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Blockchain in Space: What’s Going on 4 Years After the First Bitcoin Transaction in Orbit? #Shorts Ligue ou Whatsapp (51) 981284195 Rafael Nova

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Published on: August 21, 2021
Written by: Andrey Kartsev

Blockchain in Space: What’s Going on 4 Years After the First Bitcoin Transaction in Orbit?

In 2021, the world is undergoing a renaissance of space exploration. The turnover of the global space economy has risen from $216.6 billion in 2009 to $423.8 billion in 2019. The number of countries that operate at least one satellite on the Earth’s orbit has gone up more than twice since 2000 to reach more than 80 nations.

Just over 30 years since the first-ever launch with a license from the United States’ Office of Commercial Space Transportation, private spaceflight companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin are operating vast satellite networks and developing spacecraft that are expected to return people to the moon and deliver them to Mars. Even the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has not managed to slow down the global drive towards the stars, with the U.S. government’s space spending alone jumping from $41 billion in 2018 to $47.69 billion in 2020.

At the same time, the developments in the efficiency of payload delivery methods, such as SpaceX’s reusable Falcon 9 two-stage rocket, and the continued miniaturization of satellites (femtosatellites are now available with masses between 1-10 grams), are opening the opportunity of operating devices in orbit to even the smallest of private entities.

These tiny satellites can now cost as little as $3,000 to get into low Earth orbit (LEO), and with the use of miniaturized communication, energy and propulsion components, they can still perform valuable functions.

The Birth of Space Economy
The growth in both scale and affordability of space exploration is creating a whole new sector — the Space Economy, as the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs already calls it. An inevitable question then arises: what money will the players in this space economy use?

It’s certainly not the dollar if you ask George Pullen, the chief economist at the MilkyWayEconomy think tank:

In fact, some experts in the crypto industry say that cryptocurrencies and blockchain are perfectly positioned to help fuel the space economy in a manner that will be mutually beneficial to both fields. These include former Bitcoin Core developer and co-founder of blockchain-powered space-as-a-service company SpaceChain Jeff Garzik, and CEO of blockchain technology firm Blockstream Adam Back.

Blockchain Helping Space
Despite all the advances, space exploration often remains a costly business, both in money and science capital. Because of that high cost nature, any large project in space requires the cooperation of numerous private companies, each providing resources and talent. And the most ambitious programs are collaborations between governments — not all of which necessarily put a lot of trust in each other.

This is where one of blockchain’s key advantages comes in: it enables the exchange of value and data between independent parties in a way that doesn’t involve trust. With smart contracts, peer-to-peer transaction settlement, and the transparency and accountability enabled by public blockchain records, the participants of a space project could make agreements without the risk of breach of contract, saving both money and time.

“Blockchain is kind of a neutral referee between multiple parties,” as Jeff Garzik has put it.

Another sphere where blockchain could help out the space effort is the financing of space startups. Innovative crowdfunding methods like initial coin offerings (ICOs) and initial exchange offerings (IEOs) could serve as a bridge between the companies in the space industry and retail investors, allowing the former to tap into the latters’ vast resource pool and the latter to unlock new investment opportunities on the current frontier of human progress.

The tokenization of real-world assets via non-fungible tokens (NFTs) could pave the way for wholesale or, more importantly in the context of retail investing, fractional ownership of space assets like satellites and even asteroids. Blockchain-based manufacturing supply chain management, which is already in widespread development and use by such giants as Amazon and Lockheed Martin, could be applied to the production chains of space industry products in order to enhance the traceability and visibility of supply chains.

These are just a few of the current and future use cases for blockchain and cryptocurrencies in space. Blockchain and crypto, in turn, could also take advantage of the benefits provided by the space industry.


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