Hi there! This time around, we’ve zoomed in on the moral-ethical news, dedicating a section to tackling and combating deepfake child pornography. For those who think this isn’t important, feel free to skip our digest. Additionally, we’ll delve into the preservation of $126 million in the Cosmos blockchain, Argentina’s crypto-fueled navigation through financial crises, and the cool updates in the Bitcoin blockchain with a not-so-subtle number 420, whatever that may imply. So, let’s dive in!

Securing Cosmos: Addressing a Critical IBC Protocol Bug

Cosmos fixes “critical” Inter-Blockchain Communication (IBC) protocol bug, saving $126 Million. As per Asymmetric Research, this bug has always been lurking in IBC, but it only became exploitable recently due to changes in the protocol’s codebase.

The bug only became exploitable recently after Cosmos developers launched a new third-party application called IBC Middleware, allowing tokens of the ICS20 interchain token standard to traverse chains.

Source: Drata.com

This bug could have led to a replay attack, enabling a hacker to mint an infinite number of tokens on IBC-connected chains, such as Osmosis and other decentralized financial ecosystems on Cosmos.

Asymmetric noted that the bug has existed in ibc-go, the high-level programming language implementation of IBC, since its launch in 2021.

Cosmos developers patched a “critical” security flaw in their IBC protocol, which put at least $126 million at risk, reported a blockchain security firm that privately notified Cosmos of the issue.

We disclosed the vulnerability confidentially through the Cosmos HackerOne Bug Bounty program, and the issue is now fixed. No malicious exploitation occurred, and no funds were lost.

Asymmetric Research on April 23

Cosmos has previously encountered network vulnerabilities. In October 2022, another “critical” security vulnerability was discovered in the IBC protocol, affecting all chains connected to IBC, but it was fixed before any potential exploits emerged.

Protecting Children in the AI Sphere: Industry Collaboration Against CSAM

To combat the spread of child sexual abuse material (CSAM), a coalition of leading generative artificial intelligence developers, including Google, Meta, and OpenAI, are teaming up with other industry giants against artificial violence imagery involving children.

The group is spearheaded by two nonprofit organizations: the Child Safety Technical Group Thorn and New York-based All Tech is Human. Formerly known as the DNA Foundation, Thorn was founded in 2012 by actors Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher.

The collective commitment was announced on Tuesday alongside a new report from Thorn advocating for the principle of “Safety by Design” in the development of generative AI, aiming to prevent the creation of CSAM throughout the lifecycle of AI models.

Among other companies signing onto this commitment are Microsoft, Anthropic, Mistral AI, Amazon, Stability AI, Civit AI, and Metaphysical, each of which has issued separate statements.

As part of our ethos at Metaphysical, it’s about responsible development in the realm of artificial intelligence, yes, it’s about expanding rights and possibilities, but it’s about responsibility too.

Alejandro Lopez, Marketing Director at Metaphysical

We deeply care about the safety and responsible use of our tools, so we’ve embedded robust safety measures into ChatGPT and DALL-E.

Chelsea Carlson, Head of Child Safety at Metaphysical, in a statement.

At Meta, we’ve spent over a decade working to keep people safe online. During this time, we’ve developed numerous tools and features to help prevent potential harm and combat it, and as predators have adapted, trying to bypass our defenses, we’ve continued to adapt too.

Meta Prepared Statement

In all our products, we actively detect and remove CSAE materials using a combination of hash matching technology, AI classifiers, and human checks.

Susan Jasper, Google’s Vice President of Trust and Safety Solutions, in her message

The Issue of Deepfake Child Pornography and Its Resolution

Deepfake child pornography, already a headache on the internet, has spiked sharply since AI generative models became widely available, and autonomous AI models, which don’t need cloud services, are spreading on darknet forums.

Thorn is crafting tools and resources aimed at protecting children from sexual abuse and exploitation. In its 2022 impact report, the organization disclosed the detection of over 824,466 files containing materials depicting cruelty to children. Last year, Thorn reported that over 104 million files suspected of containing CSAM were registered in the U.S. alone.

According to Thorn, generative artificial intelligence makes creating large volumes of content easier than ever before. A single child predator could potentially churn out vast amounts of material depicting child sexual abuse (CSAM), including adaptations of original images and videos into new content.

