top of page
Urban Clouds

👉 Issue #62 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 :)

If you are interested in emerging technologies and you like what you read, consider subscribing to our newsletter on LinkedIn!

Every Friday we share key snapshot news on AI, Quantum Technologies, 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] HSBC Leads Series C for HQLAᵡ to Enhance Collateral Mobility on DLT; Centrifuge Raises $15M for Institutional DeFi; EY Launches Blockchain Contract Manager. HQLAᵡ, a distributed ledger technology (DLT) platform for collateral mobility, closed a Series C funding round led by HSBC, with participation from existing shareholders including major banks. The funding will support platform development and client expansion. HSBC's Jamie Anderson will join HQLAᵡ's board. The platform enables real-time transfer of ownership for collateral obligations, addressing collateral fragmentation. HQLAᵡ initially targeted securities lending but has expanded to the larger repo market and collateral mobility for margin requirements. HSBC will connect to the platform as both an AgentLender and Bank Borrower. Meanwhile, Centrifuge, a platform for on-chain finance, raised $15M in a Series A funding round co-led by ParaFi Capital and Greenfield. The company aims to drive widespread adoption of institutional DeFi by providing a secure, compliant platform for real-world asset tokenization. Centrifuge plans to launch an institutional-grade lending market for RWAs on Base, an Ethereum layer 2, integrated with Coinbase Verification. The funding will be used for product development, creating on-chain utility, cultivating ecosystem growth, and hiring new talent. Centrifuge has been a pioneer in the DeFi space, with notable firsts in real-world asset integration and on-chain securitization. Also, EY has launched OpsChain Contract Manager (OCM), a blockchain-enabled solution for managing complex, multi-party business agreements on public permissionless blockchain. OCM supports confidentiality, improves time efficiency, and reduces costs by synchronizing data across partners and enforcing key business terms. It addresses the challenge of managing agreements across siloed systems and captures value from contracts. The solution maintains privacy using zero-knowledge circuits and can be easily integrated into existing enterprise systems. EY estimates that contract automation can improve accuracy, cut cycle times by 90%, and reduce contract administration costs by 40%. OCM is initially being tested for power purchasing agreements.

[AI] Microsoft Invests $1.5B in UAE's G42; Stanford's AI Index Report; Adobe Integrates AI into Premiere Pro. The Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence (HAI) released the seventh edition of the AI Index report, the most comprehensive to date. The 2024 report covers crucial trends such as AI's technical advancements, public perceptions, and geopolitical dynamics surrounding its development. New features include estimates on AI training costs, analyses of responsible AI, and a chapter dedicated to AI's impact on science and medicine. The AI Index report's mission is to provide unbiased, vetted, and broadly sourced data to help policymakers, researchers, executives, journalists, and the public better understand the complex field of AI. Meanwhile, Microsoft is investing $1.5 billion in UAE-based AI company G42 to accelerate AI development and global expansion. The partnership aims to enhance the UAE's position as a global AI hub, to provide opportunities for innovation, and ensure responsible sharing of AI technologies and cloud capabilities with growing economies worldwide. Microsoft's Vice Chair and President, Brad Smith, will join G42's board, and the companies will support a $1B fund for developers. The collaboration includes a first-of-its-kind Intergovernmental Assurance Agreement to ensure adherence to world-leading standards in AI safety and security. Also, Adobe is integrating generative AI into Premiere Pro to streamline video editing workflows. New AI-powered tools will allow editors to extend clips, add or remove objects, and generate b-roll using text prompts. Adobe is developing its own Firefly Video Model and exploring partnerships with third-party AI providers like OpenAI, RunwayML, and Pika to offer a choice of models. The company states that it is committed to transparency through Content Credentials, which will provide information about the AI models used in content creation. 

