Blockchain fail-safes in space: SpaceChain, Blockstream and Cryptosat

Crypto satellite companies are competing to provide blockchain services in space.

July 26, 2021

In the 1988 “Crypto Anarchist Manifesto,” engineer, author and cypherpunk Timothy C. May predicted a social and economic revolution enabled by technological developments, including high-speed networks, personal computers and satellites. Today, former Bitcoin core developer Jeff Garzik — now with SpaceChain — and others are making this vision a reality. Private crypto companies including SpaceChain, Blockstream, Cryptosat and others are rapidly launching satellites into orbit to offer blockchain validation, multisignature wallets and verifiable time-delay functions from space.

As the cryptocurrency market continues its overall moonward trajectory, the stakes are getting higher for blockchain protocols. Blockchains must not only maintain their security in the technical sense but they need to be able to withstand regulatory setbacks as well. If governments are a potential threat to the visions of unstoppable, decentralized networks on Earth, then putting blockchain validator nodes in space is a “backup.”

Garzik, the co-founder and chief technology officer of SpaceChain, argues that placing nodes out of human reach, in space, “can help address security and vulnerability issues facing centralized land-based servers on Earth, and unfurl new and exciting opportunities for other commercial use cases.” 

This means that even if nodes fail, or are compromised or shut down — or even if the internet is somehow turned off — a verifiable copy of the blockchain will persist in space, adding to the “immutability” and censorship-resistant attributes of this technology. Now, “Space is for everyone,” states Garzik.

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, to benefit blockchain,” the co-founders tell Magazine. They are leveraging premade components to launch miniature, coffee mug-sized “cubesats” and simple on-ground infrastructure deployed on enterprise cloud-web providers for an end-to-end system where anyone can assemble, launch and communicate with a satellite providing blockchain nodes in space. 

Space infrastructure is offering whole new possibilities for composable, decentralized infrastructure.

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