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Altered State Machine, $ASTO and the Next Great Evolution of NFTs
Combining NFTs, AI and Machine Learning
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Pickle here again. Today I am going to talk about an innovative project that is combining NFTs, AI and machine learning.
What’s to come?
What is Altered State Machine (ASM)?
What are AI Agents?
AIFA - Proof of Concept Game
The Token - $ASTO
Why this all excites me?
What’s the play?
What is Altered State Machine (ASM)?
Altered State Machine is an NFT platform looking to advance the NFT space by adding in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in order to open up to a massive world of possibilities.
The ‘AI Agents’ this will produce will have innumerable use cases.
They’ve been gathering hype with their recent/ongoing $ASTO token launch, but many big brains have been following their progress from afar for some time, alongside clear connections and (silent) partnerships with the most prominent and valuable NFT series released thus far.
Altered State Machine's vision is to be the protocol for ownership and monetisation of A.I.'s using NFT technology.
I believe given how novel it is, the knowledge barrier to understanding it, and it being in its infancy - there is potentially a lot of untapped edge and alpha here, and potentially significant upside in value for those willing to take on some risk.
Some of what the project does is hard to understand, so I’ll try and break it down for you.
Before I get started I should mention that they have a patent pending regarding their use of technology, which whilst some may argue is against the ethos of the open source nature of web3, can sometimes be necessary to allow for a moat to be developed, and network effects needed for a project like this to gather momentum, and often a patent can protect from ‘big tech’ swallowing a smaller project such as this.
Altered State Machine has a patent pending for the ownership of AI ML models using NFTs.
What are AI agents?
Brains consist of the core starting attributes of an AI agent, called a ‘Genome matrix’.
Genome Matrix values correspond to stats like strength, speed and size (in gaming) or risk tolerance and randomness (in finance).
It is important to note, through Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML) training, brains less fortunate than others in attributes desired for a specific purpose (a game, a bot) can still learn those attributes but may take longer, and go about it a different way, similar to humans of differing innate abilities targeting the same goals.
this structure will allow the introduction of randomness (and thus enhance the depth of) certain types of metaverse experiences. This is similar to how different genetics produce humans with different abilities, or different ways of solving similar problems.
Brains were minted as part of the AIFA launch (football NFT game produced by the ASM team to showcase their technology) in genesis boxes (4 characters + a brain) in October 2021.
8.5k brains have been unboxed, 1.5k boxes remain to be opened and are available to buy on Opensea.
In Q2 you will be able to stake $ASTO to mint new brains (Gen2), whereby the more you stake the greater the success rate. It is currently unclear how the staking mechanism will work.
Gen2 brains will not have functionalities like breeding or be in receivership of future airdrops. Gen1 brains will.
Memories refer to the outcomes of AI machine learning via ‘Gyms’ where agents will ‘train’.
Gyms will be powered by GPU miners acting as Gym Hosts, who provide the training at a cost for each person seeking to train their agent, paid in $ASTO tokens.
Outcomes of training are unique for each agent.
Machine learning ‘memories’ create an output which is minted as a separate NFT and can be tagged onto your Brain to, in effect, ‘upgrade’ its skills, abilities and so on.
Gym Hosts will typically be the creators of the World in which the Agent operates, or an affiliate to that World.
An ecosystem of Gym Hosts will evolve, which World creators can tap into to create Gyms for their Agents and Owners.
An example could be training your NFT character in a Passage metaverse world such as Strange Clan to improve their attributes to be better in combat.
The owners of that world will have the potential to incentivise gym hosts to help achieve these AI agent improvements.
This primarily refers to visual appearance. Importance of this will vary depending on the function of the agent. For example, if the agent is a trading bot it won’t be much beyond a skin, but if it’s a fighting game their size or appearance may be important.
You can think of traditional NFT’s that already exist, such as Punks, Bored Apes or Azukis to be just ‘forms’.
Combining the above three NFT elements will result in an fully functioning ‘AI Agent’.
As mentioned above, ‘memories’ are minted as individual NFTs, therefore one agent could have numerous memory NFTs, whilst only having one Brain and one Form NFT.
Brains will be needed in all agents and will cross-over for different projects (games, metaverse, DeFi purposes) but some may be better suited for one dApp than another (the same as a human’s mind being better suited to spatial awareness in a game of football vs doing mathematical equations).
Memories and Forms will have some crossover with similar projects such two games in the same metaverse or similar games across different metaverses. This will evolve with time as more projects use ASM.
AIFA (Artificial Intelligence Football Association) - Proof of Concept and first game
AIFA is the first game using NFT agents which has been created by ASM. The Forms (players) were part of the unboxing process for Brains, as mentioned above. Each box had 1 Brain and 4 character Forms.
The game is yet to go live, but will essentially be a football (soccer) game where you compete with a team of four Agents. Various aspects of the players’ Forms will be modifiable, training will improve their performance and various other variables will later be introduced.
