• Aptos Labs is a Layer 1 blockchain engineered to support large-scale trading and transactions of digital assets.
  • The company announced that it will employ Microsoft Azure and Azure OpenAI Service to enhance its artificial intelligence capabilities, in conjunction with Brevan Howard’s expertise in international and market-specific investments.

Recently, a blockchain startup established by ex-Meta Platforms Inc. staff who previously worked on the now-defunct Diem blockchain, Aptos Labs, has partnered with Microsoft and SK Telecom. These collaborations aim to develop Aptos Ascend, its digital asset management platform tailored for financial institutions.

Aptos Labs operates as a Layer 1 blockchain designed to facilitate digital asset trading and transactions on a grand scale. It was crafted to compete with major blockchain ecosystems like Ethereum, which holds the position of the second-largest blockchain in terms of market capitalization. Aptos Ascend, the platform’s suite of solutions for institutional finance, includes permission digital asset controls. This feature enables businesses to leverage tokenization and enhance security through blockchain technology.

To develop Aptos Ascend, the startup partnered with Microsoft Corp., SK Telecom Co. Ltd., and the hedge fund management firm Brevan Howard. This collaboration integrates various technologies to create its blockchain-enabled service for institutions. The company plans to utilize Microsoft Azure and the Azure OpenAI Service to equip the platform with artificial intelligence features while leveraging Brevan Howard’s global and market-specific investment expertise.

This will be integrated with SK Telecom’s regulatory-compliant blockchain wallet-as-a-service technology, enabling businesses to launch swiftly without concerns about compliance. This includes adherence to “Know Your Customer” and anti-money laundering protocols mandated by local governments, ensuring that financial institutions remain compliant with local regulations.

“Global institutions require superior levels of compliance, security, trust and innovation to service customers, operate across borders, and adhere to regulations at every level. In collaboration with SKT, Brevan Howard and Microsoft, Aptos Ascend will provide the world’s financial institutions, banks and tech-forward money markets with a performant, compliant, secure and scalable gateway to decentralized finance,” said Mo Shaikh, Co-founder, and Chief Executive of Aptos Labs.

Aptos has selected Boston Consulting Group Inc. as its preferred consulting partner to assist clients in implementing solutions involving decentralized finance, digital assets, and AI. The company cited BCG’s proven expertise in these fields as the reason for their choice.

Previously, the startup teamed up with Microsoft in August to develop AI blockchain solutions. This partnership resulted in the beta release of Aptos Assistant, a chatbot designed to provide conversational answers about blockchain technology and programming. At that time, both companies also committed to investigating additional blockchain-enabled opportunities, including digital asset tokenization and decentralized finance.

Adrian Crockett, General Manager and Head of Product at Microsoft Cloud for financial services, stated, “We see a tremendous opportunity at the intersection of AI and distributed ledger technologies.”

Financial institutions interested in handling digital asset tokens, such as cryptocurrencies or tokenized securities like stocks, can utilize Ascend to safeguard their transactions by restricting them to only pre-approved parties. Additionally, Ascend offers enhanced privacy through the use of a cryptographic method called zero-knowledge proofs, which ensures the confidentiality of account information.

Programmable smart contracts, implemented through Aptos Move, enable transactions to execute automatically once specific conditions are met. This ensures dependable processing and benefits from a fully historical and auditable trail preserved on the blockchain.

Vice President and Head of Web3 at SKT, Oh Se-hyeon, said, “With a growing trend of tokenization in traditional finance, we expect the partnership to create a strong model for innovation in the future financial market.”