Ava Labs’ President John Wu: 'Applying AI To Crypto Is Absolutely Happening'

Last year, John Wu called the end of crypto winter. Now, he’s even more optimistic.

By: Zack Abrams

July 20, 2023

The last time Ava Labs President John Wu joined Coinage, Bitcoin’s price was $17K, and he boldly predicted crypto winter was beginning to thaw. Now, with Bitcoin hovering around $30k, Wu joins us once again for more insights about the current state of crypto, and why he’s increasingly optimistic for a new bull cycle.

As president of the global firm behind Avalanche, Wu first provided a bevy of worldly reasons to feel optimistic about the future of crypto, including the explosion of international interest in blockchain tech.

“There's a lot of activity going on in Europe … the UK is also making great strides,” Wu said. “Obviously, the Middle East is inviting developers in like crazy, and Asia … the interest level there is also incredible.”

As enthusiasm grows in new markets, Wu pointed out that it has carried over into new interest on the part of international corporations. As a corporate-friendly blockchain, Wu delineated the potential for blockchain tech in both business-to-business and business-to-consumer contexts. 

“On the B2B side, I think companies now know from after a lot of co-development, experimentation, lab work, R&D work, that there are real benefits in a blockchain ledger,” said Wu. “Once people start using it and realize there's usefulness in a blockchain enabled solution, that's when you're gonna get a lot of followers and users in the space.”

One of those real benefits: data provenance, an admittedly unsexy term but one with critical implications in the AI space. As AI providers like OpenAI face class-action lawsuits over how the companies scrape public-facing data in order to power their Large Language Models (LLMs), Wu sees a way for blockchains to keep track of that data, along with the creators of AI-generated content. 

“Applying AI to crypto is absolutely happening,” said Wu. “And people are going to use blockchain, which is good at solving for the provenance of the data or the algorithms, and also good at keeping the trail of the IP [to] help AI as well.”

Gaming is another use case Wu is bullish on, and though gamers have largely resisted crypto integrations, it’s clear that blockchain technology has a lot to offer anyone who cares about their digital assets. 

“I think it's not that much of a leap of faith to envision a world where gamers want to actually have custody of their in-game items and really have the ability to basically move and transfer and exchange those in-game items and really own it and take it to a different place if there's value elsewhere in a different ecosystem,” said Wu. 

Wu also made the case for crypto to anyone who’s worried about the increasingly few companies who are the custodians of your increasingly important personal data. 

“This year, people keep talking about seven companies that are driving all the NASDAQ performance. It's these same seven companies that basically own all your digital fingerprint and own all your data and assets,” he said. “They own not just your PII [personal identifiable information], frankly, but how you traverse around mobile and the internet.”

Wu says he’s noticed sentiment about crypto changing across the industry, including from holdouts like BlackRock CEO Larry Page, who once called crypto an “index of money laundering” but who now believes it will “transcend any one currency.” According to Wu, there are two reasons for the about-face. 

“One, he sees demand from his $9 trillion of assets for Bitcoin and ultimately for other crypto assets,” said Wu. “And the second thing is he's even said himself, he sees the value in the technology. He thinks tokenization can completely change the way finance is presented.”

For more insights from Ava Labs President John Wu, including why he thinks tokenization will revolutionize the financial industry, when we can expect the next bull run, and what has him most excited in crypto, check out the full recording of our interview above.

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