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👉 Issue #52 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 +300 trusted readers at U.S Bank, Eurasian Development Bank, EY, Morgan Stanley, BNY Mellon, Microsoft, Verizon, Facebook, ServiceNow, ConsenSys, Polygon Labs, Duke University, Sky, Informa, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Santander, and others.

[Blockchain] UBS Debuts Hong Kong's First Blockchain-Based Tokenized Warrant, Abu Dhabi Global Market x Solana, GoDaddy x ENS, and Saudi Arabia's $250M DeepTech Venture with Hashgraph Association. UBS launched Hong Kong's first investment-grade tokenized warrant on the Ethereum blockchain through its in-house tokenization service UBS Tokenize. The product is a call warrant on Xiaomi stock sold to OSL Digital Securities. The tokenized warrant enhances transparency, reduces fees, streamlines settlement, and enables flexible trading hours. OSL simulated the full life cycle from minting to burning at maturity. UBS views tokenization as the next step in its longstanding blockchain and digital asset efforts to develop institutional-grade infrastructure. Features like accessibility, efficiency, and transparency make tokenized warrants advantageous. Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) has partnered with the Solana Foundation to advance blockchain adoption in the UAE. This aligns with ADGM’s vision to be a hub for technology-driven financial services following its pioneering DLT Foundations Regulations. The collaboration will explore joint initiatives related to developing Abu Dhabi's blockchain and web3 ecosystem. Solana Foundation will lend its expertise to encourage industry engagement and evolve regulatory frameworks. Together, ADGM and Solana aim to cement Abu Dhabi’s leadership in the blockchain sector and drive innovative blockchain projects in the UAE. Also, the Hashgraph Association has partnered with Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Investment to launch a $250 million DeepTech Venture Studio in Riyadh over 5 years. The studio will empower the next generation of Web3 entrepreneurs to leverage deep technologies. It aims to onboard over 500 companies, providing funding, training, support services and connections with government stakeholders. This aligns with Saudi Vision 2030's focus on human capital and innovation. The partnership will also fosters cross-border entrepreneurship exchange between Switzerland and Saudi Arabia. In other news, GoDaddy is partnering with Ethereum Name Service (ENS) so customers can connect their domain names to ENS-compatible wallets like Coinbase and MetaMask. This bridges domain names with blockchain, allowing domains to act as web addresses for wallets. 

[AI] Google's Gemini Ultra 1.0, LlamaIndex and FlowiseAI for  No-Code AI Development, Stable Audio Unveils AudioSparx 1.0 open-source model, US Forms AI Safety Institute Consortium. Google has rebranded its AI chatbot Bard as Gemini to reflect their most capable family of models. Two new experiences are launching - Gemini Advanced gives access to Gemini Ultra 1.0, their largest state-of-the-art conversational AI model which Google claims, outperforms competitors. It is available as part of a new Google One AI Premium subscription. A mobile app provides on-the-go access to Gemini and Gemini Advanced on Android and iOS. Meanwhile, LlamaIndex and FlowiseAI have integrated their no-code platforms to enable building high-quality retrieval-augmented generation (RAG) systems visually. FlowiseAI provides an open source visual interface for assembling LLM-powered apps by stringing together components like retrievers, synthesizers, and chat engines in a drag-and-drop workflow. LlamaIndex offers the data ingestion, structuring, and advanced retrieval capabilities to connect those apps to private or domain-specific data sources. Together, they allow rapidly creating chatbots or RAG agents without coding. Also,  Stable Audio released AudioSparx 1.0, a new open-source model for generating long-form, variable-length music conditioned on text prompts. Leveraging efficient latent diffusion and timing embeddings, it can create up to 95 seconds of 44.1kHz stereo audio in just 8 seconds on an A100 GPU. Despite fast inference, AudioSparx ranks among top models in text-to-music benchmarks. Uniquely, it generates structured music with stereo sound, overcoming limitations of state-of-the-art text-conditional models only producing short, mono, unstructured audio. This research enables controllable synthesis of long-form music and sounds on commodity hardware. The demo is available here, the github repo here. The US Department of Commerce launched the 200+ member AI Safety Institute Consortium under the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). It aims for members including OpenAI, Google, Anthropic, and Meta to collaborate to advance safe, trustworthy AI. Efforts include guidelines for security, evaluations, risk management, and synthetic content. Consortium unites industry, government, and academia.

