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When decentralized protest meets decentralized money

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This newsletter is a biweekly curation from the world of Crypto, Blockchain, and AI. Sharing how these technological trends are shaping Africa and the world. Subscribe here to get it directly in your inbox every Mondays and Fridays.

📰 Here’s what’s happening…

Crypto in brief

Decentralized protest meets decentralized finance. 

  • A lot has been happening in Nigeria since the country celebrated her 60th Independence (on October 1). Nigerian youths across the globe have been out for days, protesting against brutality from the police force, which they’ve been enduring for years. 
  • Several youth initiatives such as the Feminist Coalition group in the country have been contributing in the aspect of finance, setting up funds to provide for protesters. 
  • In an attempt to censor protests, financial institutions allegedly suspended accounts holding and receiving funds for the protest. Fintech platform, Flutterwave, in charge of providing links for donations, was allegedly questioned by the country’s apex financial institutions.

Bitcoin to the rescue 🚀

  • Who could ask for a better alternative? Bitcoin came to the rescue. The protesters switched to raising funds in Bitcoin. Interestingly:
  • Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter and Square, who is known to be a big fan of Bitcoin, lent his support to the protest by urging people to donate via bitcoin to support the protest.
  • What happened clearly demonstrates how Bitcoin can come in as a viable alternative in countries where censorship is inevitable.

China pilot testing for digital Yuan, giveaway millions

  • The People’s Bank Of China (PBOC) is currently pilot testing the nation’s sovereign digital currency. As a part of a series of ongoing pilot programs, 3.13 million transactions have been processed, highly indicative of a positive progress for the pilot program and the currency itself. 
  • Following a series of piloting programs in a bid to promote the adoption of its new digital currency, China, on Friday, announced a giveaway of 10 million digital yuan ($15 million) to 50,000 Shenzhen residents
  • The currency, presently being pilot tested, is being used for transactions ranging from government services to bill payments. 113,300 personal digital wallets have been opened with 8000 corporate ones as part of the pilot program.

Central bank digital currency frenzy!

  • Several International financial authorities constituted of the World Bank, the Group of Twenty (G20), International Monetary Funds (IMF), and the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), have confirmed in a report about working hand in hand to formalize the use of central bank digital currencies (CBDC) in banking systems. 

Subscribe to “Decentralize Brief” and stay up-to-date on emerging tech from the world of Crypto, Blockchain and AI published Mondays and Fridays.

AI in brief

AI can now describe images as well as people do

  • Machines have always performed poorer than humans when it comes to image captioning. Microsoft’s new image captioning AI boasts of better performance than humans in the area of image captioning. 
  • The new algorithm is able to identify objects in an image as well as the relationship between them to provide a comprehensive description or caption for the image. The algorithm achieved the highest score ever recorded on the Nocaps image captioning benchmark. 
  • The new image captioning model is available to users via the Azure Cognitive Services Computer Vision offering. It is also available in Microsoft’s app for the blind, Seeing AI. Later this year, it will be made available in PowerPoint for Windows, Mac and web, and Microsoft Word as Outlook, for Windows and Mac.

Like humans, robots can now recognize pain

  • NTU Researchers at the Nanyang Technological Institute have developed a method that allows robots to recognize pain and self-repair when damaged. The research was driven by a brain-inspired approach. 
  • The researchers devised a way of helping robots feel pain by using meta transistors, which are brain-like electronic devices that can process information and are capable of memory, to behave as synthetic pain receptors and synapses. 
  • The self-healing properties of the robot prevents the robot from losing mechanical functions when injured with a cut. The self-healing ion gel consists of molecules that interact and repair the injury of the robot, restoring it to a normal functioning state with a high degree of responsiveness. 

Researchers develop AI capable of controlling vehicles with fewer neurons

  • A team of researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), TU Wien and Institute of Science and Technology Austria has developed a new artificial intelligence system based on the brain of tiny animals like threadworms. This new kind of AI system is capable of controlling a vehicle with just a few artificial neurons. 
  • According to the team of researchers, the two major advantages of their new model are interpretability and robustness. Their new model can also reduce training time.

ICYMI: Other top trending stories you may have missed. 

