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Urban Clouds

👉 Issue #49 of QX Snapshots is out!

Welcome to QX Snapshots - a weekly recap of the key news on emerging technologies. In this newsletter, you will get a "digest" of the latest info on Enterprise Blockchain, AI, Quantum Technology, and Metaverse. Hope it brings you value :)

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Every Friday we share key snapshot news on AI, Quantum Technologies, Industrial Metaverse, and Enterprise Blockchain/DLT.

Join our trusted readers at Microsoft, Verizon, Facebook, ServiceNow, ConsenSys, U.S Bank, Morgan Stanley, Duke University, EY, Sky, Informa, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Santander, and others.

[Blockchain] Outlier Ventures: $10-15 trillion for RWA tokenization TAM too low, Tokenized Asset Coalition reports on State of Tokenization, Thailand’s retail access to real estate tokens, and UDPN Partners with Digital Pound Foundation. Outlier Ventures released its ‘Tokenizing Real World Assets: 2024 Thesis’. The firm believes the $10-15 trillion estimated total addressable market for real-world asset tokenization by 2030 is too low. The report states that converting physical or intangible assets like property and carbon credits into tradable blockchain tokens promises vast efficiency gains across sectors. However estimates overlook value increases from enhanced price discovery and market creation after tokenization. Bringing real-world assets on-chain also unlocks smart contract potential, extending blockchain's computational reach. Ultimate endgame is an economically complex, computable economy where tokenization enables greater productivity. The Tokenized Asset Coalition released its first State of Tokenization Report in collaboration with  Ava Labs, Aave, Centrifuge, Coinbase, Goldfinch, Maple Finance, and It is focused on compliance, security, growth and adoption. The report explores tokenized risk curves, crypto venture capital trends, market commentary, and more. TAC will continue producing robust content as its expertise and membership expands, collectively working to transform finance through efficiency, transparency and accessibility. Meanwhile, Thailand's securities regulator eased restrictions around some tokenized real-world assets, allowing broader retail investor participation. Rules permit public coin offerings for property-linked tokens without previous caps, aiming to facilitate fundraising for national development projects. Also, the Universal Digital Payments Network (UDPN), a payment infrastructure (wholesale) connecting various digital currencies, announced a strategic partnership with the Digital Pound Foundation. Together they will explore regulatory developments and drive use cases for CBDCs and stablecoins across jurisdictions. The UDPN team is conducting 12 proof-of-concept experiments in collaboration with various global banks, technology firms, and payment service providers. This series enables participants to investigate a range of use cases and scenarios. To learn more about the UDPN, watch our QualitaX webinar during which we discussed the future of global payments infrastructure with the UDPN team. 

[AI] Meta's New Llama 3 Aims to Challenge GPT-4, Google's AlphaGeometry Solves Olympiad Geometry, and OpenAI Explores Democratic AI Governance. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the company is currently training Llama 3, its next large language model aiming to rival GPT-4. He said Meta's long-term vision is building and open sourcing general intelligence responsibly for broad access. Zuckerberg also revealed Meta is massively scaling its computing infrastructure, procuring 350,000 Nvidia H100 GPUs to power its ambitious AI roadmap. Meanwhile, Google DeepMind created an AI system called AlphaGeometry that can solve complex geometry problems at the level of top high school students. Mastering geometry is difficult for AI due to limited training data and logical complexity. Instead of demonstrations, AlphaGeometry trained itself by generating millions of theorems. When tested on challenging Olympiad problems, it solved 25 out of 30, nearing human gold medalist performance. The breakthrough shows AI progress in practical uses beyond language. Also, Runway updated its Gen-2 model with Multi Motion Brush, enabling users to add multiple independent motions to different areas of AI-generated videos. Users paint portions of an image and adjust sliders to define the direction and intensity of movements. This unique capability builds on tools like single-motion brushes for finer output control. However outputs still have imperfections, and ethical concerns around synthetic media remain unresolved across providers. In other news, spanning diverse expertise. Grantees tested ideas like video deliberation platforms, crowdsourced model audits, and mapping beliefs to tune behaviors. Key learnings included digital divide challenges and coherent aggregation of diverse perspectives. OpenAI now plans an end-to-end process incorporating external inputs into model training. By open-sourcing code and summaries, the experiment advanced the participatory alignment of AI with societal values.

