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👉Issue #72 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] Algorand, Archax, and Quantoz Launch Tokenized Money Market Fund; Supra Expands Oracle Services; Arbitrum DAO Invests in Real-World Assets; CBUAE Launches Fintech Sandbox for Blockchain and DLT Innovation. The Algorand Foundation, Archax, and Quantoz Payments have announced the launch of the first tokenized money market fund on Algorand, featuring abrdn's €3.8 billion Euro Money Market fund. This collaboration integrates Quantoz Payments' EURD electronic money with Archax's digital asset platform, enabling native atomic settlement for peer-to-peer transactions. The partnership demonstrates the feasibility of moving the entire investment and cash settlement process on-chain, combining tokenized assets, digital money, and atomic settlement. Meanwhile, Supra, a Layer-1 blockchain with in-protocol oracles, is expanding its oracle price feeds to include real world assets (RWAs) such as FX currencies, equities, and commodities. This expansion is part of the Distributed Oracle Agreement (DORA) 2.0 release, which will provide real-time price data to over 80 blockchain networks with 600-900ms full finality. Also, Solana has unveiled 'Actions', a new feature enabling users to execute on-chain transactions directly from various platforms, including websites, social media, and QR codes. Actions allow seamless integration of Solana ecosystem functionalities into third-party applications. This development aims to simplify blockchain interactions and boost mainstream adoption. And, the STEP committee of Arbitrum DAO has recommended allocating 35 million ARB tokens (~USD29 million at the time of writing) across six real-world asset (RWA) products. This decision aims to diversify 1% of the treasury into RWAs while supporting ecosystem growth. Securitize BUIDL to receive 11 million ARB, Ondo USDY and Superstate USTB allocated 6 million ARB each and Mountain USDM, OpenEden TBill, and Backed Finance bIB01 to get 4 million ARB each. And, the Central Bank of UAE (CBUAE) has introduced new Regulatory Sandbox Regulations to foster financial innovation. Open to UAE-based startups, established firms, and financial free zone companies, the sandbox supports testing of innovative products, including those using blockchain and DLT. 

[AI] Google Unveils Gemma 2 AI Models, Hugging Face Updates LLM Leaderboard, Anthropic Introduces Projects for Collaborative AI, and Emergence Debuts with $97.2M for Knowledge AI Agent. Google has released Gemma 2, an upgraded family of open-source AI models available in 9B and 27B parameter sizes. Gemma 2 offers improved performance, efficiency, and safety features compared to its predecessor. It runs efficiently on various hardware, from laptops to cloud setups, and integrates easily with popular AI frameworks. The 27B model competes with much larger models while running on a single GPU or TPU, reducing deployment costs.  It's accessible through Google AI Studio, Kaggle, and Hugging Face, with academic research programs and cloud credits available to support its adoption and development. Meanwhile, Hugging Face has significantly upgraded its Open LLM Leaderboard, an important benchmark tool for measuring progress in AI language models. This update comes at a crucial time when the AI community is experiencing a slowdown in breakthrough improvements for large language models (LLMs), despite ongoing releases of new models. The revamped leaderboard aims to provide more rigorous and nuanced evaluations of AI models. The update addresses the need for better evaluation methods as researchers and companies face an apparent plateau in LLM performance gains. Also, Anthropic has introduced Projects, a new feature for Pro and Team users that allows organization of chats and knowledge sharing. Projects offer a 200K context window, custom instructions, and the ability to share conversations within teams. The update includes Artifacts, a feature for generating and viewing content like code snippets and graphics alongside chats. The company plans future integrations with popular applications to expand Claude's capabilities. And, Emergence, co-founded by ex-IBM AI head Satya Nitta, has emerged from stealth with $97.2 million in funding. The startup aims to build an "agent-based" AI system to automate knowledge worker tasks. Emergence has launched an open-source "orchestrator" agent for model switching in workflow automations and plans a premium API version.

[Quantum Technology] Classiq, NVIDIA, and BMW Innovate Quantum Computing for EV Efficiency; Unilever and Microsoft Advance Quantum R&D; DARPA Evaluates Quantum Impact with Preliminary Benchmarks. Classiq announced a collaboration with NVIDIA and BMW Group to optimize mechatronic systems using quantum computing. The project aims to enhance efficiency in electrical and mechanical systems for electric vehicles. Classiq's approach utilizes advanced quantum algorithms like QAOA and HHL, with BMW Group creating a complex quantum program simulated on NVIDIA GPUs using CUDA-Q. While quantum computing remains nascent, this collaboration demonstrates progress in applying quantum solutions to automotive challenges, potentially transforming electric vehicle efficiency and design optimization. Meanwhile, Unilever is preparing for the future of quantum computing in product development, partnering with Microsoft for the past 2.5 years. Microsoft recently announced new features on Azure Quantum Elements designed to accelerate scientific research. Unilever uses Azure in its DataLab virtual R&D center and expects these capabilities to significantly speed up computational simulations and fine-tune models for material screening and exploring chemical reactions. The company anticipates reducing decades of lab work to days, with applications in consumer product categories like haircare. However, Alberto Prado, Unilever's global head of R&D digital and partnerships, estimates it will be three to five years before quantum computing is commercially viable for Unilever. Also, DARPA's Quantum Benchmarking program has released preliminary results of its research aimed at developing metrics for measuring the impact of quantum computers on key computational challenges. The second phase of the program involved teams from the University of Southern California, HRL Laboratories, L3Harris Technologies, Rigetti Computing, and Zapata Computing. They refined benchmarks and expanded applications for areas like chemistry, materials science, and non-linear differential equations. Initial results suggest quantum computers may be beneficial for chemistry and materials science applications. Quantum Benchmarking Program Manager, Joe Altepeter, emphasized the importance of these findings as a first step towards quantifying the impact of quantum computers.

[General technology] Living Skin Anchored to Robotic Faces; LockBit Ransomware Hits Evolve Bank & Trust Exposing Terabytes of Data; Supply Chain Attack Affects Over 110,000 Websites.  University of Tokyo researchers have created a technique to anchor living human skin to robotic faces using V-shaped perforations. This advancement builds on their 2022 skin-covered robotic finger project. The new method allows for more natural facial movements and expressions by mimicking the connection between skin and muscle tissue in humans. The team cultured human dermal fibroblasts in a collagen gel on a facial mold with these perforations, resulting in securely anchored skin. Future work aims to incorporate additional skin features and integrate sophisticated actuators for more realistic expressions. Meanwhile, hacker group LockBit reportedly executed a ransomware attack on Evolve Bank & Trust, releasing up to 33 terabytes of data after demands weren't met. Evolve, partnered with fintechs like Mercury, Stripe, and Affirm, acknowledged the reports and is investigating with law enforcement. The breach potentially exposed end-user PII, including SSNs and card data. This incident follows a recent Federal Reserve Board enforcement action citing IT security deficiencies at Evolve. The bank's extensive fintech partnerships amplify the potential impact, with industry sources describing the situation as "as bad as it gets." Evolve has not yet officially confirmed the extent of the breach. Also, a supply chain attack involving the popular JavaScript library has impacted over 110,000 websites. The domain was acquired by Funnull, which modified the library to redirect users to malicious sites. Google has blocked ads for affected e-commerce sites. The attack specifically targets mobile devices and evades detection by admin users and analytics services. Cloudflare has warned website owners to remove due to ongoing security concerns. The incident highlights the risks of relying on third-party libraries and the importance of supply chain security in web development.

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