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Gates Foundation Selects Nearly 50 Global Health and Development Projects That Will Contribute to Shaping Equitable Access to AI

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Global call for locally led innovation will help build an evidence base for use of artificial intelligence (AI) large language models in low- and middle-income countries to improve the livelihood and well-being of communities globally  

SEATTLE, Aug. 10, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Following an overwhelming response to its most recent Grand Challenges request for proposals, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation today announced a group of nearly 50 grant recipients who are developing global health and development solutions for their communities using AI-enabled large language models (LLMs). Guided by the goal of reducing global inequity, the call for proposals specifically targeted researchers and innovators in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). 

Responsible and safe use of AI-driven LLM technology has the potential to help solve some of the world’s toughest health and development challenges. However, for these models to be useful in LMICs, researchers in LMICs need to participate in the design, application, and testing of this technology as it rapidly evolves. A robust evidence base will fill gaps in access and our knowledge about the application of such tools to address problems across LMICs in an equitable way.   

Today’s announcement is part of the foundation’s Grand Challenges program, a family of initiatives fostering innovation to solve pressing global health and development problems. Each recipient will receive up to US$100,000 to advance its research project, for a total of US$5 million in grants.  

Selected recipients are from Bangladesh, Brazil, Ghana, India, Kenya, Lebanon, Malawi, Mali, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Vietnam. The findings of these projects will be shared at the Grand Challenges Annual Meeting in Dakar, Senegal, this October. A full list of projects can be found here. Click here for the full press release.

About Grand Challenges 

The Grand Challenges family of programs stems from a century-old idea that crowdsourcing solutions to a defined set of unsolved problems can spark innovation and accelerate progress. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and its Grand Challenges funding partners first used Challenges—open requests for grant proposals—in 2003 to focus attention and effort on pressing global health and development problems for those most in need. Together, Grand Challenges partners have awarded more than 3,600 grants to a diverse pool of problem solvers in more than 100 countries, while at the same time fostering a global innovation ecosystem in places where it will have the most impact. The foundation and its Grand Challenges partners will continue to launch RFPs to support innovators from around the world in tackling the hardest, most urgent Grand Challenges. To learn more, visit grandchallenges.org

About the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation 

Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Mark Suzman, under the direction of Co-chairs Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates and the board of trustees. 

Contact: [email protected]

View original content:https://www.prnewswire.co.uk/news-releases/gates-foundation-selects-nearly-50-global-health-and-development-projects-that-will-contribute-to-shaping-equitable-access-to-ai-301897430.html

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Web3 Startups Raise Nearly $1.9B in Q1 2024 Despite Overall Downtrend in Crypto VC Interest

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Venture capital funding for cryptocurrency and blockchain projects has seen a notable resurgence in the first quarter of 2024, marking its first quarterly rise since 2021. Crunchbase data released today indicates that Web3 startups secured nearly $1.9 billion in funding across 346 deals during this period. This represents a substantial 58% increase from the previous quarter, offering a glimmer of hope amidst the ongoing downward trend in overall crypto VC interest.

The recent surge in funding can be attributed to investors adopting a more long-term perspective on Web3, as opposed to the hype-driven “tourist investors” predominant in recent years. Chris Metinko, the author of the report, notes that investors are shifting their focus to the AI sector, indicating a change in investment strategy. There is a growing interest in supporting the foundational infrastructure of the decentralized internet, rather than solely concentrating on crypto wallets and lending platforms, which attracted significant investments during the peak period of 2021 to 2022.

While large funding rounds were relatively uncommon in Q1, several notable investments stood out. Exohood Labs, a company integrating AI, quantum computing, and blockchain, secured a remarkable $112 million seed round at a valuation of $1.4 billion. EigenLabs, an Ether token “restaking” platform, raised $100 million in a Series B round led by a16z crypto. Additionally, Freechat, a decentralized social network leveraging blockchain technology, secured $80 million in a Series A round. These investments, among others, contributed to the increase in valuations and the emergence of four new Web3 unicorns in Q1.

Despite the recent progress, the future trajectory of Web3 remains uncertain. Metinko suggests that the next few quarters will be pivotal in determining the industry’s direction. While investors anticipate a rebound in investment as the decentralized internet evolves, it may take another year for venture capital activity to stabilize after the exuberance of 2021. Factors such as the approval of U.S. spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds and the upcoming Bitcoin halving could also influence the market, given the rising prices of Bitcoin and Ether.

A noteworthy example of significant funding in the Web3 space is Monad Labs’ recent successful funding round, which secured $225 million led by Paradigm. Monad Labs is a layer-1 blockchain compatible with Ethereum, offering faster transaction processing. This funding round harkens back to the golden era of crypto funding in 2021-2022, when L1 solutions attracted substantial investments.

Earlier this year, Balance, a digital asset custodian based in Canada, announced that it had once again reached $2 billion in assets under custody (AUC) amidst the recent market recovery. Similarly, Korea Digital Asset (KODA), the largest institutional crypto custody service in South Korea, has experienced remarkable growth in crypto assets under its custody, expanding by nearly 248% in the second half of 2023.

Analysts at Bernstein Research project that crypto funds could reach an impressive $500 billion to $650 billion within the next five years, representing a significant leap from the current valuation of approximately $50 billion. This forecast underscores the growing optimism and potential for substantial growth within the crypto industry in the coming years.