[Quantum Technology] Linux Foundation Launches Initiative with AWS, Cisco, Google, IBM to Tackle Quantum Threats, Chinese Scientists Make Quantum Breakthrough, UK Invests £45M in Quantum Future. The Linux Foundation has launched the Post-Quantum Cryptography Alliance (PQCA) to address the security threats quantum computing poses to cryptography. With founding members like AWS, Cisco, Google, IBM, and others, the PQCA will advance the development and adoption of post-quantum cryptography to secure sensitive data and communications. It will produce high-assurance software implementations of new standardized algorithms and support continued research. The PQCA builds on decade-long efforts by members to prepare for the transition and will host existing initiatives like the Open Quantum Safe project. Meanwhile, Chinese scientists from the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) have used a powerful quantum simulator to visually observe and quantify a phenomenon called the "pairing pseudogap" within a model quantum gas. The breakthrough was enabled by their development of a high-quality quantum gas system and precise measurement capabilities. Understanding the pseudogap in superconducting materials is key to uncovering the mechanisms behind high-temperature superconductivity. By simulating this phenomenon in a quantum model, the research could be a milestone towards mastering practical applications of superconductivity in areas like energy transmission. Also, the UK government is investing £45 million to advance its quantum industry and work towards a quantum-enabled economy by 2033. £30 million will fund quantum computing prototypes for experimentation, while £15 million from the Quantum Catalyst Fund will accelerate public sector adoption of quantum technologies. Projects include a quantum brain scanner for improved diagnosis and a navigation system for trains. This funding builds on the UK’s decade-long, £1 billion National Quantum Technologies Programme to establish global leadership across quantum sensing, imaging, communications and computing. With its National Quantum Strategy committing £2.5 billion over the next decade, the UK aims to transform sectors like healthcare and energy through real-world quantum applications.

[Metaverse] BIS Warns Against Unregulated Metaverse, Bloomberg Launches Terminal App for Apple Vision, ByteDance Introduces Employees VR Therapy, Shenglong Electric Debuts Metaverse Smart Building System. The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) published a report titled “The economic implications of services in the metaverse” warning that an unregulated metaverse risks fragmenting digital economies and empowering large tech firms. It advocates efficient, interoperable payments and data/consumer protection standards to prevent concentration of power. Report weighs pros and cons of centralized versus decentralized metaverse models. A decentralized metaverse gives users control but participation mechanisms could be superficial. It argues decentralized governance may be illusory. Centralization risks rent-seeking fees and data privacy issues. BIS calls for regulatory frameworks to shape the metaverse in the public interest as the technology continues evolving. Meanwhile, Bloomberg has launched a new Bloomberg Pro for Vision app built specifically for Apple Vision Pro to boost productivity. It bridges the gap between traditional multi-monitor desktops and Vision's infinite canvas. The app gives users ubiquitous access to core Bloomberg Terminal functionality via AR glasses, while protected financial info keeps sensitive data secure. Key features include data and streaming content in a customizable workspace that optimizes Vision's hands-free capabilities. And, ByteDance is offering new VR therapy benefits to employees through a partnership with XRHealth. Employees can access XRHealth's physical, occupational and behavioral health therapies from home or ByteDance clinics using immersive virtual reality. The data insights also let therapies be evaluated and adjusted for better outcomes. Also, Shenglong Electric recently unveiled a metaverse-based smart building management system at their technology expo in Beijing. The system integrates over 20 subsystems like HVAC and security to enable autonomous optimization of energy use and temperatures based on building occupancy. This first real-world demonstration of a metaverse intelligent building reduced operation costs by 70% and energy use by 15%. It predicts visitor numbers to adjust cooling and heating accordingly, with no need for human intervention or traditional control panels. 

