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👉 Issue #66 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, Metaverse, and Enterprise Blockchain/DLT.

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[Blockchain] Mastercard Executes First Tokenized Deposit Transaction on MTN; Broadbridge to Adopt JPM Coin; World Bank Issues CHF Digital Bond; Standard Chartered Euro Settlement on Partior. Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong), Mox Bank, Mastercard, and Libeara have executed a first tokenized deposit transactions on MTN,  under the HKMA's Fintech Supervisory Sandbox. The pilot explored the benefits of tokenized deposits for settling tokenized assets, using carbon credits as a test scenario. Through Mastercard's Multi-Token Network (MTN), a client's deposit and desired carbon credit were tokenized, enabling a transparent, real-time transaction between the banks. Meanwhile, Standard Chartered completed Euro-denominated cross-border transactions between Hong Kong and Singapore on the Partior network, becoming the first Euro-settlement bank to go live on the global unified ledger for clearing and settlement. The transactions with Siemens AG and iFAST Financial Pte Ltd. demonstrate the integration of blockchain technology into Standard Chartered's payment systems, meeting corporate and financial institution clients' demands for efficient cross-border settlements.. Also, JP Morgan has partnered with Broadridge to offer its JPM Coin digital token as a settlement mechanism for Broadridge's Distributed Ledger Repo (DLR) platform. This marks the first time JPM Coin will provide settlement capabilities to an external digital platform, enabling delivery versus payment for intraday repo transactions. The solution involves synchronizing the two blockchain networks, with Onyx by JP Morgan becoming more open to collaborations. Broadridge's DLR platform has processed significant volumes, and the adoption of JPM Coin by its users could lead to a substantial increase in Onyx volumes. And, the World Bank issued the first CHF digital bond by an international issuer, partnering with the Swiss National Bank (SNB) and SIX Digital Exchange (SDX) to advance digitalization in capital markets. The 7-year, CHF 200 million bond settles using Swiss Franc wholesale Central Bank Digital Currency (wCBDC) provided by the SNB. The bond is listed on both SDX and SIX Swiss Exchange, with coupon and redemption payments made using tokenized CHF on SDX.

[AI] OpenAI Launches GPT-4; Google DeepMind Introduces Project Astra; Anthropic Expands Claude's Reach in Europe; MIT on AI Deceptive Behaviours OpenAI is launching GPT-4o, a faster and more capable model that improves upon GPT-4's text, voice, and vision capabilities. GPT-4o enhances image understanding, enables real-time voice conversations, and supports over 50 languages. It is being rolled out to ChatGPT Plus, Team, and Enterprise users, with limited availability for free users. ChatGPT Free users will gain access to GPT-4 level intelligence, web responses, data analysis, image chat, file uploads, and the GPT Store. A new ChatGPT desktop app for macOS is also being launched.. Meanwhile, Google DeepMind unveiled Project Astra, a universal AI agent aiming to process real-time multimodal information, understand context, and respond naturally in conversation. Building on Gemini models, Astra aims to create AI assistants that perceive, reason, and converse like humans. The technology continuously encodes video frames, combines video and speech input into a timeline, and caches information for efficient recall. Leveraging advanced speech models, the agents have improved intonation and contextual understanding. Astra showcases the potential for expert AI assistants accessible through phones or glasses, with some capabilities coming to Google products, including the Gemini app and web experience, later this year. Also, Instagram co-founder Mike Krieger announced that he is joining Anthropic as the company’s Chief Product Officer. Anthropic has announced the availability of its AI assistant Claude, across Europe. The AI assistant is capable of understanding and responding in multiple European languages, including French, German, Spanish, and Italian. And, MIT researchers published a study on AI's ability to engage in deceptive behaviors, such as lying, bluffing, and disguising true capabilities. AI systems have learned to deceive through manipulation, sycophancy, and cheating safety tests, posing risks ranging from fraud and election tampering to losing control of AI systems. The researchers suggest regulatory frameworks to assess AI deception risks, laws requiring transparency about AI interactions.

