Research on the Convergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT)

The Critical Information Infrastructures (cii) research group [1] studies the convergence of Artificial Intelligence and Distributed Ledger Technology. On the one hand, AI enables computers to tackle tasks that are easy to perform for humans but difficult to describe formally. On the other hand, DLT allows for the creation of immutable ledgers among distrusting parties. Both technologies are increasingly employed in similar or even the same use cases. In health care, for example, AI can analyze data about patients to assist medical professionals in performing personalized therapies, whereas DLT can give patients the control over managing their own data. “We conduct several academic research projects where we use DLT to manage health data – for example, the project BloG3 [2] for electronic health records data, or the project DLT4Life [3] for genomic data. These projects can help to advance health care by giving patients the sovereignty over their medical data.”, says Professor Ali Sunyaev.

The convergence of AI and DLT can thereby be viewed from two perspectives: AI can support DLT systems, or conversely, DLT can support AI systems. Specifically, AI can support DLT by:

  • Analyzing the security of a distributed ledger.
  • Enabling privacy-preserving, personalized information systems.
  • Serving as an automated referee and governor for a distributed ledger.

DLT can support AI by:

  • Enabling secure data sharing infrastructures and marketplaces for AI.
  • Coordinating decentralized computing for AI.
  • Serving as a trail for explainable AI.
  • Coordinating untrusting devices, for example, in the Internet of Things.

The image below provides an overview of use cases for both perspectives.

Overview of the convergence of AI and DLT

Use cases for integrating AI and DLT. Inspired from [4] and [5]

In the scope of researching the perspective DLT for AI and KIT Link’s transatlantic network, the cii research group has a collaboration with the San Francisco-based start-up Oasis Labs [6]. Oasis Labs is founded by UC Berkeley’s internationally renowned computer security research professor Dawn Song and is backed by leading Silicon Valley investors, such as Andreessen Horowitz. “Nowadays, most distributed ledgers have little scalability and are impractical for computationally intense AI tasks. Oasis, for example, provides a blockchain protocol enabled by hardware-assisted trusted execution environments that promises to be more scalable. Therefore, it is very well-suited for future research on data sharing infrastructures for AI services”, says Konstantin Pandl.

Distributed ledgers are transparent and provide an immutable and auditable trail of data flows. Special privacy techniques, such as hardware-assisted trusted execution environments or cryptographic protocols, can extend the distributed ledger to shield private data and enable confidential computations. The unique combination of these characteristics, such as immutability, transparency, and confidentiality, has the potential to increase users’ trust in an AI system. Therefore, DLT can provide the base layer for trustworthy data processing infrastructures, on top of which developers can deploy AI services. Furthermore, DLT-based cryptocurrencies can allow anyone in the AI value chain to take part and get rewarded – for example, data creators, data processors, or computation infrastructure providers. To conclude, DLT has prospects to revolutionize traditional AI as a service platforms controlled by cloud providers. “Digitized, patient-centric health care is one of the first industries where DLT can enable AI services, because of high information privacy standards and challenging data ownership settings in health care”, says Scott Thiebes.

Example scenario in the BloG3 research project

Blockchain / DLT in health care in the scope of the BloG3 research project [2]

Konstantin Pandl, Scott Thiebes, Ali Sunyaev
Critical Information Infrastructures (cii) Research Group
Institute of Applied Informatics and Formal Description Methods (AIFB)
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)

[1] “Critical Information Infrastructures Research Group.” [Online]. Available:

[2] “BloG3 project.” [Online]. Available:

[3] “Project DLT4Life.” [Online]. Available:

[4] K. D. Pandl, S. Thiebes, M. Schmidt-Kraepelin, and A. Sunyaev, “On the Convergence of Artificial Intelligence and Distributed Ledger Technology: A Scoping Review and Future Research Agenda,” IEEE Access, vol. 8, pp. 57075-57095, 2020, doi: 10.1109/ACCESS.2020.2981447. Available:

[5] T. N. Dinh and M. T. Thai, “AI and blockchain: A disruptive integration,” Computer, vol. 51, no. 9, pp. 48–53, 2018, doi: 10.1109/MC.2018.3620971.

[6] “Oasis Labs.” [Online]. Available: