How Crypto and AI Can Work Together, According to Ethereum Co-Founder Vitalik Buterin

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin has recently shared his insights on how cryptocurrency and artificial intelligence (AI) can work together in various ways, exploring both the opportunities and the challenges of this intersection.

In a blog post published on Tuesday, Buterin outlined four possible scenarios where crypto and AI can overlap: AI as an actor, AI as an interface, AI as the rules, and AI as an end.

Vitalik Buterin

AI as an Actor

Buterin explained that AI as an actor refers to the use of AI agents as participants in a crypto protocol, such as validators, traders, or users. He argued that this scenario has the highest viability, as it allows the protocol to operate at a much more micro scale and leverage the advantages of AI, such as speed, efficiency, and scalability.

Buterin gave some examples of how AI as an actor can be applied, such as using AI to optimize the gas fees of transactions, using AI to execute complex trading strategies, or using AI to provide feedback and ratings to decentralized applications.

AI as an Interface

Buterin defined AI as an interface as the use of AI to facilitate the interaction between humans and crypto protocols, such as using natural language processing, speech recognition, or computer vision. He claimed that this scenario has high potential, as it can make crypto more accessible, user-friendly, and intuitive.

Buterin also pointed out some risks involved in using AI as an interface, such as the possibility of AI being manipulated, hacked, or corrupted, or the possibility of AI misinterpreting the human intentions or preferences. He suggested that some safeguards and checks should be implemented to ensure the reliability and security of AI as an interface.

AI as the Rules

Buterin described AI as the rules as the use of AI to determine or modify the rules of a crypto protocol, such as using machine learning, reinforcement learning, or genetic algorithms. He stated that this scenario is more experimental and speculative, as it involves giving AI more autonomy and influence over the protocol design and governance.

Buterin acknowledged that AI as the rules can offer some benefits, such as enabling more adaptive and responsive protocols, or allowing for more diversity and innovation in the crypto space. However, he also warned that AI as the rules can pose some serious challenges, such as ensuring the alignment and accountability of AI, or preventing the emergence of malicious or dominant AI.

AI as an End

Buterin referred to AI as an end as the use of crypto to create or support a single, decentralized, trusted AI that can serve as a public good or a common goal for other applications. He remarked that this scenario is the most ambitious and difficult to get right, as it involves creating a new form of intelligence that can coexist and cooperate with humans and other AIs.

Buterin noted that AI as an end can have some promise, both for functionality and for improving AI safety, as it can provide a way to avoid the centralization and concentration of power that may arise from more mainstream approaches to AI development. However, he also cautioned that AI as an end can have many pitfalls, such as the uncertainty and complexity of the underlying assumptions, or the potential ethical and social implications of creating a new entity.


Buterin concluded his blog post by stating that he hopes to see more research and experimentation on the intersection of crypto and AI, as he believes that it can offer some exciting and valuable possibilities for the future of technology and society.

He also invited other crypto and AI enthusiasts and experts to share their thoughts and feedback on his analysis, and to contribute to the ongoing discussion and exploration of this topic.

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