Award winning AI scientist launches MATRIX AI Network to take smart contracts mainstream
A recent Quartz article¹ took a look at digital innovations and the potential for extreme disruption where exciting, emerging concepts intersect. The premise is that such intersections will throw up powerful opportunities to drive mainstream adoption and totally revolutionise the way we live and work. The article covers many interesting scenarios but one particular paragraph caught my eye:
When combined with natural language processing (NLP) — the ability for a computer to recognize and process human language data — blockchain is particularly potent. With NLP, information can be written and interpreted without a human. The combination of blockchain and NLP has widespread implications for the future of legal agreements. Self-writing smart contracts will make exchanges of money, property, shares — anything of value, really — seamless, safe, and more cost-effective.
The problem with smart contracts that is preventing widespread adoption
Ethereum brought us smart contracts on the blockchain — the ability to programme a contract that is registered on the blockchain, and can digitally facilitate, verify, or enforce the execution of the terms.
Whilst smart contracts do give blockchains the ability to handle scaled commercial activities, they require the user to users to be able to write programs in specific programming languages (e.g. Solidity in the case of Ethereum).
However, with a population of around 7 billion it is estimated that only around 22 million people are proficient programmers². Currently this is a severely limiting factor in the widespread adoption of smart contracts.
It is unlikely that mainstream businesses will have (or be willing to pay for) the expertise needed to code smart contracts. In addition the developer, may also not have the required business or legal knowledge to write code for complex contracts. And will businesses trust code that they do not understand?
MATRIX AI Network will combine AI and blockchain to overcome this challenge
MATRIX AI Network³ is an adaptive, self-optimising and interoperable “Blockchain 3.0” solution that supports smart contracts and machine learning services. By combining AI and blockchain technology MATRIX aims to revolutionise the user experience of executing smart contracts, by making the whole process faster, easier and safer. As per the technical white-paper⁴:
With MATRIX, no programming expertise is needed anymore for designing smart contracts. The unique code generation technique of MATRIX allows automatic conversion of an abstract description of a smart contract into an executable program. MATRIX only requires users to input the core elements (e.g. input, output, and transaction conditions) of a contract with a scripting language. Then a code generator based on a deep neural network is able to automatically convert the script into an equivalent program.
To return to the quote from the Quartz article, this is a potential game-changer. MATRIX will allow anyone to use natural languages to directly implement smart contracts in their business. The MATRIX neural networks will generate a library of templates based on initial inputs, that are then automatically refined and evolved based on historical data, as per the below visual representation from the MATRIX business white-paper⁵.
Combining usability with flexibility, scalability and security
Whilst the above concept for smart contracts looks groundbreaking it would essentially fall flat if MATRIX is unable to overcome the additional challenges that are currently plaguing legacy blockchains — with Bitcoin and Ethereum facing a mix of challenges across flexibility, scalability and security.
If blockchains are to truly go mainstream, they need to be flexibly enough to interact with one another, be able to scale to handle large volumes of transactions quickly, and of course they need to be secure from malicious actors. How are MATRIX addressing these challenges?
Flexibility: Firstly, MATRIX will have access control and routing services that will allow seamless integration of public and private chains, meeting business demand for permissioned networks, whilst allowing information to flow both ways. Secondly, MATRIX uses an AI learning framework that allows the blockchain to evolve without the risk of a hard-fork.
Scalability: MATRIX proposes an innovative Proof-of-Work (PoW) + Proof-of Stake (PoS) structure, dynamically selecting a delegation network, in which all nodes are voted as delegates of others. PoW is only allocated inside the delegation network leading to less latency due to fewer nodes. The selection process is random in that a node is selected with a probability proportional to its PoS. MATRIX claim that this will enable the network to support 100,000 TPS.
Security: MATRIX again uses AI technology to ensure security. Their AI based security engine has a rule-based engine for smart contracts, a formal verification toolkit for security properties, a detection engine for transaction model identification and a deep learning platform for dynamic security verification and enhancement.
This sounds incredible, but can MATRIX AI Network deliver?
This is a highly ambitious project that has huge potential to not only solve a number of the challenges faced by existing blockchains, but also to create a secure, user friendly experience that can take blockchain mainstream. A project as ambitious as this needs strong business and technical leadership to succeed. Below is an overview of the core team which suggests that the MATRIX project is in very safe hands and has a high chance of success.
Technical Expertise: Professor Steve Deng PhD, is the Chief AI Scientist, and has a strong track record in the fields of machine learning, data analytics and computer architecture. He has over 50 peer reviewed papers. His book, Structure IC Design and High Level Synthesis, is recognised by the Chinese Department of Education as the official graduate level textbook on the subject. His work directly lead to the MATRIX team winning the PASCAL 2 AI competition⁷ in 2017. Prior to MATRIX he was the Vice Principal Architect for China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation’s AI based prognostics health management for high-speed trains system.
Operational Expertise: Mr. John Zhu, the Senior Vice-President, has over 20 years of experience in management, marketing and government relations. He has supervised the construction of a multi-satellite ground station for the Moon Discovery Project and is well placed to lead the construction, deployment and operations of the MATRIX offering.
Business Expertise: Mr. Owen Tao, the CEO, has a strong track record of managing product development. He led the development and operations of China’s cross-border e-commerce platform that secured over 20 million global users.
The remainder of the team⁸ are very experienced and there is also a strong team of advisors to provide guidance and support to the project. It is notable that the project is backed by Torque Capital Partners⁹ who have a strong track record of supporting extremely successful blockchain projects¹⁰.
What does the future hold for the MATRIX AI Network project?
Having only recently completed (a highly successful) fund raise¹¹ MATRIX is still flying under the radar of a number in the blockchain and crypto community (who are often only focused on tokens listed on the major exchanges).
However, MATRIX look to be ramping up their campaign to create awareness of their exciting project. Amongst other promotional events and activities, they will be at the Blockchain Expo¹¹ in London this April. We will be there and hope to meet with the MATRIX team to put some questions to them and hope to be back with further details on this revolutionary project in due course.
Disclaimer: This article should not be taken as, and is not intended to provide, investment advice. Please conduct your own thorough research before investing in any cryptocurrency.