SpaceChain sent first-Blockchain-hardware-wallet into ISS aboard Falcon 9 rocket
On Dec 5, SpaceChain, a space-as-a-service-focused blockchain startup, announced that its blockchain hardware wallet technology was on its way to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, which as part of today’s CRS-19 commercial resupply service mission. This move marks the first technology demonstration of blockchain hardware on the ISS and the third blockchain payload by SpaceChain in the past two years.
The ISS demonstration mission was made via Nanoracks
According to that, the ISS demonstration mission was made possible via Nanoracks and their Space Act agreement with NASA. This initiative is set to demonstrate the receipt, authorization, and retransmission of blockchain-based transactions, creating multi-signature transactions.
All data will be both uplinked and downlinked directly through the commercial platform Nanoracks. As the company believed, by adding space-based payloads to established networks “businesses will be able to enhance the security of the transmission of digital assets that can be vulnerable to cyberattacks and hacking when hosted exclusively in centralized terrestrial servers.”
For SpaceChain, the launch is a step forward in its mission of solving the land-based centralized infrastructure concerns to build out a robust blockchain infrastructure high, accelerate technology advancement, international collaboration, and adoption of space-as-a-service for modern businesses. The wallet will be beyond any country’s jurisdiction, even well above the reach of any physical hardware hacks.
Moreover, Zee Zheng, co-founder, and CEO of SpaceChain, also emphasized the wallet will play a small but important part in that long-term goal.
“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”, he added.
Basically, it’s different from the other two nodes SpaceChain has put into orbit: the first space project – a Raspberry Pi equipped with a Qtum node that the company launched from China’s Gobi desert in 2018 and the second, also from China, was slightly more developed than hardware could run blockchain apps on the SpaceChain OS and it communicated directly with the ground.
As Zheng said that it not existing space-tested hardware available, therefore, even to install their own software they needed to make major changes, “for us, it’s kind of tricky”.
The space node of SpaceChain
Building a space wallet was one thing, however, how to make it compliantly for use on the ISS was something completely different. Fortunately, Zheng revealed that having Jeff Garzik, SpaceChain co-founder and CTO helped in that regard.
Garzik was one of the early BTC core developers and he led SpaceChain’s effort to build out the software soon that integrated with the ISS. He’s also been thinking about blockchain in space even before SpaceChain founded, “about five years ago in the Bitcointalk forum, Jeff wrote an article about bitcoin in space. It’s been his dream for a while”, said Zheng.
Unlike 2 projects before, the new wallet will operate independently of SpaceChain’s past launches. It will not link with the previous nodes and all comms will route through the ISS feed to ground, which means the device will have a slower connection, so for any single transaction to complete, it will take about hours, not some minutes.
Zheng explained “We see so many crypto exchanges get hacked, and within two minutes the funds – millions of dollars – get transferred”, so using this channel it can secure transactions while having a chance to intercept suspicious activity.
Furthermore, it also will attract high-dollar clients about custodial services, exchanges, and enterprise customers who are more than willing to trade a few extra hours for added peace of mind.
Besides, to develop its multi-sig wallet, in September, SpaceChain received a 60,000 (about $66,400) grant from the European Space Agency. The company said that the exposure that comes with NASA and SpaceX will help it grow to the bigger mission.
In the future – maybe 10 years, SpaceChain is hoped to deploy a network of dedicated satellites that “speak to each other” and run far more blockchain infrastructure than any single ISS wallet ever could.
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