the largest tech companies. The money would then be deployed for upgrades for phone lines both at home and mobile. Currently, a document aims to collect opinions in a survey as public consultation. The EU internal market commissioner, Thierry Breton, will discuss the plans at Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress (MWC). The critical argument that big traffic generators should pay more has been part of lobbying by larger telecommunication companies for some years. Now the EU seems to agree with this view. Opponents are highly critical of such different pricing. They say that the move might open a box of pandora because telcos will be free to draw the line for heavy traffic and enable them to charge all kinds of companies.

EU Commission: Exploratory Consultation – The future of the electronic communications sector and its infrastructure

Thierry Breton on Twitter


NFT platform Dapper labs to loff off 20% of its staff

Dapper Labs laid off 134 people, or 22% of its staff, in November 2022. Now the company has announced a second round of layoffs. The reduction comes despite a strong financial position. Dapper Labs had received $600 million from venture capital. The company had an early success with NBA Top Shot, where fans could purchase short professional basketball clips.

The Block

YouTube rolls out multi-language audio tracks

“The multi-language audio feature lets creators add dubbing to new and existing videos, helping them expand their global reach and reach new audiences for their channels, according to YouTube.”



International Monetary Fund: Blockchain can speed up payments and settlements, but crypto still is a “disappointment.”

The IMF sees three areas of application: Tokenization, Encryption and programmability. But the advisers argue that private issuers of (crypto) money can not be trusted to protect investors and users.


Research: State of Blockchain Report 2022

Global venture funding provided $26.8B for blockchain companies in crypto finance, web3 and blockchain infrastructure. While prospects looked positive in early 2022, the entire industry came under macroeconomic pressures, specifically in the 4th quarter of the year. CB Insights has a free (after registration) market overview with 162 pages of charts and data to make sense of it all.

CB Insights


  • Why the 15-minute city is fueling a ludicrous conspiracy theory (Fast Company)
  • Pakistan’s three-day Wikipedia ban sends a “dangerous” message (Rest of World)
  • ConsenSys Acquires Easy-to-Use Blockchain Notification Tool ‘Hal’ to Strengthen Web3 Development (Coindesk)
  • Tencent to offer “metaverse-in-a-box” development services in Asian markets (
  • Google Cloud becomes a validator for Tezos blockchain (Ledger Insights)

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Photo by Vardan Papikyan on Unsplash

Five Minute Blockchain Newsletter No. 49

Five Minute Blockchain Newsletter No. 49

Five Minute Blockchain – Nr. 49


Estimated reading time: 6 minutes, 39 seconds


Open AI aims to avoid biased ChatGPT output

“How should AI systems behave, and who should decide?” That is a relevant question. But it gets even more relevant if this is the headline on a blog post on the website of a currently leading AI company. OpenAI is determined to avoid the big (and costly) controversies that have riddled other large content platforms, such as YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook, for years. Yet, with the incredible dynamics unleashed as AI chat software is added to the search, avoiding big problems is the big challenge.

Open AI

Mira Murati, CTO @OpenAI on Twitter

Researchers warn about the potential of AI use for “automated propaganda”

There is a horror scenario the newest AI content platforms could help to produce “automated to spread very convincing and effective disinformation”. Only last week, there were news reports in Canada that state-funded actors fueled the”Freedom Convoy” in 2022 to weaken the Trudeau government.

Now researchers from leading AI companies warn that without preparation, such events might become more regular:

“A cohort of researchers from OpenAI, Stanford, and Georgetown Universities are warning that large language models like the kind used by ChatGPT could be used as part of disinformation campaigns to help more easily spread propaganda.”


National Observer Canada

Google launches “privacy sandbox” on Android as an alternative to user tracking for ads

The question here is not so much whether it works but what happens if this approach by Google fails. The company would be in even bigger trouble than through the recent competition from Microsoft/Open AI.

From The Verge:

“Around this time last year, Google revealed it was working on a multiyear initiative to improve privacy and remodel ad tracking on Android phones, bringing the mobile platform in line with Apple’s App Tracking Transparency feature for iOS. Following the release of an early developer preview last April, Google says the first beta for Privacy Sandbox on Android will start rolling out tomorrow (ed. = February 15 2023) to a limited number of Android 13 devices, allowing users and developers to test the new technology in the real world.” (The Verge)

From Ars Technica:

“Privacy Sandbox, on Chrome and Android, tracks users by interest groups rather than individually, which Google claims is a privacy improvement. Android will soon build an advertising profile of you, and the user interface will let you block “interests” you don’t want to see ads for.” (Ars Technica)

When your data sells better than milk and eggs

“When you use supermarket discount cards, you are sharing much more than what is in your cart.”

