Vitalik Buterin Envisions AI as a Solution to Ethereum's Code Bugs

Buterin is not alone in his belief in AI as a Virginia Senate Committee has recommended a yearly allocation of $39,240 towards the Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Commission and the Artificial Intelligence Commission.

The integration of AI in blockchain technology, particularly in the Ethereum network, is gaining quite a bit of attention for its potential to address some major challenges like code bugs. Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin has pointed out the importance of AI-powered auditing in improving the network's security, especially with the upcoming Dencun upgrade.

Meanwhile, Virginia is showing strong support for AI and blockchain through funding proposals for new commissions and a progressive approach towards crypto mining. Additionally, OpenAI's valuation has surged to $80 billion. This development is backed by strategic financial moves, hardware expansion plans, and innovations like the text-to-video model Sora.

AI in Ethereum

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin recently pointed out the potential of artificial intelligence in addressing one of the biggest technical challenges facing the Ethereum network: the presence of bugs deep within its code. In a post on X from Feb. 18, Buterin expressed enthusiasm for the role of AI-powered auditing in identifying and rectifying these bugs, even referring to them as the "biggest technical risk" to Ethereum.

This discussion is especially relevant as Ethereum approaches the launch of its Dencun upgrade, expected on Mar. 13, which aims to enhance the network's functionality. An incident during the Goerli testnet phase on Jan. 17, where a bug in Prsym delayed network finalization, certainly proves that AI-powered auditing could be a huge step towards bettering the Ethereum network.

Despite Buterin's optimism, there are still a few reservations within the community about the reliability of AI in detecting Ethereum code vulnerabilities. OpenZeppelin's experiments with OpenAI's GPT-4 revealed mixed results, with the AI identifying vulnerabilities in 20 out of 28 challenges but also mistakenly inventing non-existent flaws. Kang Li of CertiK also voiced concerns that AI tools, including ChatGPT, might introduce more security issues than they resolve, although he acknowledged their utility as assistants for code analysis and reverse engineering.

Buterin, while advocating for the integration of AI in blockchain technology, has urged developers to proceed with caution, especially in high-risk applications like oracles, where the stakes involve massive financial implications.

Virginia Proposes Funding for AI and Crypto Commissions

AI is also receiving support in Virginia. A Virginia Senate Committee has recommended a yearly allocation of $39,240 to support two newly formed commissions. The proposal, which was laid out by a Subcommittee of Virginia’s Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee on Feb. 18, includes a total fund allocation of over $23.6 million for various legislative departments for the year 2025 and 2026. A notable portion of this funding is directed towards the Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Commission and the Artificial Intelligence Commission, with proposed general funds of $17,192 and $22,048 respectively.

Established in January of 2024, the Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Commission is charged with the task of studying and making recommendations on blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, with the aim of fostering and encouraging expansion in the state. The commission will consist of 15 members, including both legislative and nonlegislative appointees, who are expected to be appointed within 45 days after the act’s effective date.

Similarly, the Artificial Intelligence Commission is set to develop and maintain policies that limit the use of AI to prevent unlawful activities.

In addition to the establishment of these commissions, Virginia has shown a much more progressive approach towards crypto mining. Senator Saddam Azlan Salim introduced Senate Bill No. 339, aiming to ease the regulatory environment a bit for crypto miners by exempting them from obtaining money transmitter licenses and prohibiting industrial zones from imposing mining-specific ordinances.

This development definitely proves Virginia's commitment to becoming a leader in the integration and regulation of cutting-edge technologies like AI and blockchain.

OpenAI's Valuation Skyrockets to $80 Billion

There is further proof that the AI industry is picking up momentum. OpenAI, a leading AI company based in San Francisco, recently saw its valuation soar to $80 billion, according to a report from The New York Times. This means that the company was able to nearly triple its worth in less than 10 months.

The company is engaging in a unique financial strategy by planning to sell current shares through a tender offer led by Thrive Capital, which differs from conventional funding rounds. This method allows employees to sell their shares, offering a distinct approach to liquidity and capital generation.

Previously, in a similar tender offer in 2023, venture capital giants like Thrive Capital, Sequoia Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, and K2 Global set OpenAI's valuation at approximately $29 billion.

OpenAI's CEO, Sam Altman, has been actively seeking to expand the company's capabilities, particularly in the hardware domain. Altman has engaged in discussions aimed at raising money for a chip venture and establishing partnerships with investors, chip manufacturers, and energy providers. He has proposed OpenAI as a significant customer for new chip factories, aiming to enhance global chip production capacity to support the development of new AI tools.

Despite facing internal challenges, including a brief ousting of Altman by the OpenAI board in November of 2023, which led to a temporary upheaval and threats of resignation from employees, the company has managed to stabilize. Altman was reinstated after some board members departed, and the company has engaged WilmerHale to review the board's decisions and Altman's leadership, with a report expected in early 2024.

The buzz around OpenAI has been particularly pronounced since the late 2022 launch of ChatGPT, a tool that has massively impacted the AI landscape. Moreover, OpenAI introduced its first-ever text-to-video model named Sora on Feb.15. Sora represents a big leap forward in generative AI technology, capable of creating detailed videos from text prompts, extending existing videos, and generating scenes from still images.