Home Community Insights 5 BITES – Featuring – ThirdWeb; UAE Decline?; W3C ditches X, AI rules – China; EU; Follow-Fashion Fintech.

5 BITES – Featuring – ThirdWeb; UAE Decline?; W3C ditches X, AI rules – China; EU; Follow-Fashion Fintech.

5 BITES – Featuring – ThirdWeb; UAE Decline?; W3C ditches X, AI rules – China; EU; Follow-Fashion Fintech.

THIRDWEB HOPING TO STEM THE FLOW OF EXPLOITS ON EVM SMART CONTRACTS IT SERVICES

Thirdweb, a Web3 development framework provider, is mitigating a vulnerability affecting EVM (Ethereum Virtual Machine) compatible smart contracts across several networks. The vulnerability was discovered last month. The situation was publicly disclosed on December 4, and impacts assets held with many partners, like NFT market OpenSea.

So far, they have closed vulnerabilities on over 8000 smart contracts since they discovered the problem.

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It was keenly pointed out that Thirdweb is only one provider in a wider landscape, where openness about vulnerabilities varies from one business to another.

These exploits off EVM compatible smart contracts have been scaling exponentially over 2023.

The theft pandemic, which shows no sign of even stabilizing, let alone being arrested, saw $332 million lost to hacks, scams, and exploits off EVM compatible smart contracts last month alone.

According to Certik, a blockchain security company, more than $1 billion had been stolen from smart contracts as of the beginning of September. – Main story – Bitcoin .com.

Tempest is much more than just OpenSea

IS UAE BEGINNING TO FADE AS A CRYPTOHUB?

New CEO of Binance, Richard Teng, has been keen to make his mark on the global company. He succeeds the founding CEO, Changpeng Zhao, who spectacularly stepped down, amid both personal and corporate fines in the US, widely covered in the media.

One of his first steps has been to withdraw an application to operate from Abu Dhabi

Former CEO Zhao, is listed as the owner of two properties in Dubai.

The question is, how much is this change about UAEs’ inherent business hub attributes, worsening Middle East stability, or the demise of Binance?

This year, Binance withdrew a licence for Germany, dropped Cyrpus, and has future plans to leave Netherlands, though this can be seen as an unwillingness to operate in the EU under the terms of the imminent crypto asset regulations rollout.

Binance is also being forced out of Belgium, Australia and The Philippines.

However, Middle East conflict that began in October, and increasing US interest in the activities and intentions of Iran, are good reasons to lose enthusiasm for the Saudi Peninsulas’ eastern seaboard.

It’s difficult to tell at this juncture, whether this is just about the new management style of Teng, a bigger problem of managing the dismantling of a fatally wounded crypto empire, or simply prudent evolution of operations in a fast changing global crypto-landscape.. – Main story – Reuters

W3C DITCHES X FOR MASTODON

World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is a not-for-profit organisation set up by the ‘father of the internet’ Tim Berners Lee, and represents a community approach to best practice, and standards setting in the evolution of ‘every iteration of internet’. ‘W3C develops standards and guidelines to help everyone build a web based on the principles of accessibility, internationalization, privacy and security.’

It has a host of Github projects, and works though working groups from all the way back at the dawn of mass internet availability to the Decentralized Identifier (DID) Working Group Charter and the Immersive Web Working Groups of today.

The exact reasons for W3C leaving X were not overtly stated.

An article by Sarah Bregel on Fast Company relates a story about an account ‘appropriated’ from one Gene X Hwang – ‘  Last month, when Twitter rebranded as X, it also swiped the X handle away from San Francisco photographer Gene X Hwang, who had used it since 2007.

Although Hwang had hoped the company might offer him compensation for the handle, he was instead offered a choice of another inactive username – as well as company merch and a visit to its headquarters. “They just took it essentially –  kinda what I thought might happen,” Hwang told The Telegraph. “They did send an email saying it is the property of ‘X’ essentially.”

Mastodon marks its X with W3C!

These sorts of developments wouldn’t sit well with an organisation like W3C; their intro on the new Mastodon account reads:

‘w3c.social is a friendly and respectful instance for people involved in the activities of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The instance is run on a volunteer basis by a few of the W3C team.’

Linked icons to the Mastodon, X and Github accounts of W3C are still in the footer of their website pages. The X page now says:

‘The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is no longer active on this platform. Please find us at @[email protected]. W3C makes the Web work, for everyone.’

The W3C, which was set up in 1994, has held an X (then Twitter) account since 2009. (y combinator blog; W3C own accounts).