[Quantum Technology] NATO Unveils Quantum Strategy for Defense, Microsoft Open-Sources Azure Quantum Tool, China's Quantum Computer Origin Wukong Draws Global Users Amid U.S. Rivalry. NATO released its first quantum strategy outlining how quantum technologies can transform sensing, communications, computing and other areas relevant to modern defense and security. With profound implications either enhancing or threatening military capabilities, NATO seeks "quantum-readiness" to capitalize on emerging innovations while preventing adversarial use. This entails fostering development, setting standards, transitioning systems to quantum-safe cryptography, building skilled workforces, and supply chain awareness. Quantum's reliance on enabling technologies also necessitates broader ecosystem coordination. Hence NATO is establishing a Transatlantic Quantum Community engaging government, industry, and academia to steer technological competition. While less ethically concerning than some advanced technologies, responsible innovation principles will still guide NATO's approach to realizing quantum security potential while being prepared for malicious applications. Meanwhile, Microsoft has open-sourced its Azure Quantum Resource Estimator, a tool for benchmarking and collaborating across quantum computing disciplines. This unified platform aims to guide the development of logical qubit applications for achieving practical quantum advantage. With adjustable parameters and SDK compatibility, it allows rapid exploration of trade-offs to accelerate the path toward fault-tolerant quantum computing. By open-sourcing this advanced resource estimation tool, Microsoft enables broader collaboration with the global quantum community. Also, China's advanced quantum computer, Origin Wukong, has attracted over 350,000 remote users from 61 countries since opening access on January 6th. It seems that visitors from the United States top the user list, though specifics were not disclosed. The machine has completed nearly 34,000 quantum computing tasks for its global user base. While showcasing impressive progress, China still trails Western quantum capabilities. IBM and Atom Computing in the U.S. operate systems with over 1,000 qubits, significantly outpacing Origin Wukong. Still, its co-founder Guo Guoping took the chance to critique U.S. restrictions, advocating for scientific openness.

[Metaverse] China Forms Metaverse Standards Group with Tech Giants, Japanese VR Developer Launches Metaverse High School, Saudi $590m Investment in Magic Leap. China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has formed a working group to establish standards for the metaverse. The group comprises government representatives and major Chinese tech firms like Huawei, Ant Group, Tencent, and others. Though MIIT hasn't specified focus areas, the move aligns with China's ongoing efforts to address metaverse challenges and ensure the industry's healthy development through guidance and standardization. While acknowledging the metaverse's potential as an integrated innovation, MIIT had cited unclear definitions enabling speculation. The standards could benefit Chinese web giants like Tencent and NetEase as China bets big on adopting metaverse technology. With the country mulling metaverse norms over recent months, the working group signals a concerted push towards strategic national-level adoption. Meanwhile, Japanese VR developer AOMINEXT is building a metaverse high school system to enable remote attendance using custom 3D avatars. In cooperation with Yushi International High School, the 3-year curriculum carries credits is recognized by Japan's Ministry of Education and leads to the same high-school diplomas as regular high-schools. Students receive free VR equipment and can join classes from anywhere while “expressing themselves independently of appearance”. This virtual school aims to make quality education more accessible through immersive technology. A presentation video is available here. Also, Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund has invested $590 million into Magic Leap, a US virtual reality company. This propels Magic Leap's total funding above $4.5 billion, positioning it as a major competitor to Apple and Meta in the VR space. The substantial backing will enable Magic Leap to accelerate research and development of next-generation VR headsets to rival industry leaders. 