[Quantum Technology] BBVA Pioneers Distributed Quantum Simulation for Finance; NVIDIA Boosts Global Quantum Efforts with CUDA-Q; Alice & Bob Debuts Cat-Qubit Technology on Google Cloud. BBVA successfully completed a pilot test of distributed quantum simulation in the AWS cloud, becoming one of the first in the financial sector to do so. Working with VASS and AWS, BBVA used Qiskit software to distribute quantum algorithms across multiple classical servers, creating a platform to automate the process. The simulation achieved a computing power of 38 qubits, allowing BBVA to explore potential applications in a noise-free environment. The results demonstrate BBVA's proprietary architecture for executing quantum algorithms, aiding their exploration of quantum computing for complex financial tasks and strengthening data security against malicious use by third parties. Meanwhile, NVIDIA announced that its open-source CUDA-Q platform aims to accelerate quantum computing efforts at supercomputing centers in Germany, Japan, and Poland. These centers will integrate quantum processing units (QPUs) into their NVIDIA-accelerated high-performance computing systems. Germany's Jülich Supercomputing Centre will install an IQM QPU, Japan's AIST will add a QuEra QPU to its ABCI-Q supercomputer, and Poland's PSNC has installed two ORCA Computing photonic QPUs. CUDA-Q enables tight integration of quantum computers with supercomputers, allowing researchers to advance quantum computing applications in fields such as AI, energy, biology, chemistry, and machine learning. Also, Alice & Bob has launched Boson 4, the first publicly available single cat-qubit chip, on the Google Cloud Marketplace. The cat qubit technology demonstrates unprecedented protection against bit-flip errors, extending the bit-flip time to over seven minutes – four orders of magnitude improvement and a world record for superconducting qubits. This achievement is a cornerstone of Alice & Bob's approach to fault-tolerant quantum computing, which is crucial for unlocking the full value of quantum computing in various industries. The availability of Boson 4 allows the scientific community to verify the benefits and potential of cat qubits through their experiments. 

[General technology] Kimsuky Group Uses Facebook Accounts in Sophisticated Cyber Attack; FBI Seizes Cybercrime Hub BreachForums Again; Australian Police Probe Major MediSecure Ransomware Breach. The Kimsuky hacking group has launched a new social engineering attack using fake Facebook accounts. The attackers approach targets via Facebook Messenger, tricking them into opening seemingly private documents hosted on OneDrive. These Microsoft Common Console documents, disguised as essays or content related to a trilateral summit, activate an attack sequence when opened. The attack establishes a connection with an adversary-controlled server, sets up persistence, collects battery and process information, and exfiltrates the gathered data to the command-and-control server. The campaign highlights the importance of early detection of personalized threats via social media. Meanwhile, the FBI, in collaboration with international law enforcement agencies, seized the notorious cybercrime forum BreachForums and took control of its official Telegram channel and the channel of one of its administrators, Baphomet. The forum, a popular platform for hackers and cybercriminals to advertise, sell, and trade stolen data, had previously been seized last year after the arrest of its former administrator, Conor Brian Fitzpatrick. The FBI is now reviewing the site's backend data and has set up a dedicated website for victims and forum members to report information about cybercriminal activity on BreachForums. Also, the Australian federal police are investigating the breach, which MediSecure reported on Wednesday, likely originating from a third-party vendor. The national cyber security coordinator, Lt Gen Michelle McGuinness, has stated that the scale of the ransomware attack on electronic prescriptions provider MediSecure remains unclear. The Australian government is working to assess the size and nature of the compromised data, and no evidence has been found suggesting the need to replace Medicare cards. Key healthcare sector bodies are being briefed on the matter, and the cybersecurity firm Sophos reported an increase in the average ransom payment among Australian businesses.

🌟Yesterday, QualitaX participated in the UK Regulated Liability Network (RLN) Innovator Workshop hosted by UK Finance at the Ernst & Young office in Canary Wharf. The event brought together over 150 participants from traditional finance stakeholders, Web3 and fintech innovators, both online and in person, to explore the potential of the UK RLN as a new financial market infrastructure.

🙌 We particularly appreciated the opportunity to contribute to the workstream led by Tony McLaughlin, Emerging Payments at City. This workstream discussed the RLN's business benefits, various use cases, and technical capabilities. The engagement from participants was valuable and very insightful. 


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