Friday’s Round-up: Deals In AI, Crypto And The Future Of Banking

by Marios Roussos
Friday’s round-up: Deals in AI, crypto and the future of banking

A walk down with the weekly highlights

A new section of articles is starting today at The Future, where we try to summarize the biggest news around startups, investments, technology -yes, Artificial Intelligence mostly- and many other topics that we highlighted this week.

Closer to the Startup World Cup

Before we start, we can’t hold ourselves and say that we are excited. The reason is that 32 innovative startups have already taken the leap and joined the Startup World Cup, the global competition that brings together top startups, investors, VCs, entrepreneurs, and world-class tech CEOs. This year, the Startup World Cup regional finals will take place in Cyprus for the first time – over 100 startups will compete for an opportunity to present Cyprus in the San Francisco Grand Finale on October 2-4, 2024.

Don’t forget that the deadline for the applications is on May 12. It’s time to act fast and secure your spot in the competition. Apply here.

A great deal on AI

First, we have DEEPX, a pioneering South Korean startup specializing in on-device AI chips, recently secured a remarkable $80 million in Series C funding, catapulting its valuation to $529 million. Led by CEO Lokwon Kim, a veteran with experience at prominent tech companies like Apple and Cisco Systems, DEEPX is poised to make significant strides in the burgeoning on-device AI market. This funding injection, bringing its total raised capital to approximately $95 million, is earmarked for the mass production of DEEPX’s flagship products and the development of next-generation solutions.

The global edge AI market is on a meteoric rise, projected to reach a staggering $107.47 billion by 2029. DEEPX, along with competitors like Hailo and SiMa.ai, is at the vanguard of this revolution, catering to the burgeoning demand for AI capabilities embedded directly into electronic devices. Kim emphasises DEEPX’s competitive edge, highlighting its cost efficiency, energy consumption optimisation, and comprehensive AI solutions tailored for diverse applications such as computer vision, robotics, and smart mobility.

Despite not having secured customers yet, DEEPX is actively engaged in collaborations with over 100 potential clients and strategic partners, including Hyundai Kia Motors Robotics Lab and POSCO DX. This recent funding round, spearheaded by SkyLake Equity Partners and supported by prominent investors like BNW Investments and Timefolio Asset Management, underscores investor confidence in DEEPX’s vision and technological prowess, propelling the company towards a promising future in the ever-evolving landscape of on-device AI.

Revolut’s exes join crypto

Three former Revolut employees have founded X10, a new crypto exchange for professional traders, securing a $6.5 million investment to address a market gap left by FTX, once led by Sam Bankman-Fried. Positioned as a “self-custodial” exchange, X10 seeks to merge the benefits of centralised and decentralised systems in crypto trading, allowing users to hold their assets in their wallets while processing trades via a centralised system for smoother transactions. 

Ruslan Fakhrutdinov, one of X10’s founders and Revolut’s former head of crypto operations, highlights the inspiration behind X10 stemming from the FTX collapse, which saw billions in customer deposits lost in risky trades. Fakhrutdinov emphasizes the need for financial freedom and blockchain’s self-custody capability to prevent such catastrophes. Despite the security advantages of decentralised exchanges, X10 aims to bridge the gap by offering a more user-friendly interface while maintaining transparency and honesty.

The launch of X10 coincides with a resurgence in crypto investment, with $357 million raised across 51 deals last quarter amid regulatory advancements, including the approval of eleven bitcoin ETFs by the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Riding the wave of the bullish market, X10 plans to utilise its funding to expand its trading platform, with a focus on developing a mobile app to cater to the growing demand from both retail and institutional investors.

The ability for NSFW through AI

OpenAI, renowned for its advancements in artificial intelligence (AI), has recently disclosed its contemplation regarding the responsible creation of NSFW (not safe for work) content, including pornography and explicit materials, through its AI technology, notably ChatGPT. Despite its existing policies against sexually suggestive content, OpenAI’s Model Spec document suggests a potential shift in approach, hinting at the exploration of avenues to permit such content within age-appropriate contexts.

While the company spokesperson, Niko Felix, affirmed that OpenAI has no intentions of endorsing AI-generated pornography, Joanne Jang, involved in drafting the Model Spec, acknowledged that users’ interpretations of adult content might vary. This strategic contemplation aligns with OpenAI’s broader objective of fostering transparency in its developmental processes, seeking input from diverse stakeholders to navigate the complex landscape of AI ethics and societal expectations.

However, the potential implications of OpenAI’s pivot towards explicit content generation raise concerns, particularly regarding privacy violations and the proliferation of deepfake pornography, which poses significant challenges to consent and online safety, as underscored by legal expert Danielle Keats Citron. Amidst these considerations, questions arise regarding OpenAI’s capacity to effectively regulate the misuse of its AI tools, highlighting the critical importance of robust ethical frameworks and proactive measures to mitigate potential harms in AI development and deployment.

The future of banking

We also had an exclusive interview with, Alexander Gromov, the visionary founder and CEO of PickTheBank, a fintech platform pioneering seamless access to banking products across the European Union.

He unveiled the inspiration behind PickTheBank, discussed with The Future the challenges of EU banking fragmentation, and shared insights into the company’s strategic initiatives and future trajectory. Can one individual stand at the forefront of innovation, poised to revolutionise the way consumers navigate financial markets? Find out here.

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