Thorn’s report outlines a series of principles that generative AI developers will follow to prevent the use of their technologies for creating child pornography, including responsible sourcing of training datasets, incorporating feedback loops and stress-testing strategies, and tracing content history or “lineage” with adversarial abuse in mind. With this in mind, and responsibly deploying appropriate AI models.

Argentina Embraces Cryptocurrency as a Shield Against Economic Crises

Since 2017, Argentina has witnessed a significant surge in cryptocurrency adoption. Initially fueled by the first bull run in the cryptocurrency market, this trend has been further bolstered by subsequent crises in the country. Argentina’s economic landscape is characterized by constant issues, including high inflation, currency depreciation, and deep economic crises. In response to these problems, many Argentinians have turned to cryptocurrency to safeguard their wealth and evade prohibitive rules that undermine purchasing power.

Source: Meme2Earn

Data from the Crypto Innovation Council shows that by 2024, one-third of Argentinians will be using cryptocurrency for everyday transactions. Such a high level of adoption can be attributed to increased public awareness of the benefits of decentralized financial systems.

Strict currency controls in Argentina since 2020 have led to a sharp rise in the use of stablecoins. This class of assets provides a practical solution for individuals seeking to bypass traditional financial restrictions.

According to a report from the Mexican cryptocurrency exchange Bitso for the year 2023, 60% of cryptocurrency trading volume in Argentina is accounted for by stablecoins such as USDT or USDC.

Is Cryptocurrency the Solution to Argentina’s Currency Problems?

The integration of cryptocurrency in Argentina prompts a critical analysis of whether digital assets can solve the country’s persistent currency issues. While challenges like regulatory uncertainty and price volatility persist, the potential transformative impact of cryptocurrency on the economic landscape is undeniable.

A growing segment of the population increasingly views cryptocurrency as a viable alternative to traditional banking systems. Argentine President Javier Milie also supports the use of cryptocurrency.

The surge in cryptocurrency adoption in Argentina is backed by compelling statistics, underscoring the tangible impact of economic instability on the choices made by individuals and businesses. The rise of crypto startups, the prominence of stablecoins, and the evolving public perception of digital assets all contribute to the dynamic development of the situation.

Advancing Bitcoin: Technical Upgrades

Supporters of restoring the Satoshi-era team in the Bitcoin programming language unveiled new code on Monday outlining how to use “OP_CAT” to enhance Bitcoin’s functionality. One notable addition: including 420 as the proposed BIP change number.

Alongside the expected event of Bitcoin halving, 4/20 came and went, but the famous meme number has already resurfaced in BTC discussions amid attempts to alter Bitcoin’s software. OP_CAT, which could provide extended functionality for Bitcoin, was introduced as BIP-420 by Taproot Wizards co-founder Udi Wertheimer.

According to a blog post by Luxor Technology’s head of research Colin Harper, the approval of OP_CAT will allow developers to create so-called Bitcoin covenants. Covenants can use defined conditions under which bitcoins can be spent in the future, enabling their application in areas such as automated payments and reversible transactions.

In January, Wertheimer said that covenants could lay the groundwork for crypto technologies in Bitcoin, such as smart contracts and bridges. The updated formulation of the proposal comes as developers expand Bitcoin’s technical capabilities in other ways, such as the Ordinals and Runes protocols, which aim to emulate NFTs and meme coins in Bitcoin, respectively.

Exploring Taproot Wizards

Wertheimer created Taproot Wizards alongside influential figure Eric Wall early last year. As the popularity of Ordinals surged, the collection of Bitcoin-based collectibles emerged as one of the standout projects, fueled by flashy debates about the value of Ordinals featuring Wertheimer and Wall.

The group’s efforts became associated with a movement within the Bitcoin community to break away from traditionalist sentiments promoted by so-called “laser eyes,” who often argue that Bitcoin should focus solely on financial transactions.

Previous Digests: 

“The Bitcoin community typically frowns upon authors assigning themselves BIP numbers,” Wertheimer said in a tweet. “Fortunately, BIP-420 wasn’t self-assigned by the authors […] BIP-420 was assigned by the Bitcoin community.”

Well, folks, from safeguarding the Cosmos blockchain to combating deepfake child pornography, exploring Argentina’s embrace of cryptocurrency, and uncovering technical upgrades in Bitcoin, we’ve reached the end of our tech journey. Until next time!

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