The token powering the ASM ecosystem is called $ASTO and has a total token supply is 2,384,000,000.
Purchasing training time for agents
Minting (through staking) new agents/new brains
Trade within games/ecosystems (power-ups, instant improvements, items and skins)
Further utility to be incorporated by the DAO
Please check the tokenomics section of the whitepaper for more detail, and for a more precise idea of circulating supply and inflation, see Brian’s breakdown below.
ASM have also released a useful FAQ covering the latest details regarding the token.
How to get $ASTO
Own a genesis Brain and claim your airdrop. You can cross-check Brains for sale on Opensea on the Brain Claim Check to see if they have already been used to claim or not.
AIFA characters will in future have some sort of ability to claim or earn $ASTO. How is unclear, but you can buy them via Opensea too.
Contribute to the Discovery auction which is due to end 06/04/22 at 23:00 GMT (in a few hours of this article going live). ASM have put out a useful FAQ regarding how this works, so I won’t rehash it. Essentially at this time, $ASTO in the pool is locked, and only USDC can be added until the end of the auction. Contributions to it are locked for 12 weeks but you will earn $ASTO rewards for contributing during that time.
Buy after the auction. The discovery pool will be converted into a uniswap pool ASTO-USDC.
Why this all excites me
I think NFTs are going to be used for many purposes and evolve in the coming decade, everything is getting digitised. The current most valuable NFTs are profile picture (PFP) avatar series’ which combine art and social coordination effectively to create strong communities, such as Bored Ape Yacht Club, CryptoPunks and more recently Azuki.
Such NFTs series may well ‘stay in their lane’ and still be ludicrously successful, but given the ‘flippening’ of Punks by BAYC, it’s been made clear that provenance/history/first mover/first big community doesn’t mean that you will retain that position forever. BAYC likely won due to giving IP of its Apes to their owners, and whilst they’re expanding into other ventures in the meatspace, they realise that being successful in the digital web3 world comes first, hence their recent metaverse announcement.
I suspect, going forward, a lot of these projects will want to allow owners of their NFTs to be able to evolve them and develop them further, if they choose too, whilst also allowing them to retain their original form.
The biggest publicly confirmed partnership is with fluf.world which encompasses the metaverse they are currently building out, including Flufs, Party Bears, Seekers and Thingies.
It’s been heavily implied, through tweets, whitepaper and Discord mentions that specific NFT series, such as BAYC, Punks and Meebits may also be considering using ASM features to enable their NFTs (‘forms’) to become AI agents (addition of brains and ‘memories’) to allow them to evolve and change into something more.
Essentially, the way I perceive this project is as an NFT infrastructure play. Combine this with their patent pending, they could become the most important stalwart in this space irrespective of which NFT PFP series is dominating, or what web3 game gets the normies first, or what metaverse succeeds. For all of them, it’s a no brainer (cough) to incorporate AI Machine learning elements, and no one is doing that the way the ASM team are.
If you don’t trust me, consider that the likes of Delphi Digital (famed to have been early to several trends in crypto including evangelising and helping Axie Infinity improve their tokenomics before the 1000x run of the AXS token) have been discussing and promoting the project, as well having invested on an individual basis.
If Delphi aren’t people you generally agree with, how about the fact that their latest round of funding is not just from behemoths like Coinbase and other web3 funds, but from traditional VCs and media companies such as Warner Music
Or maybe listen to BoredElonMusk (big presence in the web3 gaming world) who praised it a couple of days ago during a live AMA.
What’s the play?
Broadly speaking, right now, there are only three strict ways to get involved in ASM, if that’s what you wish to do.
buy AIFA characters
buy $ASTO (either locked and earning $ASTO yield via the auction ongoing now, or in the open market on uniswap after 23:00 GMT today 06/04/2022 when the auction ends)
Following the $ASTO airdrop, brain prices went from a peak of 6-7 ETH floor to around 3 ETH (for those that had claimed the airdrop).
I perceive the Gen1 Brains to be the ‘safest’ bet at this moment in time, simply because they’ll be in high demand as the ecosystem takes off due to their utility, having significant features and benefits beyond Gen2 brains, and will be valued for their own provenance as the first ASM NFTs.
AIFA characters are much cheaper at 0.14 ETH floor. Their airdrop allowance and claim process is currently unclear. I’m finding them more difficult to place a long-term value on, but they’re more likely to do well in the short term, especially with the AIFA full release.
The $ASTO token at launch will have a circulating supply of 55m. The price at auction is currently 0.36 USDC (expect some price movements in the minutes prior to ending).
Given the scope of the project, given they’re the first movers in this space with a technological moat, given that ASM will provide wide ranging NFT infrastructure and given the team and belief behind them, I’ll let you decide on what you may perceive to be a fair price.
As always, thanks to Aylo and Samuel.
And that’s your alpha.
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Not financial or tax advice. This newsletter is strictly educational and is not investment advice or a solicitation to buy or sell any assets or to make any financial decisions. Do your own research.