Robot flying over the city with ChatBSV logo

Talking AI and blockchain with ChatBSV: ‘I was surprised nobody tried to do that yet’

Hard truth: subscription models work better for those selling them than people buying them. BSV blockchain once again offers better choices, with its ability to handle
micropayments of any size. One of the latest examples is ChatBSV, which allows users to interact with ChatGPT and image generator DALL-E for a few cents per query. It’s perfect for those who’d like to try OpenAI’s consumer-grade AI for the first time or experienced users who want more power but not frequently enough to want a subscription.

Sure, ChatGPT is free—at least, the basic/slow version. But to access OpenAI’s faster and more cutting-edge features like GPT-4 or DALL-E, you’ll need to buy a US$20 per month subscription or pre-paid credits. While it’s not the most massive barrier to entry, it’s still enough to stop many people trying it out. ChatBSV removes that barrier.

If you’d like to try ChatBSV, it’s as simple as connecting a HandCash wallet and prompting away. The basic version costs $0.01 per query, while the newer “ChatBSV Pro” released last week grants access to GPT-4 and DALL-E ($0.05-0.10 per prompt). The occasional timeout and OpenAI’s frustratingly limited traffic capacity notwithstanding, it’s a much easier way to interact with these tools.

ChatBSV is an independent (for now) project from the developers who created the blockchain information aggregator back in 2019 (speaking of which, that’s a project that deserves to be revived). CoinGeek spoke to lead developer “Architectonic” about ChatBSV and some broader thoughts on AI and its potential if blockchain is involved.

Architectonic has been busy on Twitter musing on the advantages of mixing AI with scalable, auditable blockchain records and microtransactions…as well as lobbying Elon Musk.

Read on below to find out more about ChatBSV’s story.

How did you come up with the idea for ChatBSV and why did you build it?

Architectonic: ChatBSV started as a little hobby project and still is, to be fair. I started using ChatGPT like everyone else to 100x my productivity and development speed. I’ve been able to quickly create some new products in a way that, quite frankly, I wouldn’t have been able to do without GPT, or it would have taken me ages, and I would still have needed advice from somebody else sometimes.

So GPT became my coding tutor, coding assistant, trainee, and slave, and I’ve been exploiting this free labor to create little side projects that I find interesting, and one of them was creating my own chat interface.

Similar to manufacturing a car, you have to first design and manufacture the machine that will build and assemble the car parts. I’ve been developing tools to create tools that can create tools, and I ended up developing my own CLI app, where I can read and write to file, concatenate GPT tasks, aggregate several API calls to get data, process data, and output files, and in the process of doing that I thought. I wish I could offer this to my friends to use, but there are privacy issues, abuse issues, and a cost associated with giving out your API keys for somebody else to use.

I had the chat interface, and I had the backend engine, but I needed to monetize it, and I didn’t want to charge a subscription.

That’s when I decided, OK, how can I integrate BSV blockchain so that every prompt pays for itself? You see, I have always believed in the power of microtransactions, and having been in “crypto” since 2016, having worked with projects that interacted with multiple chains, I know that BSV blockchain has the potential to disrupt everything else.

So, the business model here was always very clear. We are buying subscription access to AI tools in bulk and democratizing access by selling them at retail for a profit. It’s quite simple, and with the boom of AI, I was surprised nobody had tried to do that yet in the BSV blockchain community.

In a sense, Agora’s mission was similar: we wanted to aggregate different services that you could interact with from a single interface, but we did lack an engine and a clear business model, and it took me a couple more years to figure out a business model that could work, and now I think I got it. So, I’m working with my loyal sidekick GPT and another developer who helps when he can to bring AGORA back to life.

We got a new UI, an entirely new tech stack, an internal wallet and social login with other wallets. We are working on developing this little engine for a new type of marketplace of ideas, a slightly different, and more sophisticated economic model than, say, Twetch or POW—in my humble opinion—although they are miles ahead of us at this point in terms of how far along they have developed their products.