BEIJING INTERNET COURT APPROVES COPYRIGHT PROTECTION FOR AI GENERATED IMAGES.

27 November, the court ruled, ‘selecting prompt words, and arranging the order of prompt words, is sufficient to reflect the human authors personalized expression and originality.’

From 9ja Cosmos own experience of creating the ‘Sino Amazon’ side of the ‘Sinosignia’ project, we are ambivalent. Our products aren’t a simple process of dreaming up a prompt and getting a result. There are many different tools we use, each with their own unique properties, and we have to combine these tools, along with manual injection of art authoring, across a deep layering of image creation across each product.

When trying to do a run of 1000 images, all of them conforming to a central theme, and a very strict set of outcome requirements, that’s massively harder than producing a single image that just ‘looks cool’.

China and EU, AI perspectives – very different views!

With this ‘industrial’ volume of creation, creator time is not the only cost. Devices and tools, and the rolling cost of internet, content display, software tools, and online services and subscriptions all needed to get the job done, are additional costs of production.

So of course, we are not in favour of our products being seen through the same legal lens as the result of a single phrase someone dreamed up off the top of their head, and the click of a button.

The Chinese are already invested very heavily in the development of their AI industry, and this seems to be more about lubricating the future paths for AI device and software products, rather than anything to do with either those that will try to use these devices and products to make a living, or those whose existing artwork or likeness may be infringed upon through their use.

But the proposals in front of the EU, for example, are not evenly balanced either.

It has a 4-tier rating system from ‘Unacceptable Risk’ to ‘Minimal or No Risk’ but the focal points of risk assessment seem to be limited to societal ills and individual rights infringement (protection of minors, threats from deep-fake, and unauthorised use of likenesses),  to the exclusion of taking a position on creator IP.

It’s a little bit like when the typewriter arrived, before which, novelists gave hand-written manuscripts to publishers. Sure, the typewriter changes things, but if a legal/judicial review of the new creator regime is needed, it shouldn’t just focus on typewriter manufacturers, it should also  focus on the ‘typewriter enabled’ exchange between novelist, publisher and market. This is missing on the EU side.

Compliance seems costly, with no added creator IP clarification and critics argue that the time and money it takes to comply with such rules may be daunting for start-ups in particular.

Main Stories, Angela Huyue Zhang, Dan Milmo

THE FOLLOW-FASHION OF FINTECH AND DEFI IN 9JA

Nigerian masses have a strong track record of ‘follow-fashion’, aka bandwagoning. We’ve seen all sorts of business pandemics, with no testing of the business case, no analytics, and no hard metrics that those established are actually doing ‘ok’.

There is this perception that anybody sustaining a business must be ‘buoyant’ and without solid data to support this, copying them can break people.

In the distant past, I’ve seen one empty road collect an under educated teenage boy as a vulcanizer. Before you know it, there are 10 vulcanizers on the same street.

Over the years, the same has happened with starting an internet café, selling ‘recharge card’, selling okreka (second hand clothes), starting an NGO, starting a school, starting a micro-finance bank, starting a church, ‘pure water’ business, hair salon, the list goes on (you can add your own in the comments).

Whether you want to bring a blockchain enabled solution or not, Fintech in general is the over-saturated ‘Red Ocean’.

Fundraising to scale fintech continentally is an illusion – home advantage and early adoption favours the Indigene Fintech. Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya can grow their own Fintech Gladiators, but if they venture outside their nation, they will die in their fellow Africans Coliseum. 

A week ago, Ndubuisi Ekekwe wrote of how ‘MPESA clones failed in Nigeria and South Africa because both markets were financially more advanced than Kenya’s when MPESA started. So, anything MPESA offered Nigerians and South Africans was not better than the current products, for them to switch.’

Ijeoma Akwiwu and Nkiru Amadi-Emina, two women with experience running supply chain enterprises, formed Pivo Technology. They established Pivo Technology in 2021 to support SMEs in the supply chain by offering quick and adaptable financing solutions, beginning with lending. Last year, Pivo received $500k in the Y Combinator SS 22 batch. They later secured funds from Precursor Ventures, Vested World,  FoundersX and Mercy Corp Ventures to bring that total to $2m, with a plan to contest the East African Market. The startup had two fintech verticals: Pivo Capital, a lending product, and Pivo Business, a business banking product. Main Stories: Techloy, Muktar Oladunmade.

Pivo are now shutting down. So far there has not been an announcement on reasons. Enter Web 3 in Nigeria if you like, tokenize RWA real live bunny rabbits if you like… think of anything you like, as long as that isn’t fintech!

All sources accessed 09-12-2023

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