• Billionaire Mark Cuban, Metapurse, Multicoin Capital, Crypto.com, Alameda and Dapper Labs are among a few big-name investors in the startup
  • Khan sees the potential for iNFTs to eventually rake in cash for their holders with what the company calls the “train-to-earn” model in its metaversal hub

Victor Frankenstein, Cleopatra and Nikola Tesla — three of many familiar faces that can be seen featured as intelligent non-fungible tokens (iNFTs) that Alethea AI users can interact with on its newly launched network, “the world’s most intelligent metaverse”, according to founder Arif Khan. 

Mark Cuban-backed Alethea AI, a startup that first allowed users to embed artificial intelligence, animation and voice capabilities into NFTs, is expanding further into the crypto asset’s billowing market with its most recent product offering.

“Creators and NFT holders can embed AI into their NFTs, giving their NFTs an intelligent, interactive, human-like personality,” Khan told Blockworks of iNFTs. “We’re essentially able to make this JPEG image come alive, have a personality and intelligence.” 

Launched on October 7, users now have the ability to chat with their iNFTs, send video messages of their iNFTs to other users and have their crypto assets compete against one another in games. 

Khan, who coined the term, described iNFTs as the “perfect metaverse Legos” that can “build an intelligent database and an intelligent decentralized metaverse.”

Alethea AI’s metaverse hub, dubbed Noah’s Ark, allows iNFTs to compete against one another in adversarial or cooperative competitions. “All competitions will strengthen the intelligence embedded in each NFT and consequently the network through an innovative concept termed, Intelligence Mining. The more users train their iNFTs and battle, the smarter the network becomes, and the more rewards accrue to the users for providing this training data,” according to a release from the company. 

Within Noah’s Ark, Khan sees the potential for iNFTs to eventually rake in cash for their holders with what the startup calls the “train-to-earn” model. Since the assets are AI-embedded, Khan said, “[iNFTs] will earn revenue for their owners and users as they offer unique services on Noah’s Ark.” 

iNFTs have not been limited to historical figures and fictional characters. Certain blue-chip NFT projects such as the Bored Ape Yacht Club, CryptoPunks and Pudgy Penguins can be embedded with AI and used in the platform to interact and converse as well. (Alethea announced a collection of iNFTs dropping on October 14 via NFT marketplace OpenSea, the company tweeted.)

“The NFT provides the property rights layer and the AI component makes the NFT come alive,” Khan said. “It’s no longer a static image like a CryptoPunk. This can actually talk with you, interact with you and have a dialogue with you.”

Project investor Meltem Demirors posted a demo on Twitter:

Khan said, after founding the company in 2019, when he first wrote about iNFTs, “people thought I was a little bit insane.” But to him, “AI-generated media and [the] blockchain [were] a match made in heaven.”

In June, the startup had its first stint of commercial success after Sotheby’s auctioned off Alethea’s (and the world’s first) iNFT for almost $500,000 and later announced a $16 million private token sale. 

The company has attracted big-name investors such as billionaire entrepreneur Cuban, Metapurse, Multicoin Capital, Crypto.com, Alameda, Dapper Labs and others.

“The result is not only fun and entertaining, but the foundation for a level of interactivity that is going to advance quickly using Alethea’s technologies. Alethea is bringing Avatars to life and you can experience it for yourself,” Cuban said in a statement.

  • Morgan Chittum is a New York-based reporter covering markets, NFTs, the metaverse and digital assets. Before Blockworks she was a street reporter at New York Daily News, where she wrote about homicide, extremist groups, state politics and other critical topics in New York. She was a Media and Journalism Fellow at the Poynter Institute, where she dabbled in data and investigative journalism. She is published in American Banker, Yahoo News, Chicago Tribune and more.