Source: cryptonews.com

The post Web3 Startups Raise Nearly $1.9B in Q1 2024 Despite Overall Downtrend in Crypto VC Interest appeared first on HIPTHER Alerts.

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ASIC cracks down on blockchain mining firms

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Three blockchain mining companies – NGS Crypto, NGS Digital, and NGS Group – along with their directors, Brett Mendham, Ryan Brown, and Mark Ten Caten, are facing legal action from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) for allegedly operating without a license, in violation of Australia’s Corporations Act. ASIC initiated legal proceedings against these entities on April 9, citing concerns about their non-compliance with financial regulations and their solicitation of Australian investors.

According to ASIC, the NGS companies promoted blockchain mining packages with fixed-rate returns to Australian investors, encouraging the transfer of funds from regulated superannuation funds to self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs) for conversion into cryptocurrency. Approximately 450 Australians invested a total of around USD 41 million in these packages, raising concerns about potential financial losses.

The legal action filed by ASIC alleges that the companies violated section 911A of the Corporations Act, which prohibits companies from providing financial services without a valid Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL). ASIC is seeking interim and final court orders to prohibit the NGS companies from offering financial services in Australia without an AFSL.

ASIC Chair Joe Longo emphasized the importance of investors carefully considering the risks before investing in crypto-related products through their SMSFs. Longo stated that ASIC’s actions send a message to the crypto industry about the regulator’s commitment to ensuring compliance with regulations and protecting consumers.

In a separate development, the Federal Court appointed receivers for the digital currency assets associated with the NGS companies and their directors to safeguard these assets amid concerns about the risk of dissipation. Mendham was also issued a travel restriction order, preventing him from leaving Australia.

While a court date for the proceedings has not been set, ASIC’s investigation is ongoing, with the regulator continuing to gather evidence and build its case. It is worth noting that the investigated companies share a similar name with NGS Super, a legitimate Australian pensions provider, leading to potential confusion among investors. NGS Super clarified that it is not involved in selling cryptocurrency or related products and has taken legal action to protect its trademark and members’ interests.

Source: iclg.com

The post ASIC cracks down on blockchain mining firms appeared first on HIPTHER Alerts.

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Crypto and Blockchain Weave Deeper Into the Biometrics Space – Identity News Digest

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AuthID Inc. has formed a strategic partnership with the National Notarial Centralized Verification System (NNCVS) to integrate biometric identity verification into NNCVS’s online notary platform. NNCVS, a provider of nationwide online services for notaries, aims to transition from a local, in-person framework to a more secure, digital model. By leveraging AuthID’s platform, NNCVS will authenticate the identities of notarial agents and their clients using biometric checks that compare selfies with ID document photos. This enhancement ensures heightened security throughout users’ interactions with the service.

iVALT has introduced a mobile app called OnDemandID, designed to enable users to verify the identity of individuals during phone calls, video calls, or online interactions with a single click. The app employs multiple verification elements, including biometrics, device ID, and location-based parameters like geofencing and time windowing, to prevent deepfake attacks and identity fraud. OnDemandID prioritizes user privacy by storing biometric data locally on the device and refraining from tracking user movements. Additionally, iVALT offers integration into existing enterprise mobile apps, providing a solution to enhance caller verification processes within corporate environments.

Keyless, a company specializing in secure facial recognition, has partnered with EnQualify, an AI-powered Know Your Customer (KYC) verification provider, to enhance online identity verification. Keyless’s privacy-centric ZKB technology will integrate with EnQualify’s AI for initial user verification, enabling a seamless and secure authentication process. This collaboration eliminates the need for repetitive steps and data storage, offering a faster and more user-friendly verification experience while ensuring robust security measures.

Australian fintech Waave has launched its Wallet app to enhance security and convenience for online payments. Integrated with Waave’s Pay by Bank system, Wallet utilizes fingerprint or facial recognition for secure authentication, eliminating the need for passwords and card details. This approach addresses concerns about online fraud, providing a streamlined payment process for consumers and merchants alike. Additionally, Wallet will introduce expense tracking features later in 2024, further enhancing its utility for users.

BeatBit Wellness Lab has introduced the CUDIS ring, a wearable device focused on user-controlled health data management. Powered by Solana blockchain technology, CUDIS tracks biometric data and offers personalized health insights using AI algorithms. Users can contribute anonymized data to a research network and earn rewards, emphasizing data ownership and privacy. The CUDIS ring integrates securely with other Solana and Web3 products, offering users a comprehensive health monitoring solution within the decentralized ecosystem.

Worldcoin has unveiled World Chain, a new blockchain platform designed to prioritize verified human users over bots, aiming to reduce network congestion and transaction fees. Integrated with the Worldcoin protocol’s Proof of Personhood, World Chain provides verified users with priority blockspace and gas allowances. This Layer 2 solution, secured by Ethereum, offers developers access to a large pool of verified users for deploying utility applications. World Chain is set to be open source and permissionless, with plans for community-based governance in the future.

New South Wales (NSW) has launched an Australia-first trial to test digital birth certificates, involving over 18,000 children associated with specific educational institutions. Led by the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages in collaboration with the Department of Customer Service, the pilot explores the use of digital certificates with the same legal validity as traditional paper versions. Digital birth certificates aim to simplify administrative tasks and offer enhanced security and convenience, particularly in disaster-prone areas where paper documents could be compromised.

Source: findbiometrics.com

The post Crypto and Blockchain Weave Deeper Into the Biometrics Space – Identity News Digest appeared first on HIPTHER Alerts.

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