There are two tech sectors that over the past decade have emerged from their peers as generators of change on an unprecedented scale. These two sectors are AI and blockchain. The progress we have made with developments in AI technology is frightening at times. The world is changing before our eyes, faster than we can process, and our lives are becoming more intertwined with AI by the day.
Blockchain technology has grown from being an obscure field of doubtful value to more than a trillion dollar industry in the space of a few years. What was once consigned to far and away corners of the internet has made its way to Wall Street (and Main Street for that matter). Blockchain and crypto is as alive as it has ever been, with bitcoin once again drawing closer to its all-time high and a cohort of altcoins following suit.
There are those in the industry, however, that think that major changes need to be made. Security, a problem that has been a thorn in the side of blockchain tech since its inception, is still a topic of discussion, and the Poly Network hack of last month shows that the issues are still very much relevant. There has been over $1 billion worth of cryptocurrency stolen over the past year by hackers exploiting weaknesses in the system.
While there are many projects trying to address the current issues at play, one is looking to tech’s other golden child, AI technology, for answers. GBC.AI is a project that is trying to bridge these two flourishing sectors by bringing in AI to the blockchain space. We were able to speak with Pavel Entin, CEO and co-founder of GBC.AI about his project, the unique challenges his team faces and why what they are doing will have huge repercussions for the rest of the blockchain industry.
Q: Could you explain a bit about your project? Why AI? How can AI help blockchain projects?
Pavel Entin: Of course. So GBC.AI was started when I got together with a bunch of really incisive, tech-minded people. And the reason we got together was because we all recognized something and we felt like it was obvious, what we were seeing, and something that we needed to get to work on.
What we saw was the opportunity for AI to be incorporated into blockchain in a transformative way. Since the development of blockchain there has been a lot floated around about the prospect of AI getting incorporated into blockchain, but there’s been a lack of concrete use cases. The first thing we did was we nailed down how exactly AI would be incorporated and how it could improve things.
In the simplest terms, what we have gone on to develop is a means of making blockchains malleable and reactive. We have created what we call AI blockchain guardians. Basically they get incorporated and act as agents of change that allow the blockchain to react to internal and external pressure. This is key when we are talking about security, because it changes the game entirely.
Q: How exactly does it strengthen security?
PE: So, with the guardians the blockchain becomes dynamic and, more importantly, becomes self-aware to a certain degree. What I mean by that, is that with the AI guardians the blockchain is able to recognize weak points that it has. Usually, once a blockchain is launched, that’s it, it’s a finished product. You can perform upgrades and what not, but those are rare events. If there is a security breach or a threat, you can’t exactly stop everything to get to work fixing it. With AI, that whole equation changes. The AI works to optimize operations and make sure that vulnerabilities are anticipated and dealt with before they become problems.
Q: Your project is very ambitious. There has been a lot of speculation about connecting AI with blockchain and even a good deal of attempts and research towards that end. Why did you guys decide to join such a crowded field?
PE: We came into this space believing that we could use AI tech in a specific way to improve blockchain operations. Before us there have been no successful use cases where AI has been brought into the blockchain. What we have been able to do is unprecedented. Let’s say Solana and Velas fully integrate our solution within the next 6 months (ok, let’s be more realistic and say 12 months). This will open a completely new field of development and many companies will try to do the same. Undoubtedly the field of mixing AI and blockchain will grow and draw in outside investors. GBC.AI, as pioneers in this field, will have the advantage of having a working product and experience.
Even if there is a delay on the blockchain side to integrate such a solution, as they are often very slow to make changes, we’ve thought of a solution. Most blockchains are open source, so we can fork Solana or Velas for example and launch our own blockchain with the guardians integrated. Such an approach would give us flexibility and give developers and users a choice in terms of which they want to use.
There are solutions within the blockchain industry that are widely used now, but which, when they were initially developed, were viewed skeptically concerning their potential to be applied to real uses cases. The same is happening now; it’s a new field and people are unsure of its merits. But we are sure and we have the results to back it up. We wanted to get into this space to expand the industry’s horizons. We really believe in this technology, and given the successful track record, I think it is only a matter of time before others come around to our point of view.
Q: Can you tell us a bit about the experiences you’ve had already integrating into blockchains?
PE: We have been able to successfully apply GBC.AI tech to two major blockchains, Solana and Velas. Solana is one of DeFi’s biggest actors and we were able to set up a Solana test net in a short amount of time and boost the blockchain’s productivity by 10-30% depending on the hardware being used. Those percentages amount to huge differences in functionality and security. From a security point of view, imagine you are trying to exploit a blockchain. Normally you would have an unmoving target. Now, with the guardians at work, you have a moving, reactive entity that responds to the internal and external environment. This is a much harder target.
We have also worked with Velas to bring in blockchain guardians in order to optimize their network’s operation. The project employs the guardians to create a neural network that uses historical data to simulate outcomes and predict on-chain scenarios. By doing this, Velas is able to predict workflow disruptions and anticipate issues well ahead of time, while also bolstering the network’s security.
Q: The crypto and blockchain industry changes and develops at a very fast pace. Are you afraid that the industry will move in a different direction, and AI solutions like yours won’t be necessary?
PE: That’s certainly true, that the speed at which things change here is alarmingly fast. But I am not really worried about the industry moving in a different direction. I think what we are doing is central to the decentralized mission, the vision that put all of this in motion. The industry is moving collectively to where we are. Look at all the different ways that Chainlink is bringing in outside data to the blockchain via oracles. With The Graph they are incorporating huge data sets that will greatly improve chain functionality.
What we are doing is in a similar vein, but the potential for improvement is even greater. In its full form, what we are trying to do is not just an add on or an integration, it is a reworking of how blockchains operate. If we are going to remain decentralized without putting users at risk our solution is a necessity.
Q: And who will be bringing this to fruition? Can you shed a light on your team?
PE: We’ve got a great team that I am really proud of for everything they have managed to do already. Our team has outstanding experience in AI, together with a few blockchain experts. That makes us special, in that we think outside of the box when compared with the rest of the blockchain industry. I encourage people to check out our lightpaper to get acquainted with everybody. The core of the team came together, as I mentioned previously, when we collectively realized that there was a need that we could meet with AI tech. From a technical standpoint, we’ve got some of the best and brightest.
Q: You are not alone in trying to integrate AI into blockchain tech. How do you guys stand out from the rest?
PE: The way we see it and our previous experience. This generation has to produce certain things before we can progress into further stages of development. There are things that have to come to fruition. These things weren’t very clear when we all got started working together, but the further we went, and the further the industry went, the more clear they became. Incorporating AI into blockchain is something that absolutely has to get done. The advantages are too great for it not to happen. So, as long as we stand on the precipice of that happening, we will not be able to move forward to what lies next.
My team and our project are capable of making that a reality. We truly believe that it is only a matter of time before others recognize that the work we are doing is vital to the future health of the entire industry. The scope may be relatively small right now, but we think the results speak for themselves. And we’ve got a lot more on the way.
Our ultimate goal is to build an AI framework for the blockchain industry. That means creating a set of tools that would allow for the usage of trained artificial neural networks within blockchains. We want to provide developers with an easy way to integrate AI into blockchain.