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Blockchain and artificial intelligence are critical emerging technologies. And they can make each other better.

Tl;dr: The digital revolution created vast amounts of data and enabled access to it by users of all kinds. Two emerging technologies – artificial intelligence and crypto – are revolutionizing how humans interact with this data gold mine. While artificial intelligence (AI) holds promise to make efficient use of this data, blockchain technology can help address some of the key risks and concerns related to privacy, interoperability, standardization, and protection. By working together, each technology can help the other reach its full economic and social potential.

By Coinbase Institute


, November 1, 2023


Blockchain technology is expanding the frontiers of the online digital revolution, with a variety of current and future use cases emerging as a result. For our part, Coinbase is focused on using crypto and the blockchain to update the financial system in order to increase economic freedom around the world. We’ve seen first-hand how the blockchain can improve access to better, everyday financial services.

But blockchain is not alone in expanding this digital revolution. There are a number of other emerging technologies, each with different utilities, that are coming together to compliment each other and magnify that expansion.

One such technology is Artificial Intelligence (AI). At its core, AI performs cognitive tasks that have traditionally required human intelligence. The growing popularity of platforms like ChatGPT have increased interest in integrating AI into different facets of business, government, and society at large. As the interest in AI grows, so too will its impact on everyday people. Policymakers around the world are contemplating the benefits and risks of this impact. President Biden recently released an Executive Order laying out aspirational standards and rules for the development of AI in the United States and globally.  

Similarly, yesterday, the Coinbase Institute published a new white paper, “Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence (AI): Complementary Technologies That Can Make Each Other Better,” examining how these two digital technologies can each work together to improve the performance of the other.  

Two Technologies, Working Together 

While AI and blockchain are usually discussed independently, the two technologies are actually well suited to complement the other. The strengths of blockchain can be used to fortify the weaknesses of AI, just as the strengths of AI can be used to fortify crypto and blockchain technology.   

Blockchain is uniquely positioned to create digital scarcity, establish better control of standardized personal data, and decentralize online services so they are owned and governed by the communities that use them. For its part, AI is uniquely suited to sift through, interpret, and generate actionable insights from the vast amount of digital information that is available online – especially to the extent that it is standardized and not blocked in data silos.

Yesterday’s report from the Coinbase Institute explores three different ways in which these characteristics will intersect to further expand the digital revolution: 

  1. Automation: Public blockchain networks will enhance AI-driven automation by allowing AI agents to transact in crypto assets.

  2. Analysis: AI analysis will be improved by standardized and uniform data generated through blockchain protocols.

  3. Authentication: Blockchain will help distinguish between authentic and AI-created content.

Of course, these technologies will not evolve in a vacuum, and the intersection between the two will be shaped by pragmatic public policy that encourages responsible growth, provides guidance, and mitigates risks.

Policymakers should create a pro-innovation culture that allows for these technologies to flourish, while preventing unethical or criminal uses, and setting clear and practical safeguards in specific areas. This week’s Executive Order on AI begins to contemplate these issues and acknowledges that cryptography can help ensure that AI does not invade citizens’ privacy. But the EO falls short of fully exploring the key areas of intersection that will ensure both technologies develop in a safe and reliable way. 

The potential of the three As – automation, analysis, authentication – to improve both these technologies is real. And stepping back, the bottom line is clear: both blockchain and AI are significantly changing the world we live in. Allowing these technologies to develop to their full innovative potential will ultimately impact society for the better.  

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