  • OneCoin Ponzi scheme about to unfold as drama. A movie titled “FAKE!” is coming soon, based on an unpublished book by Jen McAdams, a victim of the OneCoin Scheme. 
  • Fintech giant, Stripe, has acquired Paystack, a Nigerian-based startup for $200M+. Paystack provides similar services with Stripe; a quick way to integrate payment services into online or offline transactions by using API. This is seemingly the biggest startup acquisition to come out of Nigeria, till date.
  • Another DeFi burst. WLEO, a Uniswap protocol, saw a 99% plummet in price after reporting that $42,000 worth of funds was stolen.

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Have a wonderful weekend! 🚀

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One more thing?

Stay safe! 🙏🏽

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Decentralize Brief

Bitcoin trades above $51k ahead of El Salvador’s adoption

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Bitcoin growth

Bitcoin price has rallied above $51,000 ahead of El Salvador’s adoption. The immediate surge in price may be due to the social media campaign that everyone should buy sats of Bitcoin to support El Salvador’s plan to make the coin a legal tender or it may be due to the news of El Salvador’s adoption of the coin as a legal tender on September 7. Users of social media platforms like Twitter and Reddit are discussing how they will buy Bitcoin of $30 each to mark the new El Salvador Bitcoin law.

The surge in Bitcoin’s price began in the last 24hrs with the price rallying around $51,955 with a 3.37% increase. This is an all-time high after the April crash that brought the price of Bitcoin from $64k down to $28k. The move by El Salvador to be the first country that accepts Bitcoin as a legal tender and the social media campaign that leads to a surge in price ahead September 7 are a repetition of events that occurred late last year and early this year with regards to institutional investors and how the price of Bitcoin skyrocketed.

El Salvador, a country in Central America, has been preparing heavily to adopt Bitcoin by installing ATMs to allow citizens to convert the token into US dollars. Last week, the country’s Legislative Assembly passed a law to allow for the creation of a $150m Trust to support the conversion of Bitcoins to US dollars.

To promote the use of Bitcoin, the government states that it will give the adult population of El Salvador $30 in Bitcoin once they download “Chivo” the wallet issued by the government. This was confirmed by the Finance Minister, Alejandro Zelaya.

What this means for Bitcoin investors

Apart from the adoption by Salvadorians, on-chain analytics show that Bitcoin is in high demand. The fourth halving that occurred will make Bitcoin become a scarce token in the nearest future. Thereby increasing the price sporadically.

With El Salvador’s interest in Bitcoin, other countries are likely to follow suit- Panama is considering following El Salvador’s lead. History will repeat itself as this development will serve as another crypto rout that occurred early this year when Tesla and MicroStrategy announced their support for Bitcoin.

El Salvador’s new law allows the use of Bitcoin as a legal tender it can be used to buy goods, pay for taxes and bank loans. This means more demand for Bitcoin, with the fourth halving that occurred, it means less supply. A common rule of economics for demand and supply will apply. Prices are projected to keep rising. At the time of writing this report, Bitcoin is trading at $51,839 with a projection of $52k before the end of today and higher tomorrow when Salvadorians begin to use the token.

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Why some people thinks AI still lack common sense – Decentralize Brief Nov. 16 – Nov. 23

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Published twice a week (Mondays and Fridays), Decentralized Brief  is a curation of the most important news story in the world of Crypto, Blockchain and AI. Subscribe for the newsletter here and read our previous curations.

This week, we learn how to teach your AI to drive, why some people think AI still lacks a lot of common sense, and the vacuum cleaner that could be listening on your conversations.

Teaching robots to drive

Robots can now learn complicated tasks by just watching a couple of demonstrations that might not be even perfect. The new system designed by researchers, helps a domestic robot, for example, to learn how to do basic chores or even set the dinner table.

New test shows AI still lacks common sense

When it comes to natural language processing, AI has undoubtedly been taking great strides. However, does AI really understand what it reads? Researchers have discovered that AI still lacks a lot of common sense it needs to create plausible sentences.

Your vacuum cleaner could be listening to you

It turns out that your vacuum cleaner could be hacked and used as a listening device, since it has a microphone. A group of researchers at the Computer Science Department of the University of Maryland, recently demonstrated this.

