Masa’s “AI+Crypto” Guide: How the First AI Project on CoinList in 2024 is Poised to Disrupt the AI Industry

by TechFlow

Masa provides a resounding answer to the question "what can crypto do for AI?"

In the world of crypto, where countless projects vie for attention, Artificial Intelligence (AI) projects are taking center stage. In 2024, AI has consistently been the most exciting narrative in the market, capturing everyone’s interest and propelling trading volume within the crypto space.

According to CoinGecko, as of March this year, the total market capitalization of the AI sector has skyrocketed from $2.7 billion in April last year to $26.4 billion. Over the past 30 days, tokens related to AI have seen average gains ranging from 145% to 297%. 

In the crypto market, hype always tends to follow the super-narratives. The previous cycle witnessed the emergence of the first wave of AI tokens like Ocean Protocol,, and Autonolas, which have now been fully price discovered. Rising stars in the AI niche such as Ritual, Myshell, and are still in their nascent stages without tokens available, leaving users/investors with only activities like accumulating points or completing quests, which is too minimal and distant.

AI consists of three components – Compute, Algorithms, and Data – the current frontrunners in the AI race are Bittensor (TAO) spearheading decentralized computing power, and Masa Network (MASA), set to launch its mainnet and token on April 11th, is surfacing as the leading player in the decentralized data space. TAO and MASA are at the vanguard of projects molding the AI narrative in today’s market.

Masa’s positioning of its “AI Data Network” is crystal clear – it strives to build a user-consented and user-aggregated data network to train AI, enabling users to own, share, and earn from their data to power AI applications. Moreover, it utilizes technologies like zero-knowledge proofs (ZKP) to robustly protect data privacy. By incentivizing users to provide their data, Masa is supplying vast data sources for AI and large language model (LLM) networks.

Back in December of last year, we delved into Masa Network in an article: “Into Masa Network: Awakening the Dormant Value of Web3 Data, Exploring the Possibilities of Decentralized Google,” where we thoroughly explained the product principles and technological designs of Masa. Today, Masa Network is on the cusp of its most significant milestone — the launch of its mainnet and the MASA token on April 11th. 

With the crypto market currently thriving, let’s examine Masa’s journey. What changes and advancements has Masa Network undergone? We will once again dive into Masa Network, uncovering key factors to its token and conducting further analysis into its product updates.

The First AI project on CoinList this Year

For projects with intricate technology, it’s often helpful to first assess market expectations and the positive developments, which are more straightforward to grasp.

On March 7th, Masa Network debuted on CoinList and hosted a community token sale. So far this year, CoinList Launchpad has hosted a total of six projects: Subsquid, zkLink, Nibrum, Meson, Masa, and Bondex, with Masa being the sole AI project among them. The Masa Coinlist Sale was sold out within 17 minutes, and it was 6.4 times oversubscribed.

Throughout crypto history, CoinList has served as a litmus test for identifying the value of crypto projects. Many top-tier projects in the crypto market got their start on CoinList. For instance, Ocean Protocol, an AI project, has seen around a 10x increase since landing on CoinList. Another well-known project, Solana, stands as the most successful case study of projects launching on CoinList.

While getting listed on CoinList doesn’t guarantee success for a project, previous bull market cycles were once CoinList’s heyday, with many future star projects participating in public offerings. Now, as the bear market turns bullish, with the narrative of AI driving the market, the question of whether Masa can carry the torch of the “Coinlist effect” is quite noteworthy.

Moving from the primary market to the broader secondary market, the anticipated listing on major centralized-exchanges is another crucial factor. 

Masa has raised a total of $18 million in funding, attracting leading VCs such as Anagram, DCG, and GoldenTree. With the narrative bolstered by AI and ZK, expectations are undoubtedly at their peak.

The Masa Mainnet Goes Live on April 11th as the Crypto x AI Super-Narrative Flourishes

Beyond the expectations of the capital market, what actual business does Masa Network have? In fact, most AI crypto projects fall into two categories: those that use blockchain to enhance AI and those that use AI to enhance blockchain. Masa Network belongs to the former.

