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Startup Kaito raised $5.5 million in a Series A funding round at a $87.5 million valuation, to build an artificial intelligence (AI) search engine tailored to the crypto industry, the firm told CoinDesk.

Crypto firms are increasingly turning to AI, either to complement revenue streams or to enhance products and features. After a crypto winter and regulatory crackdown that has soured investor and public attitudes towards digital assets, AI is emerging as the new tech darling.

The Kaito search engine launched in Beta mode to 35,000 waitlisted users on June 20, according to a company LinkedIn post. It combines large language models (LLMs) with real-time access to data from the web, including Twitter, Discord, Telegram, governance forums, Medium, Mirror, industry research, news, Kaito‚Äôs proprietary Twitter Space and podcast transcripts, as well as onchain data. “Even with plugins, ChatGPT today does not connect to many off-chain crypto-specific information silos or on-chain data, thereby unable to meet people’s needs in the [crypto] space,” said Yu Hu, Kaito’s founder and CEO.

LLMs, like OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard are artificial neural networks trained on large datasets of language, such that they can understand and generate human-like texts. Due to their proficiency with language, LLMs can understand complex concepts and explain them to users in an approachable way.

The new funding was led by early-stage crypto venture capital (VC) firm Superscrypt and Spartan. It follows a $5.3 million raise led by tech VC Dragonfly and included Sequoia Capital China and Jane Street in February.

CoinDesk had a chance to try out Kaito’s search prompts. When we asked it about the hottest topic within the industry right now: how will the launch of an exchange-traded fund by an arm of BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, impact bitcoin, the chabot linked ten news article on the topic and generated an ambivalent answer.

“The potential approval of Blackrock’s Bitcoin ETF could have a positive impact on the crypto market, as it would make investing in BTC easier for institutional investors and increase institutional adoption,” Kaito AI said.

“However, there is also some doubt about the impact of the ETF on the market, as some reports suggest that the effects of the Bitcoin halving may be overblown. Overall, it seems that the impact of the Blackrock ETF on the Bitcoin market is still uncertain and will depend on a variety of factors,” it added.

Edited by Aoyon Ashraf.