[Quantum Technology] Quantinuum Sets New Quantum Computing Milestones; Rigetti and Partners Launch UK's First Quantum Computer; Welinq Secures Major EU Grant for Quantum Internet Development Quantinuum has achieved new records in qubit quality on their 20-qubit H1-1 processor, with a two-qubit gate fidelity of 99.914% and a Quantum Volume of 1,048,576 (220). The Quantum Volume benchmark was achieved using a randomized 20-layer circuit, demonstrating the processor's capability to run complex circuits. Quantinuum has consistently improved their Quantum Volume by 10X each year since 2020. The company achieved these results through improvements in laser and optics systems, and all qubit pairs on the H1-1 processor achieved a 99.9%+ two-qubit gate fidelity. These advancements bring Quantinuum closer to reaching Quantum Advantage for commercial applications. Meanwhile, Rigetti UK Limited, Oxford Instruments NanoScience, and other partners successfully completed a three-year, £10 million consortium project to build and operate one of the first quantum computers in the UK. The project focuses on accelerating quantum computing commercialization, advance practical applications, and develop the UK's quantum computing talent and infrastructure. The 32-qubit Aspen-class quantum computer, hosted at Oxford Instruments' facility, was made available to UK partners via Rigetti's Quantum Cloud Services platform. The research conducted during the project led to subsequent quantum application development work, and Rigetti was awarded an Innovate UK grant to deliver a 24-qubit quantum computer to the National Quantum Computing Centre (NQCC). Also, Welinq, a quantum networking company, has been awarded a 2.5M€ EIC (European Innovation Council) Transition grant to develop key products for the quantum internet using its neutral atom quantum memory technology.. The support from the EIC will help Welinq translate cutting-edge research into industrial quantum information network products, ensuring Europe's strategic autonomy. This milestone marks a significant step forward for quantum communications and will contribute to the progress of ongoing projects such as FranceQCI. 

[Metaverse] Siemens and Microsoft Join Forces on Digital Twins; Meta Quest for EducationBest Envision on Apple Vision Pro. Siemens and Microsoft are collaborating with the W3C Consortium to converge the Digital Twin Definition Language (DTDL) with the W3C Thing Description standard. This convergence aims to foster collaboration, accelerate innovation, and facilitate the exchange of digital twin models and data. By unifying both languages, customers will benefit from consistent modeling experiences and simpler system integration, mitigating fragmentation in the evolving IoT landscape. The standardization of digital twin languages is crucial for interoperability, enabling seamless communication and integration between different digital twin systems and platforms. This strategic alliance underscores Siemens and Microsoft's commitment to fostering collaboration and embracing openness in the industry. Meanwhile, Meta announced that it is launching a new education product for Quest devices later this year, designed to make it easier for teachers, trainers, and administrators to use virtual, mixed, and augmented reality in their curriculums. The product will provide access to education-specific apps and features, and allow for the management of multiple Quest devices at once. The product aims to help students learn, apply, and practice new skills, feel a sense of presence with teachers and classmates, and visit places or experience things that would otherwise be impossible. Also, Best Buy has launched an augmented reality (AR) app called Best Buy Envision, exclusively for the Apple Vision Pro. The app allows users to preview 3D models of various Best Buy products, such as TVs, appliances, fitness equipment, and furniture, in their own living space before making a purchase. Best Buy Envision aims to provide an immersive and personalized shopping experience. Users can scroll through hundreds of options, view product ratings and pricing, share products with friends, and purchase directly from the app. 

