In the 1988 “Crypto Anarchist Manifesto”, engineer, author and cypherpunk Timothy C. May predicted C a social and economic revolution made possible by technological developments, including high-speed networks, personal computers and satellites. Today, former Bitcoin core developer Jeff Garzik – now at SpaceChain – and others are realizing this vision. Private crypto companies like SpaceChain, Blockstream, Cryptosat, and others are rapidly launching satellites into orbit to offer blockchain validation, multi-signature wallets, and verifiable time-lag capabilities from space.
As the cryptocurrency market continues on its general moonward course, the stakes on blockchain protocols are getting higher. Blockchains not only have to maintain their security in a technical sense, they also have to be able to do so withstand regulatory setbacks as. If governments pose a potential threat to the visions of unstoppable, decentralized networks on Earth, then the placement of Blockchain Validator Nodes in space is a “backup”.
Garzik, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of SpaceChain, argues that placing nodes out of human reach in space “can help solve security and vulnerability problems with centralized land-based servers on Earth and open up new and exciting opportunities for others.” commercial use cases. ”
This means that even if nodes fail, are compromised, or shut down – or even if the internet is somehow shut down – a verifiable copy of the blockchain remains in space, adding to the “immutability” and censorship-resistant properties of this technology. “There is room for everyone,” says Garzik.
More and more companies are finding cheaper ways to provide blockchain-oriented “space-as-a-service”. Nominally, San Francisco based company Cryptosat is “interested in using the properties of space for the benefit of the blockchain,” the co-founders tell the magazine. They use ready-made components to launch miniature “cubesats” the size of coffee cups and a simple on-site infrastructure that is provided by enterprise cloud web providers for an end-to-end system in which everyone builds a satellite, can start and communicate with him, who provides a blockchain node in the room.
The space infrastructure offers completely new possibilities for a composable, decentralized infrastructure. In addition to nodes, SpaceChain and Cryptosat are investigating a number of use cases, including randomness beacons and “verifiable delay functions” (VDFs). Randomness beacons provide trustworthy sources of entropy and are a fundamental component in generating an unpredictable result.
In cryptography, for example, the initial trustworthy establishment of key pairs requires a random source. VDFs execute functions after a certain period of time, for transactions or smart contract functions. With satellites, these cryptographically signed time stamps can be determined by orbits around the earth and transmitted from space. “It’s basically like a trustworthy watch in space,” says Gil Shotan, co-founder of Cryptosat, the magazine. These interact with software interfaces for corporate customers such as the digital asset management company Nexus Inc. and the cryptocurrency exchange Biteeu for secure multi-signature transactions in orbit.
While SpaceChain and Cryptosat are blockchain-agnostic integrators for space services, Blockstream was co-founded by Adam Back – one of the original Cypherpunks and inventor of “Hashcash,” a proof-of-work forerunner mentioned in the Bitcoin whitepaper – is specifically focused on the use of space to expand the capabilities of the Bitcoin network.
The Blockstream Satellite Network broadcasts the Bitcoin blockchain around the world around the clock to provide connectivity for continuous access to the Bitcoin network to mitigate the threat of network disruptions or IP traceability. Anyone can buy a small satellite antenna and USB receiver to view these blocks and make sure their node is in sync.
How do you get into space?
Getting your knot into space isn’t as difficult as one might think.
The United States’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration, known simply as NASA, reserves spaces for commercial launches for each mission. Based on a proposal emphasizing the security use case for blockchains, SpaceChain, founded in 2017, was the first blockchain company to be formed with NASA.
With the aim of providing an “open and neutral” space infrastructure, SpaceChain launched its first payload (Cargo) with a node to the International Space Station in 2019. Its fourth node, an Ethereum validator, was launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on board a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in 2021. This not only enables immutable recording of blockchain transactions globally, but universally to improve the functionality of decentralized applications in space.
While one might think that the ISS or a satellite is definitely a target for anyone who doesn’t like blockchains, SpaceChain is convinced of the opposite.
“As long as it is not killed, it will recover,” said Zee Zheng, co-founder and CEO of SpaceChain. The space infrastructure offers improved security features as it is freely and continuously monitored by every space agency in the stratosphere. While this still doesn’t solve the persistent problem of trust in hardware support chains, everyone will know if it’s tampered with after launch. In fact, governments are keen to support blockchains in space.
Who pays in space?
Placing blockchains in space is often positioned as an ideological pursuit of decentralization, out of the reach of untrustworthy intermediaries. Still, space infrastructure is a highly sought-after, often publicly funded and privately provided service. The commercial case for space is pretty compelling.
SpaceChain secured around $ 60,000 in funding from the European Space Agency (ESA) for its first payload and recently received £ 440,000 ($ 605,000) in funding from Enterprise Singapore and Innovate UK to build the Decentralized Satellite Infrastructure ( DSI) to develop a real-time blockchain-powered network of satellites.
For some, like SpaceChain’s Garzik, space isn’t about the dollar as decentralized currencies outweigh the need for terrestrial money. For others like Cryptosat and Loft Orbital, money is a factor. Loft Orbital carries payloads for businesses, including the newest Ethereum node for SpaceChain, and raised $ 13 million in a Series A funding round in 2019. “There’s still money to be made on earth,” says Yonatan Winetraub, co-founder of Cryptosatat magazine.
Governance and Politics in Space
Governance in space can go in several directions. Space is known as the arena of geopolitical competition, which is intensified by the interlocking of interests between state and private actors.
The SpaceChain low-earth orbit satellite network known as the “Constellation” is operated by multiple parties in multiple jurisdictions. It is intended to offer a collaborative model in which the infrastructure is non-territorial and accessible to commercial and government users. While SpaceChain hopes its infrastructure will mediate a collaboration model between numerous countries and commercial entities, trying to build resilient, decentralized networks can also create new vulnerabilities.
Commercial interests mixed with competing players can lead to new rivalries, not least of all Elon Musk’s Plan Mus “Literally putting Dogecoin on the literal moon”. In June, Musk explained that “A new space race has begun!” Via Twitter, in response to the Bitmex crypto exchange, which promised to hit Dogecoin to the moon with Bitcoin.
Garzik thanked However, Musk and SpaceX on Twitter pointed out that SpaceChain “ALREADY rode their rockets into space,” adding that SpaceChain “is an integrator and happily accepts BTC ETH SPC and now DOGE” for customer space missions.
Maybe the next decentralized autonomous organization or DAO will be in space?
According to some, the future could include the multispecies population of multi-planetary systems with multiple digital currencies. Whether blockchain capabilities improve space or space improves the blockchain here on earth, “Space is closer to us than you think,” says Winetraub the magazine.