So anyway, eventually, I would like to bring ChatBSV back into Agora, and it will become just another tool you can use there. But for now, it kinda pays for itself and has been profitable from day one, so I decided I could release it as a standalone for now while I keep working on the new Agora.

So that’s the idea behind BSV blockchain and the why. It’s an experiment, a successful one so far, in my opinion.

If every interaction with ChatBSV is a BSV transaction, what information is contained in the actual TX data?

Architectonic: Right now, we are just triggering a payment to pay for the AI usage. It’s in our roadmap to be able to add an encrypted record of your chat history on-chain that only you would be able to decrypt. We have no access to your chat history. We think that should be very private, so we don’t have a database. We don’t receive a copy of your chats at any moment; they’re all stored locally on your browser, and you can delete them anytime. In the future, we might use the blockchain as a database, and then you would be able to retrieve chat history and decrypt it.

We also want to add some metadata, like what model was used, how many tokens were consumed, and how much you paid for that microservice. All of that should be recorded in the TX for transparency.

Does using blockchain transactions contribute to AI systems like ChatGPT being more ‘secure’ or ‘accountable’?

Architectonic: It would if they were using it. Imagine a world where AI agents are delegating tasks to each other. At the Ford factory, the machine that builds engines can communicate with the machine that builds tires, saying, “We got a new engine ready; bring in four more tires.” We need a system where every one of those little tasks is not only recorded for accountability and security but can also be instantly monetized. “4 new tires? That will be $XYZ, thank you very much”. And then, that bot could talk to another bot and pass those funds forward, and so on.

Imagine the same system in the AI world, where intense computational power is needed and the accuracy and integrity of data are paramount. You have here a system that can guarantee the data hasn’t been tampered with, can guarantee a chain of custody over the data, and can guarantee that every microservice is monetized on the spot, so why are they not using it?

The idea that blockchains can’t scale and the reluctance of many to even look into BSV blockchain make ChatBSV an opportunity. I sincerely hope that OpenAI eventually finds out about the BSV blockchain, puts their entire processing system on-chain, and puts ChatBSV out of business.

I don’t want to pay $20/month for every AI that I’ll use once a week in the next 10 years, similar to how we used to complain about paying $40 per month for cable TV, and now we pay $20 per channel, Netflix, Disney, HBO, etc. This is madness. I want to pay for the data I consume and monetize the data I produce; that’s what attracts me to BSV blockchain, and I can’t see a future where that doesn’t become a reality if we want our media, data, and computational systems to evolve. Imagine every API call paying for itself; how many new systems can be created, and how many developers would be immediately empowered to start contributing to systems? Imagine if every commit on GitHub, the developer who makes the commit, gets a penny every time someone runs their script. That is liberating for us as a society. Anyone can work on anything and use any tool at any time and know that they are properly compensating the developer.

Are you planning any additional improvements or features, or will it remain simply a way to use ChatGPT/DALL-E with BSV blockchain microtransactions instead of OpenAI’s subscription?

Architectonic: Yes, my goal is to keep aggregating ever more powerful AI tools all from a single chat interface, so for example, if there’s an endpoint to generate logos or tell jokes, these can be aggregated and commanded with /logo or /joke, or they can even be parsed from the prompt and initiate a function like GPT does. We can also integrate the new OpenAI Assistants API and allow people to add their assistant ID or any assistant ID and chat with those assistants inside ChatBSV.

We can have specialized chats for education for teaching people about Bitcoin; for example, custom agents can be instructed to do the same task or work with a specific knowledge base. There are a few more things we still need to do, like dynamic pricing based on actual token consumption instead of an average (wip) and a more seamless model switch so you will be able to switch from GPT 3.5 to 4 and keep the context, which is something even ChatGPT doesn’t allow. Still, it works with our system, or changing from DALLE to MidJourney, for example.

We’re also considering allowing people to buy in advance, say, $5 worth of tokens, which they could pay for with Apple Pay or Stripe, but ultimately, they would be buying an amount of satoshis that would be used to power a certain amount of prompts in our system.

Watch: AI takes center stage at London Chatbot Summit

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