Chainlink Scientist Believes Smart Contracts Key to Unleashing Blockchain’s Full Potential, But Is AI the Way Forward?

By Ben Knight April 17, 2024 In AI, Blockchain, Chainlink
  • Chainlink’s Chief Scientist Ari Juels believes that blockchain technology is advancing at a rapid rate and providing unique tools to the financial sector that can revolutionise the industry.
  • However, Juels is concerned about modern artificial intelligence-driven narratives that he believes may be damaging the integration of the two industries.
  • Juels argues that several use cases that have been suggested for AI in distributed ledgers are actually at odds with one another.
  • On the other hand, Juels’ interview touts flash loans as an example of smart contracts providing long-lasting solutions to several financial problems.

For better or for worse, the 2020s are shaping up to be the decade of artificial intelligence. Whether you predict a Blade Runner dystopia or something a little more benign, everyone has a narrative on how the AI revolution will impact humanity. Most are currently captivated with the good (and the awful) elements of processors like DALL-E, Sora and ChatGPT, but the potential for AI in blockchain is untapped. However, Chief Scientist of Chainlink, Ari Juels, believes that the best use cases for AI and blockchain aren’t what most in the industry are touting.

Related: ASIC “Very Concerned” about Crypto Fraud, Makes Move Against Miners

Three Misleading Narratives Harming AI and Blockchain Integration

In a recent interview with CNBC (and an earlier article with Blockworks), Juels touched upon three leading narratives dominating the AI/blockchain space that he claims are “damaging”.

The first one is that “blockchain can counter misinformation with cryptographic digital signatures”. The idea here is that a swathe of artificial content has been created on the back of AI advances – think of things like DeepFake, or how ChatGPT straight up lies about being correct on certain topics.  


However, Juels suggests that this isn’t actually true in most senses. While the blockchain can confirm who and when content/data was created, it does little to actually determine how that data was created. In fact, he argues that cameras integrating their own digital signatures to verify proof-of-creation is a much better solution than anything blockchains can provide.

Second, many people in the industry argue that blockchain is a great way to bring privacy to artificial intelligence. The current system of training AI relies on data input – and often, the best data is private. So, AI developers need a secure way to sift through this data without risking breaches. Although certain private blockchains and fundamental cryptographic concepts may be useful here, most popular crypto networks are designed to be “transparent”, literally working against the concept of privacy.

Related: Avalanche-Based Homium Raises $10M to Tokenise Home Equity Loans, Eyes US-Wide Expansion

The final narrative Juels tackles is the use of cryptocurrency by artificial intelligence. While some have suggested this is a good thing, Juels believes that it could be harnessed by malicious actors to automatically pay criminals without being implicated themselves.

On the flipside, Chainlink’s Chief Scientist is incredibly bullish on the technological and financial implications that have come through blockchain tech’s growth over the past decade. He believes that a concept such as flash loans (borrowing money without collateral) demonstrates the unique staying power of smart contracts that may pave the way for future adoption across industries.   

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Ben Knight

Ben Knight

Ben Knight is a writer and editor from Melbourne with a passion for all things music and finance. He enjoys turning complex topics – especially the technical details of cryptocurrency – into digestible bites that anybody can understand. He acquired his Master’s in Writing, Editing and Publishing from RMIT in 2019 and has run his own creative writing business ever since.

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