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Decentralized AI overview


Decentralized AI, or DeAI for short, refers to the intersection between AI and blockchain technology. The term denotes a wide range of applications, starting from peripheral elements such as tokenization or decentralized marketplaces, and going all the way to running AI models fully on-chain as smart contracts.

Why use DeAI?

DeAI in its truest form can potentially solve AI's trust problem. Today, users have to blindly trust AI running on centralized servers. They have no visibility into how their data is used, how AI models produce responses, or whether they work correctly, reliably, and consistently.

Since AI models behave like black boxes to users, building trustworthy AI models is a difficult challenge. This can be addressed if users are able to verify how a model has been trained and that the inference process uses that very model to generate an output.

Trustworthy DeAI is possible on ICP using canister smart contracts.


Running AI models on-chain is too compute and memory-intensive for traditional blockchains. ICP was designed to make smart contracts powerful by leveraging the following features:

  1. The WebAssembly virtual machine that provides near-native performance.
  2. Deterministic time slicing that automatically splits long-running computation over multiple blocks.
  3. Powerful node hardware with a standardized specification. Nodes have 32-core CPUs, 512GiB RAM, and 30TB NVMe.

Currently, ICP supports on-chain inference of small models using AI libraries such as Sonos Tract that compile to WebAssembly. Check out the image classification example to learn how it works. The long-term vision of DeAI on ICP is to support on-chain GPU compute to enable both training and inference of larger models.

Technical working group: DeAI

A technical working group dedicated to discussing decentralized AI and related projects meets bi-weekly on Thursdays at 5pm UTC. You can join via the community Discord server.

You can learn more about the group, review the notes from previous meetings, and ask questions on the DFINITY forum.

ICP AI projects

Several community projects that showcase how to use AI on ICP are available:




TypeScript / JavaScript

AI resources

Machine learning programming:

Distributed AI compute:

Lightweight AI models: