It seems the International Space Station (ISS) is celebrating multiple “firsts” this year. After receiving the UAE’s first-ever man in space, it has now received its first piece of blockchain tech.
SpaceChain earns its namesake
SpaceChain, a community-based space platform that combines space and blockchain technologies to build the world’s first open-source blockchain-based satellite network, announced last week that it has sent its blockchain hardware wallet technology to the ISS. Now, that technology has made it safely onto the Station.
This is SpaceChain’s 3rd launch of blockchain tech into space, but its first – as well as the world’s – arrival at the ISS. Its previous two launches were made from China, whereas this was one was made from the US.
According to CoinDesk, SpaceChain’s payload was a 1kg node – only a fraction of SpaceX CRS-19 resupply mission’s 2,600kg payload.
As per SpaceChain, once activated, the payload will demonstrate the receipt, authorization, and retransmission of blockchain transactions, creating “multisig” transactions which require multiple signatures (approvals) to complete, increasing the security of the operation. All data will be both uplinked and downlinked directly through Nanoracks’ commercial platform. SpaceChain’s implementation adds the remoteness and security of space infrastructure to blockchain technology to lay the foundation for a new generation of products built on its technology.
“This milestone underscores SpaceChain’s commitment to addressing land-based centralized infrastructure concerns, while accelerating technology advancement, international collaboration, and adoption of space-as-a-service for modern businesses,” the company said.
“The third payload launch is a significant milestone not just for SpaceChain but also toward the development of the New Space Economy,” said Zee Zheng, SpaceChain co-founder and CEO. “The integration of space and blockchain technologies has uncovered new possibilities and opportunities and we are very excited about the prospect of working closely with financial service providers, fintech and Bitcoin developers, IoT service providers, research institutions and space agencies in the coming months to further accelerate advancements within the ecosystem.”
“Blockchain is the next major disruptor in space,” said Jeff Garzik, SpaceChain co-founder and CTO. “SpaceChain addresses security vulnerabilities for financial systems and digital assets in the growing digital economy. Through integrating technologies, new paradigms that were once beyond reach can now be created and add exciting elements in the New Space Economy.
SpaceChain expects the testing of this payload to be completed by early 2020.
Slower transactions equal safer transactions, says SpaceChain CEO
According to CoinDesk, this new wallet will operate independently of SpaceChain’s past launches. It will not communicate with the previous nodes and all comms will route through the ISS feed to ground. This means the device will have a slower connection and it will take hours, not minutes for any single transaction to complete.
“We actually want to make it slower,” Zheng told the crypto news site, who described this crawling pace as a feature, not a bug.
“We see so many crypto exchanges get hacked. And within two minutes the funds – millions of dollars – get transferred. By utilizing this channel we can not only secure transactions,” but have a chance to intercept suspicious activity, he said.
This could appeal to high-dollar clients – custodial services, exchanges, and enterprise customers, said Zheng, who are more than willing to trade a few extra hours for added peace of mind.