[General technology]  UK's Cyber League and NIST Tackle Emerging Threats, VF Corp Faces Massive Customer Data Breach. The UK's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has launched a new initiative ‘Cyber League’, bringing together NCSC and industry cyber experts to address major threats facing the UK. This diverse, voluntary group of professionals leverages its collective knowledge through analytic workshops and discussions, improving visibility into emerging dangers. Qualified organizations must have a strong UK presence and cybersecurity/threat intelligence focus. While complementing NCSC's Industry 100 secondment program, Cyber League also welcomes those unable to commit to Industry 100 but still possessing valuable expertise. Up to three individuals in an organization can join the Cyber League community, provided they have the relevant cyber experience and knowledge. Also, NIST has released draft guidance on measuring cybersecurity program effectiveness to enable data-driven risk management. Intended to evolve qualitative assessments into quantitative metrics, it offers a customizable approach to selecting, evaluating, and presenting security controls' adequacy. By establishing standardized cybersecurity benchmarks, the guidance facilitates communication with leadership through trends and numbers. NIST welcomes public input on the draft and proposes creating an Information Security Measurement Community of Interest for collaborative refinement. Meanwhile, VF Corp, parent company of popular apparel brands Vans, Supreme, and The North Face, disclosed that hackers stole personal data of 35.5 million customers in a December cyberattack. While details remain unclear, VF stated it does not store Social Security numbers, bank info, or payment card data. The attack, likely by ransomware gang ALPHV, encrypted systems and disrupted e-commerce order fulfillment. Though VF has substantially restored impacted IT infrastructure, minor residual impacts persist a month later. Still, VF expects minimal financial damage overall. The breach compromised customers’ personal information but seemingly avoided highly sensitive financial data. 

👉 Mark your calendar: 'Empowering Interoperability in Tokenization with Decentralized Identity'

𝐃𝐚𝐭𝐞: Thursday, January 25, 2023 - 1pm GMT

As the momentum around real-world asset (RWA) tokenization accelerates, the need for standardizing decentralized ID (DID) becomes increasingly critical. Establishing a uniform DID framework is not just vital for achieving interoperability within the blockchain ecosystem, but it is also essential for ensuring compliance with evolving regulatory standards.

Join us on Thursday, January 25 to explore innovations in decentralized identity management, focusing on DigiShares and Polygon ID collaboration to develop the Decentralized ID for Tokenization (DITO) framework.

Claus Skaaning, CEO of DigiSharesMartin Hoťka, Blockchain Developer at DigiShares and Sebastian Rodriguez , VP of Product at Polygon ID will provide valuable insights into the collaboration and the potential impact of the DITO framework on the DeFi and tokenization landscape.

👉 Catchup: This week, I had the pleasure of hosting Roberto (Rob) Durscki , Senior Director of RWA Tokenization at the Stellar Development Foundation to explore why major players like Franklin Templeton, ABN Amro, and Wisdom Tree are turning to Stellar for regulated tokenization ventures across stablecoins, funds, precious metals, and more. 

Recording is now available on Youtube.

FEATURED: Illuminating Ethereum's Order Flow Landscape

By: Angela Lu

“We live in a world where decentralized finance ("defi") market structure and transaction execution is constantly changing, and poorly understood by most. Among this complexity, it is easy to forget that defi's market structure today is meaningfully different from the current state of traditional finance ("tradfi"). From the roots of a permissionless, global, decentralized genesis, defi is already well along the path to addressing a number of the criticisms levied at tradfi execution, by market participants and regulators alike.

In this post, we cast light on the state of defi order and transaction flow today. We will show how defi has distinguished itself from the traditional order flow market, and discuss the challenges to achieving our shared dream of systems that remain decentralized while maximally benefiting the user.

We will argue that the SEC, Citadel, and Flashbots (among many others) have been perfectly aligned on their identification of market failures and desired market outcomes from the beginning. We will outline a number of problems identified by tradfi market participants themselves with the payment for order flow ("PFOF") landscape, and argue that defi has a meaningful chance of addressing these market failures directly.

We will show that Ethereum's order flow landscape represents a nascent and fragile opportunity, showcasing a decentralized version of a robust order flow processing network using centralized infrastructure. We will argue that permissionless networks of searchers and liquidity provision can create competitive order execution, escaping tradfi’s reliance on a handful of sophisticated market makers to do so. We will argue that what defi needs to truly fulfill its vision and promise is to maintain the existing decentralization in this market, while also increasing competition and the ability to decentralize infrastructure at every layer of the stack.”

Read the full article: here.


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