The development of AI relies on three key elements: Compute, Algorithms, and Data. Previously, AI+Crypto projects mainly focused on computing power. However, data, as the fuel for AI, is equally crucial.

When critical data is locked away in big tech companies, the call for diverse data and data democratization is growing louder and louder. Meanwhile, AI developers have been leaving big tech companies in droves. In an era where big data AI models are gradually becoming homogeneous, controlling unique data is the ace in the hole for AI application developers to win.

Therefore, Masa makes AI better at the data level by providing decentralized and proprietary data for AI. Masa serves not only AI developers in web3, but also a vast array of AI developers in the broader tech sphere. Masa’s decentralized approach using blockchain aims to cater to all AI developers.

Masa optimizes data collection, contribution, and value conversion, helping AI access a wider, more diverse, and decentralized distributed data source. At the same time, data contributors can receive their fair share of financial reciprocity and protect their privacy. In one sentence, Masa’s business can be described as a data marketplace that balances privacy protection and data value, connecting businesses with an AI data demand with data contributors.

Regarding privacy protection, Masa aims to return control of personal data to users. Through its pioneering launch of zero-knowledge Soulbound tokens (zkSBTs), anyone with internet access can contribute their data and passively earn rewards in the form of MASA tokens. You can think of a zkSBT as an industry-leading encryption technology that acts as a personal data locker, that stores and gives users the ability to share private data without revealing their personal identity.

Proprietary, high-quality, and verified personal data is the most valuable form of data. Democratizing data makes it available for use by a wide array of developers and enterprises who have a demand for large-language models and AI model training, and Masa gives them access to a vast and diversified source of data.

So how does this data marketplace that bridges supply and demand actually work? With the mainnet going live on April 11th, Masa’s current product structure has become clearer:

On the user side, you can easily contribute data to the Masa network by completing quests on the Masa app, browsing the internet using the Masa browser extension, or simply living your digital life within the Masa partner ecosystem. Additionally, every user can become a data scraper through Masa’s web browser extension. The Masa Oracle network acts as a decentralized web data scraper, seamlessly extracting text from websites, Twitter feeds, authenticated websites, and more, inputting them into a database.

Therefore, the most direct way users can “contribute to earn” involves actively sharing their data in pools set up by developers who have a demand for the data. For example:

1. All your digital footprint within the Masa Network are encrypted and aggregated into your exclusive personal data vault – the zkSBT.

2. You can intuitively see this data on the Masa App and have the right to choose to “share” part or all of this data, meaning actively consenting to contribute this data for use by organizations with data needs within your specified time frame.

3. For your data contribution, you’ll receive corresponding rewards, which could be in the form of MASA tokens or stablecoins.

Fundamentally, Masa “transforms” everyone into a data contributor, where each person can become a node, participating as a part of the AI infrastructure. And all contribution actions also have corresponding product associations:

  • “Quest-to-earn”: the Masa Application 
  • “Surf-to-earn”: Masa’s browser extension
  • “Node-to-earn”: Becoming a Masa Oracle node, scraping data, and contributing unused computing power (CPU and GPU) to fulfill the requests of developers.

On the data-demand side, Masa is also satisfying the need for high-quality data. Developers can easily access this powerful dataset by setting up data pools on the Masa Network, directly rewarding users who choose to share their data. Developers can use this data to train “specialized” rather than “generic” artificial intelligence models, thus creating hyper-personalized AI agents, AI assistants, and more.

Compared to where Masa was last year, Masa has now added new features—making large language models (LLMs) themselves more decentralized.

Masa allows anyone to easily choose from various LLMs, such as phi-2, baklava, lava, and milstra. These models can be easily accessed on user-friendly platforms like Hugging Face, so developers/companies can download them immediately and deploy them to Oracle Node Workers. At the same time, decentralized data access allows LLMs to evaluate encrypted data in the network to draw conclusions or present results without leaking any sensitive or personal information stored in the network. The overall result is Masa has achieved the facilitation of bidirectional matching of AI data demand and supply.

