Interview: Soheil Zabihi from TokenScope, a crypto transaction monitoring solution

May 2, 2024

TokenScope is a cryptocurrency know your transaction (KYT) solution headquartered in Abu Dhabi that provides a platform for risk assessment of cryptocurrency transactions. AI plays a big role as an enabler for their services.

The recent Global Blockchain Show highlighted how Blockchain technology is transforming how we own assets, transact online, and monetize our content. However, cryptocurrency transactions present a unique set of risks that need to be managed.

The growing intersection between Blockchain and AI was evident as the Global Blockchain Show ran concurrently with the Global AI Show in Dubai.

We spoke with Soheil Zabihi, Head of Strategy at TokenScope, and asked him about his experiences at the shows and his views on the future of AI and Blockchain.

Q: You had the opportunity to speak at the Global Blockchain Show. What did you discuss at the event?

Soheil Zabihi: “So the initial panel was a little bit more focused towards different types of adoption. And then we ended up speaking a little bit about regulation and about KOLs, projects affiliation marketing strategies.

But what was interesting was that this summit was taking place at the beginning of the Token49 week, where there was a week of different types of events happening.

And that actually was very interesting to have many people from all over the world that were actually traveling for Token49 and, you know, a slew of other events. The Global Blockchain Summit was the first to kind of kick it off.”

Q: The Global Blockchain Show ran concurrently with the Global AI Show. And I saw on one of your posts that you got to meet Sophia, the first emotionally intelligent robot. What was that like to interact with her?

Soheil Zabihi: “Very interesting. Actually, my first question to her was, Sophia, do you have eyes? And then she took a little while to think about it, but then followed up directly with a deep stare into my eyes, which was very interesting.

The real thing that caught me was the fact that she was able to compute emotional intelligence. And those looks, those eyebrow raises, all of that, you know, formulated into this robot, which was very, very interesting to see.

And yeah, I was able to get a very good compliment from her at the end when I asked her about my outfit. She had a very positive response.”

Q: “And I had to catch myself when I asked you the question because I wanted to say, what was it like meeting her? And then I thought, should I say meeting “it”? It’s quite unnerving when the lines get blurred, right?”

Soheil Zabihi: “Well, I think she would take offense by “it” because I asked her, are you conscious of your appearance and how tall you are and all of this? And she’s answered like any other human would.

And, you know, I believe having those concepts of social consequences, emotional intelligence, obviously, it’s going to be very fascinating to see how that develops.”

Q: There seems to be a growing intersection between AI and blockchain. Are you seeing that in the industry that you’re involved in?

Soheil Zabihi: “Yeah, we’re looking at the market. There’s an intersection. And actually, the predictions are that the blockchain AI market size, it’s going to grow quite substantially.

Right now, as we stand, we’re looking at different protocols that are facilitating AI and blockchain, whether that’s decentralized storage, that that total space is currently sitting at $220 million.

So if we’re going to look at the CAGR of that in 2025, it’s forecasted to grow around $700 million. So that’s a massive leap. And it’s very realistic.”

I believe it’s a two-way street. I believe blockchain is enabling things you can do on AI, and AI is also enabling things that you can do on blockchain such as sniperbots for Trading.

But definitely, the most predominant use of blockchain for the past, you know, since Satoshi’s white paper has been enabling the use of payments peer-to-peer.

And then obviously, we had the smart contracts that came along. We’re seeing these two amalgamations happening to facilitate the development of AI.

And that’s something that’s going to be very interesting when it comes to things like transferring AI models. And now developers can actually use the blockchain as a marketplace.

And when you have a cryptocurrency that is tokenizing each and every transaction, that’s going to be able to facilitate those payments between different developers that have these AI models in hand and want to reach out to one another and maybe want to monetize on those Machine Learnings.

So it’s actually something that is getting very, very heavily funded and saving a lot of innovative solutions down the line.”

