Crypto is Not for The People

It's for the robots.

Welcome to another edition of In Transit. Our band of people exploring the fringes of entertainment and technology continues to grow. 

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Crypto is Not for The People

It's for the robots.

Key takeaways: 

  • ChatGPT just turned 1(!)

  • We'll eventually have a large number of specialized AI agents

  • The agents will collaborate and transact with each other

  • Traditional banking is not suited for robots

  • Crypto is the perfect payment rail for robot transactions

Ok, fair - the title is a little hyperbole. Crypto is for the people, too. But AI agents will be one of crypto's biggest (and yet little talked about) demographics. Bots. Robots. Not people. 

Once you wrap your head around this concept, it's pretty exciting.

Much has been written about crypto in general. It's a polarizing topic. Either you're (still) a skeptic, or you've (already) been red-pilled (crypto-slang for being pro this technology) – like me.

Blockchain technology and crypto represent a significant paradigm shift. Everything that can be digitized eventually will be. Much of our world and lives already are.

Introducing internet-native, programmable money and property rights to our digital spaces is a natural next step of this evolution.

Spotlight Shifts

In the past 12 months, much media attention shifted from crypto to AI. Probably because crypto got much less exciting for everyone primarily watching the numbers. (The technological advances in the crypto space are still significant every single month).

Also, the development of AI, particularly generative AI, brought the future much closer and naturally garnered a lot of attention.

The spotlight of media attention is usually a narrow beam. Singular. This singular spotlight of attention misleads many people when the beam redirects from one theme to another. It, for instance, leads many to think, "Crypto's dead; AI is the next big thing."

As if it's a zero-sum situation. And to be clear, it's not.

AI + blockchain is a positive-sum proposition in a bunch of different ways.

How can you verify what's real and not when artificially created content is abundant and indistinguishable from human-created content?

How can you track ownership of all the data that feeds into AI algorithms to produce new (derivative) works? And how can value be distributed fairly when monetized?

Or, as we'll explore today, what will you do when your robot needs money but your bank won't let it open a bank account?

The Future of AI Agents

I'm writing this on the first anniversary of ChatGPT. It's pretty wild that it's only been a year. In that year, we've also moved towards what will eventually be the future: Tenfold productivity growth supported by swaths of interconnected, specialized AI agents.

In 12 months, we went from a pretty smart general-purpose chatbot to being able to create custom GPT agents.

If you have yet to try this feature, you really should. Because it's cool and sets a future precedent for how software is built and how it works (more on this coming up in a later post this year!).

You basically program your own specialized robot by simply…chatting with it. You can also feed it your data and connect it to other services.

I already have my small army of GPT workers, including:

  • A proof-reading and editing assistant

  • A research assistant for web3 and crypto protocols

  • An illustrator who creates color-in stencils for my kids based on the style they fancy

This is only the beginning. Remember, it's only been a year since ChatGPT launched.

Eventually, these AI agents will be aware of each other and the different capabilities and specialties, and they'll be able to collaborate:

You give a task to an AI agent. It delegates a subtask to a different agent, receives the work, and serves you the finished result.

Robots Need Money, Too

As the concept of interconnected agents - or virtual assistants - scales, it will evolve into a marketplace. Similar to how there's a marketplace for our (humans) time and services.

A global network of AI agents that can outsource and delegate work to each other without human direction beyond humans setting the overarching goal and direction.

This new workforce will also need to be able to transact with each other. This breaks the paradigm of the current banking system, which is based on humans.

The obvious solution to this is internet money. Programmable money. Which is precisely what crypto and blockchain represent.

AI agents will have their own crypto wallets and be able to transact with other AI agents (or humans, for that sake). Humans will fund those wallets and set goals and direction for what the agent is working to achieve.

The transparent nature of blockchain ledgers also means monitoring how the AI agent conducts itself (and spends the money you gave it) is straightforward. It would be a pity if you’re robot came back home and spent all the money playing a virtual horse racing game when it was supposed to source web developers for you.

Regardless, Ccypto is the only practical money for AI agents, and the infrastructure already exists.

So, while crypto is most certainly for people, too, 5 years out, my prediction is that the biggest demographic of crypto protocols will be AI agents.

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