With a variety of products supporting the data marketplace, connecting the data providers and those with data-demand, Masa Network has clearly shown its potential. But has the market responded to its development from product refinement to mainnet launch? How is user adoption?

Since its launch in August 2022, as of the writing of this article, Masa Network has rapidly accumulated over 1.4 million unique wallets. Each wallet represents a contribution of personal data through different products and methods mentioned earlier.

Corresponding to the wallet addresses contributing data, the number of various events captured in the Masa network has also significantly increased. From its official data dashboard, users’ activities in the crypto world, such as claiming, swapping, mining, cross-chain transactions, providing liquidity, and minting, are all meticulously recorded. Additionally, common web browsing events seen in Web2 are also tracked and continuously increasing in number.

The vast amount of user multidimensional data is the key support for data usage on the data-demander side. The more data there is, the more dispersed it is, and the more diverse the dimensions, the more beneficial it is for AI training.

MASA Token Utility and Cross-Chain Data Synergies 

In the overall design of Masa, what role will the $MASA token play?

Starting from both the data-provider side and data-demander side, $MASA can be used in various incentive and usage scenarios:

1. It incentivizes data supply: Masa rewards users for contributing personal data to the Masa Network. When enterprises and developers use user data, users can passively earn rewards in MASA.

2. It pays for data usage fees: Enterprises and developers pay fees to access and use data, products, and services on the Masa Network. Fees can be paid in $MASA tokens, stablecoins, and other native blockchain tokens. All non-MASA priced fees are subsequently converted into $MASA tokens, with a portion being burned.

3. $MASA can also be used as fees for managing personal data: Users pay MASA Gas fees on the Masa Avalanche subnet to mint and manage their zkSBT (an encrypted personal data vault), and a portion of the Gas fees are burned.

4. The token can also reward node operators: Masa Oracle node operators stake $MASA to operate Masa’s zk-oracle nodes. Node operators receive staking rewards during the first two years of network operation. Staked tokens are locked up for the duration of the vesting period.

Regarding tokenomics, from the official token allocation proportions, the team and private sale rounds take the lion’s share. However, there is a lock-up period of six months to one year after the public sale, followed by a linear unlock over three years.

For market valuation, the value of the $MASA token stems from its utility, forming a positive flywheel effect in the process of user adoption and network expansion:

As individual users contribute a vast array of diverse data — more and more AI developers adopt — demand/consumption of $MASA increases — circulation decreases, leading to value appreciation — higher economic incentives attract more users to provide data.

Besides its utility value, another potential value of MASA is its ability to connect more ecosystems.

Any project which has airdrop participation, there is an expectation of token benefits. It may become one of the key factors in accumulating expectations for tokens in the secondary market.

Furthermore, Masa fundamentally doesn’t impose restrictions on blockchain choices. Users from any blockchain can contribute data, with the potential to become the underlying infrastructure for an all-chain-ecosystem-driven AI+Crypto system. This would directly capture the value of on-chain users and on-chain data across the entire network.


As Calanthia Mei, co-founder of Masa, mentioned in an interview with

“Personal data is your digital footprint. Your every online and on-chain action – browsing, posting, transacting – leaves behind a digital footprint.”

With the explosive development of AI, personal data has become incredibly valuable for companies to understand users and train AI models. Every internet user should be aware of their digital footprint and how to protect their data rights, especially in the AI era.

Acquiring a massive amount of proprietary user data can be difficult – this is where token incentives come into play, rewarding every internet user to own, share, and earn from their data to train AI.

Using Web3 as a bridge and token incentives to bridge data contribution and AI training, Masa Network serves as a platform that connects supply and demand, creating practical value beyond the mere speculation of AI narratives. As for how far Masa Network can go, time and the market will naturally provide answers based on its value.