[General technology]  1X Unveils Advanced Humanoid Robots with Neural Network Learning, CERN Deploys Robot Dog for Radiation Monitoring, Dyson School Innovators Sweep Amazon-Imperial Robotics Awards. 1X, the humanoid robotics company backed by OpenAI released a new video demonstrated the capability of its robots. 1X 's mission is to provide physical labor through safe, intelligent humanoid androids powered entirely by neural networks. Their robots learn behaviors like driving and object manipulation directly from camera images, with no scripts or teleoperation. The video shows new skills learned end-to-end, including opening doors, transporting objects, and interacting with people. These capabilities were trained by having operators provide demonstration data to a base model that encompasses a diverse range of physical behaviors. Fine-tuning this on specific tasks allows rapidly acquiring new skills from just minutes of added data. Meanwhile, the CERN has tested using a robot dog to monitor radiation levels and inspect equipment in the Large Hadron Collider. Unlike CERN's existing robots which run on wheels or rails, the dog can freely navigate obstacles like loose wires and climb stairs. In its first radiation protection test, the robodog patrolled areas wheeled bots can't access to examine the environment with cameras and sensors. CERN plans to develop software to automate tasks and deploy more agile dog bots to complement rail and wheeled robots in detecting hazards across the facility. Also, Three Dyson School of Design Engineering PhD students won all categories in the Amazon-Imperial Robotics Awards recognizing outstanding robotics research contributions. Yukun Ge won early-stage for his origami capsule endoscope propelled by intestines to detect tumors. Barry Mulvey took mid-stage for real-time sensor integration enabling mobile robots to reshape themselves when navigating obstacles. Digby Chappell won late-stage for advancing myoelectric prosthetics through VR training, novel controls, and reimagining hand design to improve usability. Their bio-inspired and human-centred innovations showcase the school's strengths in embodied robot intelligence and their students' transformative potential recognized by the awards.

💡 On Tuesday, we had the pleasure of hosting Karen Scarbrough, Executive Director at the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA). We discussed the key findings from the Ethereum Enterprise Alliance's 2023 Enterprise Ethereum Business Readiness Report. In the latest edition of over 100 pages, the EEA provides its most comprehensive assessment yet of Ethereum's growing adoption as an enterprise-grade business platform.

FEATURED: On Standardized Service Interfaces for the Interoperability of Tokenized Asset Networks

By: Thomas Hardjono (MIT) , Alexander Lipton (MIT), Alex Pentland (MIT)

“Many businesses seeking new capabilities that blockchains may offer are deterred from fully embracing the technology due to fears of the classic "vendor lock-in" and platform-capture into one specific blockchain. From an asset-centric perspective, most business applications seek certain desirable functional guarantees with regard to the state of the tokenized asset on the blockchain. These new capabilities must be accessible through standardized service interfaces. The emerging tokenized asset networks based on decentralized ledger technology must integrate seamlessly into existing financial IT systems through similar standard interfaces. As such, if blockchains are to be a foundational technology in the future Web3 Internet of Value, then several classes and types of standardized APIs must be specified, published, and widely deployed by the nascent tokenized asset industry. These standard APIs must provide business applications with a single uniform interface to the many and varied blockchains today, thereby reducing business IT costs and preventing platform-capture.



The increased number of blockchain networks (Layer-1) indicates a maturity in technology development where multiple blockchains offer similar or identical functions. The diminishing returns obtainable by new blockchain entrants are also another indicator of the maturity of the current offerings [1, 2]. At the same time, the design deficiencies of many blockchains have been made bare (e.g., slow settlement time, high processing costs, increasing size of storage needed by nodes, etc) [3]. In some cases, these limitations have necessitated the invention of Layer-2 networks to solve many of these inherent limitations of Layer-1 networks1. Many implementers of Layer-2 networks see them as an opportunity to differentiate themselves from the increasingly “plain vanilla” offerings of Layer-1 networks. First, many businesses today who are seeking new functions that blockchain networks offer are may be deterred from embracing blockchains into their core offerings and services because they fear the classic “vendor lock-in” into one specific blockchain [4]. Many blockchains are accessible through smart-contracts that are ledger-specific. A given smart-contract written

for one blockchain (i.e., one EVM) may not be deployable on a different blockchain without a significant code rewrite. Secondly, from an asset-centric perspective, most (all) business applications seek certain desirable functional guarantees about the state of the tokenized asset (e.g., no double-spending, no unauthorized duplicate tokens in different blockchains, etc.). Thus, it is reasonable and plausible to say that for many of these business use cases, the specific technology underlying a given blockchain (e.g., linked blocks, hash graphs, etc.) is of secondary interest other than to provide a provable implementation of these desirable guarantees. Thirdly, most financial institutions today have existing IT systems (e.g., monolithic systems, legacy computers, etc.) that are still operational and represent substantial capital investments over the past decades. These existing IT systems include computers that manage many of the data constructs (e.g., depository receipts) that are in fact relevant to the tokenized Web3 world. New technologies such as blockchains must integrate seamlessly into these existing financial IT systems and offer significant functional capabilities over and above what these IT systems already implement today. [...] ”

Read the full paper: here.

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