Hello everyone/Bonjour à tous/Ciao a tutti  

I’m Kate Rhodes, your guest editor this week and Senior Counsel, Regulatory and Government Affairs at Paysafe, a global payments platform and payments provider.  Through our e-money issuing wallets Skrill and NETELLER, customers can buy, sell and withdraw cryptocurrencies. 

As crypto adoption becomes more mainstream with increased participation from financial institutions and a growing wholesale market, regulation is developing around the world. Like most industries moving from deregulated to regulated status, there is a worldwide race to produce a regulatory framework for crypto. Singapore, UAE and the EU all have regulation in place, with the UK closely following suit depending on how the political landscape unfolds over the next 12 months.   

As crypto matures, we are seeing the industry face similar issues to more traditional financial services institutions, with a key concern being ESG and sustainability. How does the crypto industry address climate change risks and support the transition to net zero? Recently I have worked with SEC Newgate and Clifford Chance on a report entitled ‘A green future: How the crypto sector can embrace ESG’ analysing consumer attitudes towards ESG, legal and regulatory considerations and providing a five point policy recommendation plan.  With crypto ownership hitting a record 425 million users in 2022 and more than 22,000 different cryptocurrencies in circulation, businesses and policy makers are now doing more active thinking around these subjects.   

With many new payments products emerging in the web3 sphere, I’m keeping tabs on the legal and regulatory issues around the metaverse. The work of the World Metaverse Council is impressive – a platform leading the dialogue on a more inclusive web3 with ethics, regulatory, governance and ESG workstreams using the upcoming crypto frameworks as a blueprint. The metaverse is first and foremost community driven, meaning that social inclusion and effective governance will be key in addressing consumer protections and online harm. Legal challenges in the metaverse are increasing exponentially as opportunities broaden. As companies focus their innovations in this sphere, issues around jurisdiction, territory and conflict of laws continue to pervade, which is currently surfacing more questions than answers.  

Now, over to SEC Newgate EU’s news wrap-up in Tech Always this week. 

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AI uprising – TBC 💥 [Wired] 

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and Google DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis signed a statement warning that AI could someday pose a risk to humanity – the first time AI frontrunners have expressed such concern. Sci-fi media have already given us great examples of how AI could lead to catastrophe – think HAL in 2001 Space Odyssey or the Matrix. Motivated by this (and maybe late-80s nostalgia), statement signatories would like their sector regulated, which could take years. What neither CEO suggested is for their companies to halt developing products that might pose a threat to humanity. But every dark cloud has a silver lining. More optimistic scientists believe the focus should be on how these technologies could result in mass surveillance and unprecedented unemployment rates. This section has been sponsored by your anxiety.  

Japan is ready to cut your power bill ⚡ [Engadget]

Japan is on a mission to beam solar energy from space, and they’re getting closer to success. In 2015, they achieved a breakthrough by beaming 1.8 kilowatts of power to a wireless receiver. Now, leading professor Naoki Shinohara is planning to deploy small satellites to transmit solar energy collected by orbital panels to ground-based stations. This concept, proposed back in 1968, offers an unlimited renewable energy source, as space solar panels can gather energy day and night without interference from  clouds. However, despite the progress, it remains in the realm of science fiction due to the high cost of creating a 1-gigawatt power-generating array. Nevertheless, Japan is determined to make it a reality by 2025. The future of solar energy beaming has never looked brighter! 

ChatGPT: your new buddy 👫 [Wired]

Creatives across the globe have been shaking in their boots at the arrival of ChatGPT, a generative AI that has gained popularity in recent months. The industrial revolution-time anxiety that machines will replace us is reflected here by marketers and copywriters, who see AI’s ability to generate content more efficiently as a threat. As the saying goes, if you can’t beat them, join them: with AI gaining traction in the job market, new roles have been invented around it. One of those is prompt engineering, which focuses on refining “context-aware prompts” that fare well in Internet searches and target right audiences. The job, as of now, is more lucrative and stable than freelance copywriting, despite requiring a similar skillset. Let’s see how long until AI can do that, too! 

An artificial “salad” could save the world 🍃 [The Next Web] 

At the University of Cambridge, researchers have developed an artificial leaf that could convert light into fuel, courtesy of basic photosynthesis! Instead of regular chlorophyll, the process uses a catalyst that converts CO2 to ethanol and propanol and water into oxygen. This breakthrough is the first time an artificial leaf powered by sunlight alone was able to produce intricate chemicals, setting it apart from previous efforts relying on electrical power. While work still has to be done to make the process scalable and produce large volumes of fuel with less sunlight on the go, this could be a change gamer for the net-zero transition. 

Will AI exacerbate gender inequality in the labour market? 🤖 [Yahoo! Finance] 

We’ve already heard about gender bias in AI, but that’s not all! A recent study by human resources analysis company Revelio Labs has shown that, over time, AI will disproportionately replace jobs usually held by women. AI is more likely to take over women-dominated fields which include administrative or secretarial duties, for example. Some companies have already stopped hiring for back-office functions that could be replaced by AI and automation. Retraining women will be key to overcome this issue. At the end of the day, AI simply doubles down on the deep-rooted inequalities already existing in our society that lead to the gender division of professions. 

In case you haven’t had enough: 

Dutch startup targets European intercity air taxi service from 2027 [The Next Web] 

A brain implant changed her life. Then it was removed against her will. [MIT Technology Review] 

Crater confusion caused Japan’s Hakuto lunar mission to fail [Digitaltrends]

Beating the heat: These plant-based iridescent films stay cool in the sun [ArsTechnica] 

The Car Thieves Using Tech Disguised Inside Old Nokia Phones and Bluetooth Speakers [VICE] 

About this week’s editor, Kate Rhodes: I’m Kate Rhodes, Senior Counsel, Regulatory and Government Affairs at Paysafe, a global payments platform and payments provider. My background is in payments and over the past few years I have focused more specifically on crypto and web3. If you’d like to get in touch to discuss any policy issues in relation to the above – feel free to connect!