[General technology] Boston Dynamics Launches New Electric Atlas Robot; Telegram to hit 1 billion users; Revolut $100m investment in Mexico. Boston Dynamics has announced the retirement of its hydraulic Atlas robot and unveiled a new fully electric version designed for real-world applications. The company is confident in its ability to deliver a valuable solution, starting with a partnership with Hyundai to test and iterate Atlas applications. The electric Atlas will be stronger, more dexterous, and more agile than previous generations, and will be integrated into Boston Dynamics' Orbit software for fleet management. The humanoid form factor allows Atlas to navigate unstructured terrain and complete tasks in ways that exceed human capabilities. Boston Dynamics aims to deliver industry-leading robotics along with a complete ecosystem of software, services, and support. Meanwhile, Telegram founder Pavel Durov predicts the messaging app will reach one billion active monthly users within a year, as it spreads like "forest fire." Durov, who left Russia in 2014 after refusing to shut down opposition communities on his VK platform, emphasizes Telegram's neutrality and desire to remain independent from geopolitical influences. With 900 million active users, Durov cites challenges with bureaucracy and attention from U.S. security agencies as reasons for choosing Dubai as Telegram's base. He believes the biggest threats to free speech are major competitors like Apple and Google. Also, Revolut has invested over $100 million in Mexico's remittance market, with plans to hire staff, cover short-term debt and expenses, and maintain a strong cash balance. The investment comes as remittances to Mexico reached a record $63.3 billion in 2023, primarily from Mexican migrants in the U.S. Revolut, which recently obtained a banking license in Mexico, aims to quickly bring its European product lineup to the country and expand further in Latin America. 

👉 𝐌𝐚𝐫𝐤 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐜𝐚𝐥𝐞𝐧𝐝𝐚𝐫: 'Driving the Evolution of Trade Finance '

𝐃𝐚𝐭𝐞: Wednesday, April 24 2024 - 12 pm GMT

Join us for an insightful webinar as we discuss the digital future of trade finance with Saloi Benbaha, Head of Institutional Partnerships at TradeFinex.

We will discuss: 

➡ The $2.5 trillion global trade finance gap and the challenges in trade finance today. 

➡ The key requirements of different stakeholder groups - financial institutions, businesses, and other participants in the ecosystem? 

➡The role of emerging technologies in addressing the challenges and helping deliver on stakeholders' requirements. 

➡ Best practices or key considerations for businesses looking to adopt digital trade finance solutions? 

➡ The biggest opportunities and challenges to Trade Finance and RWA tokenization in 2024.

FEATURED:  The Fine Print on Cross-Chain Capabilities: Separating Fact from Fiction

By: Bernhard Elsner

"In the blockchain ecosystem, where innovation and competition are continuously pushing boundaries, it's crucial for market participants to critically evaluate the claims made by platforms regarding their technological capabilities. As a particular example, let’s look at one property of Canton’s that I’m particularly proud of: The ability to make atomic smart contract calls across sovereign subnets.

Reading recent statements from Polygon about their (future) AggLayer today [1], I could easily conclude that they will offer the same.

Polygon claims to facilitate "near-instant, atomic cross-chain transactions" and asserts that "contracts can safely call contracts on other chains at super low latency." These statements are compelling, painting a picture of a capability similar to what Canton Network offers with atomic smart contract calls between subnets. However, a closer look reveals a crucial distinction: in Polygon's framework, even in the future, atomicity and smart contract calls across chains are not simultaneous capabilities.

Dissecting the Claims

Polygon's description initially suggests a seamless integration akin to Canton's, but delving into the details provided in their fine print—which likely few will read—reveals the nuances.

Atomic Cross-Chain Transaction

Firstly, they describe the process of submitting a “bundle” or set of transactions across multiple chains. The atomic bundle is designed so that transactions are executed on each relevant chain if and only if all transactions are successful. If one transaction fails, the bundle is not included on any chain.

For example, if AcmeBank were to issue a Acme Coin on both Chain A and Chain B, it could theoretically operate a bridge by atomically burning in Transaction A and minting in Transaction B. However, a different scenario, such as DEX on Chain A wanting to move AcmeCoin on Chain B via a smart contract call as part of a trade settlement, would not be feasible under this setup.

Asynchronous Cross-Chain Calls

Secondly, they tout super low-latency cross-chain composability through asynchronous cross-chain calls. While this is a powerful feature, it prioritizes liveness over safety from the perspective of a single chain. This means that independent of whether the transaction on Chain A goes through, the cross-contract call to Chain B can fail."

Read the full article: here.


bottom of page