The MarkUp has a longer article about what happens with your data (based on practices of US supermarkets). But data generated via discount cards, which combine a person and grocery purchases, are generally sold for a profit, not just in the US.

The Markup

Even the stars of Fox Corporation did not believe in election fraud

Messages and testimony from top TV presenters and management of Fox News revealed as part of a defamation lawsuit filed by Dominion Voter Systems shows: Although Fox News reported about the topic, many did not believe the claims that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald J. Trump.

The New York Times ($)


CEO Susan Wojcicki steps down as CEO of YouTube

Is it relevant when a senior tech executive steps down from leading a large platform? Yes, in this case, it is notable. First, this is a reminder that for the past 25 years, intelligent people working for Google have built the dominant platforms in several areas. Google is the leader in search, and YouTube is the biggest video platform.

“During her tenure, YouTube became increasingly important to the business for Google, which bought the site in 2006, and Alphabet, the holding company that houses both of them: In 2022, YouTube generated $29.2 billion in ad sales — more than 10 percent of Alphabet’s total revenue.”

YouTube: A personal update from Susan

Launch of Bard is considered “un-googly.”

“Google employees aren’t holding back about the substandard launch of ChatGPT competitor Bard. According to CNBC, which viewed the posts, staffers have been posting memes on Google’s internal forum Memegen about how the launch of the generative AI tool was handled, directly calling out CEO Sundar Pichai for the misstep. Memes which got a lot of upvotes included a picture of Pichai and said “Dear Sundar, the Bard launch and the layoffs were rushed, botched, and myopic.”



Mastodon usage going down after the spike

The takeover of Twitter by Elon Musk in October 2022 led to an exodus of users; many selected Mastodon as an alternative. But Mastodon can not compete with Twitter, at least for now – there are not as many users, so the network effect of more prominent Twitter is hard to beat.

“Mastodon’s active monthly user count dropped to 1.4 million by late January. It now has nearly half a million fewer total registered users than at the start of the year. Many newcomers have complained that Mastodon is hard to use. Some have returned to the devilish bird they knew: Twitter.”

Wired ($)


Abu Dhabi: $2 Billion Investment program for web3 and blockchain startups

“The capital’s tech ecosystem, called Hub71, has officially launched its brand new Hub71+ Digital Assets, which will be based at Hub71 in Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM). With a massive capital of $2 billion, Hub71+ Digital Assets aims to fund different startups in the Web3 field and offer them access to “an extensive range” of programs and initiatives, as well as corporate, government, and investment partners both in the country and globally”.


Bitcoin NFTs: Ordinals and inscriptions

New software releases enable new models for content and Bitcoin. There is considerable buzz about this new development.


Inscriptions are digital artifacts native to the Bitcoin blockchain. They are created by inscribing sats with content using ord, and can be viewed with the ordinals explorer. They do not require a separate token, a side chain, or changing Bitcoin.

ord 0.4.0

ord is an open-source binary written in Rust and developed on GitHub. It implements an ordinal wallet, which can create and transfer inscriptions, and a block explorer. There are public mainnet, signet, and testnetinstances.ord is experimental software and comes with no warranty or guarantees.

Casey Rodarmor’s Blog



Taurus gets $65 million to support digital asset management for banks

Credit Swiss and others have invested $65 million in series B venture funding in Taurus. The company is based in Switzerland; the focus is digital asset management, specifically for banks. Three years ago, Taurus already received $11 million. It is an example of a company using distributed ledger/blockchain technology elements to provide better solutions for specific areas.

“We see great potential in the digital asset space, that means tokenization of regulated securities,” a spokesperson said. “Furthermore we believe that by using the DLT [distributed ledger technology] new features can be brought to financial products which in the past were not possible or very expensive. When we speak to some of our clients, we see continued interest in the technology and its possibilities.”

The Block

Analysis: 24% of tokens launched in 2022 lost up to 90% of their value, indicating “pump-and-dump” activities

“Pump and dump schemes in traditional finance are quite simple: Holders of a tradable asset, such as stock in a company, will heavily hype and promote the asset to other investors, often using misleading statements, causing the price to rise rapidly as new investors buy. The holders will then sell their overvalued shares at a profit, causing the price to plummet, leaving the newer investors stuck with a low-value asset. Unfortunately, pump and dump schemes have also become common in the crypto world.”



  • Terraform Labs and founder Do Kwon sued in the US for selling unregistered securities and perpetrating a scheme that lost $40B+ in market value. Remarkable that this is merely a side note. (Bloomberg)
  • Reuters Exclusive: Crypto gain Binance move $400 million from US partner to firm managed by CEO Zhao (Reuters)
  • Chinese Tencent cuts 300 people’s strong metaverse unit and dropped VR hardware development (Reuters)
  • Germany raises red flags over Palantir’s Big Data Dragnet (Wired)

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