It is one small step for the BitSat project, but one giant leap for Bitcoin. Jeff Garzik’s Dunvegan Space Systems and the company Deep Space Industries Inc. just signed a preliminary design contract to develop a Bitcoin-related orbital system. The first payment to the space contractor was made in digital money via the payment processor BitPay.
The project, supported exclusively by donations, intends to build small satellites able to function in low earth orbit that will broadcast the latest Bitcoin blocks.
“The BitSats will comprise an orbital node for the Bitcoin network now on Earth with a constellation of tiny BitSats continuously broadcasting the latest Bitcoin block from orbit, enhancing the resiliency of Bitcoin in the event of disruptions or outages to the terrestrial Bitcoin P2P mesh network”, according to a statement released by BitPay.
“Private spaceflight is breaking big, driving down costs so that great ideas like BitSats are within reach of even volunteer nonprofits”, said Garzik, the mind behind the project. “We want to keep Bitcoin healthy and free by finding alternative ways to distribute blockchain data”, the Bitcoin core developer added.
The project’s main goal is to strengthen the cryptocurrency network: BitSats broadcasting the most recently solved blocks will provide a cross-check to verify that the blocks available on the terrestrial network haven’t been spoofed. They will also provide the latest blocks to locations off the terrestrial grid.
According to the project, the satellites may use the CubeSat standard of individual 10-centimeter cubes, with one to three of these cubes potentially making up each BitSat. When the time comes for the devices to be sent into space, they will be sent travelling with larger satellites, which will lower the cost of placing them in orbit.
“Deep Space has always said we are about using space resources – this includes space itself. While this announcement may surprise some people, it is actually very much in line with our spacecraft development plans, including another private spacecraft system we will be announcing in a few months that will use many of the same components and systems. This means much lower costs – very important for the donation-based BitSat effort”, said Rick Tumlinson, the Deep Space’s chairman.
Jeff Garzick believes that choosing the space contractor was the best decision for the project.
I believe space holds the promise of our future, and also offers a lot of utility right now. I chose DSI for this project based on depth of their proposal, the expertise they have internally and within their network and the fact that they are pushing the cutting edge – just as we are at Dunvegan.
For now, Garzik will keep collecting crypto-donations to further develop the project via the Bitcoin address 1M9MyyPsAak7zRjW4D96pTxDaAEpDDZLR7.