IO research, a, blockchain and AI startup, founded and headed by Ahmad Al Shadid, has raised $30 million in a series A funding, valuating the company at $1 billion.

IO research, the creators of Depin, is a Solana based decentralized AI compute cloud. IO Research launched DEPIN in November 2023. At the time this was considered as an opportunity for cryptocurrency miners in possession of underutilized GPUs, as well as clients requiring a scalable and affordable computing solution amid rising costs.

In November, Founder and CEO Ahmad Shadid has noted, “This is a monumental moment for and the entire decentralized computing community. We are not simply launching a platform; we are pioneering a global movement towards optimal utilization of computational resources. Our vision has always been to bridge the gap between underutilized resources and rising computational demands facing AI and ML engineers, not to mention crypto miners. I believe we can make a significant contribution to the AI revolution over the coming months and years.”

With deployment speeds of less than 90 seconds, will enable ML and AI engineers to deploy massive enterprise-level clusters to power models for training and inference. is said to be up to 90% more cost-effective than traditional GPU providers such as AWS and Azure.

Few months later, March 2024,, DEPIN has received $30 million in funding spearheaded by Hack VC in collaboration with several angel investors including Multicoin Capital, 6th Man Ventures, Solana Ventures, OKX Ventures, Aptos Labs, Delphi Digital, The Sandbox, Sebastian Borget of the Sandbox, and others.

In addition, there was investment from Matty Taylor, Ian Krotinsky (founder of Tiplink), MH Ventures, Amber Group, Arkstream, Modular, Continue Capital, Foresight, Longhash, SevenX, and Delphi Digital.

According to sources familiar with the Series A funding, the funds were raised in tranches coupled with the fact that it is structured as a simple agreement for future equity (SAFE), with token warrants in a 1:1 ratio. The first tranche happened in January but it was not until recently that the final one was completed.

The CEO and founder of Ahmad Shadid, explained the terms of the investment, stating that investors have a minimum one-year lock-in period for tokens.

This $30 million fund will help the Artificial Intelligence (AI) protocol enhance the aggregation of blockchain distributed GPUs.

Dr Mohamed Abdallah and Dr Aiman Erbad, Associate Professors at  Qatar’s HBKU College of Science and Engineering published an article on how Qatar’s Blockchain blueprint will boost the adoption of blockchain and their recommendations for accelerating the growth. They proposed hosting a high-performance cloud based blockchain platform to accelerate prototyping and testing or creating a physically distributed blockchain network among different institutions, including ministries and universities, which can serve as a test bed that can also host actual blockchain applications, among other recommendations.

The College of Science and Engineering at Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU), as well as the College of Engineering at Qatar University (QU), and the Communications and Regulatory Authority jointly developed the National Blockchain Blueprint, aimed at defining the requirements and incentives necessary for the adoption of blockchain technology in Qatar.

As per the article, the blueprint has several goals, including facilitating the emergence of startups and new companies, identifying successful methods through pilot projects, promoting creativity and innovation, and upgrading infrastructure to enable a conducive environment for blockchain technology.

The authors also discuss various recommendations that could be incorporated within the Blockchain blueprint.

One of the key recommendations of the blueprint is to encourage the development of pilot projects in priority sectors such as Fintech, Energy, and Health.

The Blockchain blueprint also wants to provide an adequate incubation environment for promising blockchain startups. The authors recommend creating a new consortium-based funding organization that involves all stakeholders to promote blockchain-based startups and businesses.

To facilitate the deployment and testing of new blockchain applications, The authors also recommend hosting a high-performance cloud-based blockchain platform to accelerate prototyping and testing.

The final recommendation is to create a physically distributed blockchain network among different institutions, including ministries and universities, which can serve as a test bed that can host actual blockchain applications. By having a distributed network, blockchain-based solutions can be tested in a real-world environment, and the risks and potential opportunities can be identified.

Qatar has been moving forward with its blockchain initiatives and the Qatar Financial Centre Authority has been at the forefront of integrating blockchain, DLT, digital assets into the financial market. More recently they even discussed digital assets for Islamic Finance and signed an MOU with Malaysian Labuan IBFC well known for its Islamic finance products.

Finally and most recently Qatar Financial Authority were in discussions with Qatar Development Bank to discuss the need for digitization of products and services in digital assets, kYC, SMEFinance and the metaverse. 

It would seem that the Qatar Blockchain blueprint is moving forward in great strides. 

UAE Blockchain firm, O1X, and cloud based AI gaming entity, The Game Company has partnered to create a decentralized economy within the Game Company’s cloud-based AI platform, transforming the way users are rewarded for their active participation and engagement on the platform.

The collaboration brings forth player-driven curation for esports tournaments, restructuring the competitive gaming industry. Players take an active role in creating the gaming experience when they have the ability to design and manage tournaments.

According to the news,this taps into a booming business, taking advantage of the enormous expansion of the global esports market, which is projected to reach USD 6.75 billion by 2030. Through the decentralized nature of the platform, tournament hosts can establish their own rules, formats, and reward structures, creating a dynamic and diverse competitive environment.

Osman Masud, CEO of The Game Company, shared his excitement, stating, “Our collaboration with 01X is a turning point for the esports sector. By integrating blockchain and decentralized economies, we are putting the power back into the hands of esports players. They can now create competitions, take control of their gaming experiences, and alter the competitive landscape. We’re dedicated to building a player-centric ecosystem where their voices are heard, and their contributions are celebrated.”

Joachim Godet, Managing Director of 01X, added,  “Our collaboration with The Game Company signifies a pivotal moment in the gaming industry. By merging our expertise in blockchain and game economics, we’re paving the way for a future where players have unprecedented control over their gaming experiences and reap tangible rewards for their engagement.”