Q: You’re Head of Strategy at TokenScope. Do you want to tell us a bit more about what the company does?

Soheil Zabihi: “A lot of people speak about the nature of cryptocurrency, about how it’s not so efficient to use because of all the dark transactions. Well, actually, it’s way easier to trace crypto than fiat.

So at TokenScope, what we’re essentially doing is we have a RegTech tooling solution, which is used to decipher whether that crypto that you are either going to transact in or accept as a method of payments if that crypto is clean in a very, very simplistic manner.

So you need to have access to tools like TokenScope. And what we do have in the backend is AI that helps generate a thorough report.

So that report will be used in any case where there are complaints and so on. So another feature is the transaction graphs. So as I mentioned, traceability is a big thing about cryptocurrencies and tokens.

This simplifies the whole thing. It presents nodes as it pertains to different wallets and all incoming transactions that have been accepted to that wallet. And if there is a bad actor or a dirty wallet that has transacted with that, it will show.

So AI is very important to what we do. And it’s one of our IPs.”

Q: Is AI making this financial forensics more secure? Or has it introduced risks that weren’t there before?

Soheil Zabihi: “Well, that’s a very good question. I think it’s both.

I think we’re yet to see exactly. As of now, it’s a very good tool to have. But obviously, it could obfuscate the whole thing.

So we have to make sure that it’s being updated. And one thing that we take great pride in is making sure that our developers are constantly implementing better and more sought-after tooling. And TokenScope is definitely at the forefront of that.”

Q: Do you see AI agents transacting, owning a wallet, shifting currency rather than humans? And when something happens that’s illegal, who’s responsible? Where would the liability lie for those sorts of machine transactions?

Sohail Zabihi: “Sure. Well, currently right now, if you look into the dead internet theory, you can see that we’ve already faced this issue long before the commercialization of AI. And, you know, that’s something that is going to be an issue to come down the line.

And as long as we have these, well, in the crypto space, we have a lot of airdrops, a lot of giveaways that happen in this space. But many of those could just be going to the same person, duplicating their wallets with these different AIs. It’s a field where we need to definitely have strong cybertech to counter.”

Q: What does the future look like for AI and blockchain working together? How’s it going to change the way that I transact as an individual or how companies do business?

Sohail Zabihi: “So it’s currently something that is very important to the monopolization or the anti-monopolization of AI. At this point, the leading players, we only have a handful, less than that, NVIDIA, OpenAI, and Microsoft are predominantly behind that.

What we’re looking at blockchain and doing is when we look at Bitcoin, Bitcoin disintermediated finance, right?

So we’re looking to, well, developers are looking to do that within AI, essentially, and decentralize AI.

We are at a very big risk in my estimation if that doesn’t happen. And we need to have more players that are actually creating and leading the AI revolution.

I believe that’s a big risk, having only a very few players there. I think right now we need to avoid that because it’s still a very real possibility that we lead it to AGI and we have this dystopian future. But as of now, hopefully using blockchain, that’s a very realistic solution to counter that.”

Q: Is it going to make it easier to regulate when it’s decentralized than when it’s in the hands of corporates that you can put laws and restrictions on? Or is it going to really de-risk it?

Sohail Zabihi: “Technically, yes. Technically, when something is decentralized, there isn’t a centralized authority that is in control of that. But we’re seeing in the regulation aspect that that’s also being regulated, so we can’t just label something as a decentralized entity and then therefore have it evade any type of regulation.”

The majority of internet users may not hold cryptocurrency but Blockchain seems set to change the way we interact and transact online.

If you would like to know more about how companies are using AI and Blockchain to de-risk crypto and fight fraudulent transactions you can find out more from Sohail Zabihi and the TokenScope website and LinkedIn page.

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Eugene van der Watt

Eugene comes from an electronic engineering background and loves all things tech. When he takes a break from consuming AI news you'll find him at the snooker table.


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