AI has definitely come a long way, and people’s reactions to the disruptive technology, are quite mixed. Whilst some are trying to key into the technology as it is looking to be a major part of the fourth industrial revolution, others are wary of its impact. 

Mini brains that help AI feel pain and repair itself

Scientists from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, have designed a brain for AI that will help it process and respond to pain. The system, which is considered to be a mini-brain, will help computers feel pain exerted by physical pressure. It can also help the computer do mini repairs. 

Nigerian artificial intelligence and robotics centre

Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria, has built an AI and robotics centre in preparation for the fourth industrial revolution. The centre was built in the country’s capital, Abuja. 

Pope urges Catholics to pray that AI doesn’t rebel against mankind 

One of the Pope’s prayer points for the month of November is for advanced technologies like AI to avoid rebelling against mankind. The Pope says future technologies should not cause inequality between humans, but should respect the dignity of all humans. As such, he has urged Catholics to pray that AI will always serve humankind.

Students discover a way to fool AI into changing grades.

An AI algorithm that marks essays has been outwitted. An online platform for virtual learning that uses AI to grade essays, has been discovered to actually grade based on relevant keywords. Once these keywords are in the essay, the AI gives students a perfect score. 

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Did AI predict U.S. elections correctly? Cryptocurrencies will become a Fintech trend by 2021

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Published twice a week (Mondays and Fridays), Decentralized Brief  is a curation of the most important news story in the world of Crypto, Blockchain and AI. Subscribe for the newsletter here and read our previous curations.

Hey there! Happy New Week!

In today’s curations: AI predictions for the Nov. 3 US presidential election were not accurate and we shared why cryptocurrencies will be an inevitable fintech world in 2021

Curated Samuel Attah, Bolu Abiodun ✍

Did AI correctly predict the next U.S. president

2020 US election chart
Dodo Ahanu (FLICKR)

Different AI firms have predicted the U.S. elections based on sentiments on Twitter. While most of them predicted that Joe Biden would win the election, the numbers compared to the actual polls were not very accurate. A company called KCore Analytics, used about 1 billion tweets to predict the elections, and the company was about 89.5% accurate. 

Cockroach and Lizard robots

Cockroaches and lizards have inspired the creation of a robot. The robot can swim, run on water at incredible speeds, and crawl on difficult terrains. The robot, which is known as the AmphiSTAR, is envisioned to help out with agricultural projects as well as search and rescue missions.

Training AI just the way we train dogs

A robot named ‘spot’, can now teach itself how to perform tasks the same way dogs are taught to sit, stand, roll over and do other tricks. Computer scientists at the John Hopkins University, stated that the robot taught itself to perform tasks that would have normally taken several months, in a few weeks. 

Cryptocurrency could be one of the biggest fintech trends of 2021.

Cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple
Cryptocurrencies (FLICKR)

The CEO of Token Metrics, Ian Balina, has said that “The most important fintech trends in 2021 will be cryptocurrencies.” Balina says bitcoin will surpass its all-time high of $20,000, and gain massive mainstream attention. With a lot of big players like PayPal, Square, Facebook and Samsung endorsing the currency, it shows that Bitcoin is mature for the mainstream.

Cryptocurrencies you can invest in before the year runs out

It has been a remarkable few weeks in the world of cryptocurrencies. We’ve seen Bitcoin on a rampage, and other currencies like Ethereum, following suit. In light of all the positivity trailing the crypto community, in no particular order, here are some of the currencies that can currently be invested.

Lunch Time Read:

  • When it comes to elections in Africa, the tales carry enough tragedy— from deep electoral malpractices to violence. Jerry Ojumah has one of such tales, and this is why he used his ingenuity and creativity to create an election process that could afford Africa a chance at the limelight.
  • Extended Reality is still a far-fetched technology, in Africa, however, it’s gradually taking a spot in countries like Nigeria.

Have a lovely week!

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Subscribe to “Decentralize Brief” and stay up-to-date on emerging tech from the world of Crypto, Blockchain and AI published Mondays and Fridays.

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