How blockchain could change the space industry?
With Elon Musk’s announcing the investment of $1,5 billion in Bitcoin earlier this year, it became apparent there is no looking back either in Bitcoin development or in its application to space exploration. How are crypto and space industries connected? And can it make mining even more profitable?
Where did the off-Earth economy come from?
Did you know that there is such a thing as the space economy? This is not a Wall Street economy! The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs once introduced this concept and stated that space is getting closer to life on Earth and will soon participate in all areas of life. Today it is not just Musk’s company that is trailblazing the cosmic waves. Amazon, SpaceChain, and Lockheed Martin strive to establish themselves in space. They do so by launching satellites that allow them to perform various services and transactions outside the earth. Bitcoin itself is space-based which makes it independent from all powers, including Nature, apparently.
Space exploration has always been a costly enterprise, supported by both states and private agents. In recent years it has become clear that the dollar or euro is not going to be the space currency of choice. It is going to be Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The main advantage of cryptocurrencies and bitcoins, in particular, is their transparency and security. Smart contracts and peer-to-peer transactions make transactions reliable for all parties. And public records fix the obligations of both parties and are clear to everyone.
The space economy has grown by 100% in the last ten years. This is also because the sphere has become more popular with Elon Musk’s hype. He is also a crypto enthusiast. But what are the benefits of space and blockchain from this partnership?
Did you know that the main cryptocurrency has already been outside the earth? It happened five years ago. By the way, at the same time, Blockstream launched a satellite. His task was to distribute cryptocurrency throughout the Earth. But what awaits the interaction of two modern but completely different industries?
Mining in the space
The most likely use case for crypto technologies outside of Earth is supply chains. It will make the process of tracking resources during mining more efficient. It can also help in the management of off-Earth construction projects. Space science and exploration rely on special systems that require the storage of energy. They should also control energy consumption.
Another area where blockchain technology is definitely going to be applied is the digitalization of physical resources. For instance, in 2018 an asteroid mining company, Planetary Resources, was acquired by a major blockchain company, ConsenSys. This led to tokenization. It implies that the physical asset is duplicated in digital form. We can store such information in the blockchain itself. NFTs can duplicate satellites and asteroids (we donate this idea to enterprising projects!). Also, this technology can help in the production of goods, increasing the efficiency and transparency of the process.
Furthermore, the proponents of blockchain technology in space argue for the necessity to create a public satellite database that will enlist all objects currently orbiting the planet. At present, the only such database is owned by the US Air Force. If such a database were to become public, it would eliminate any bias in positioning the satellites. Currently, over 80 world countries operate their own satellites, not to mention private satellite owners.
Space for Bitcoin
The principal advantage that space provides for Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies is the actualization of the long-sought dream of totally decentralized money. All technical and financial issues aside, Bitcoin’s popularity has been based on the fact that the users needed no bank accounts to buy into it. The ‘disadvantages’, like volatility and propensity to being “swept away” in an occasional crypto exchange breakdown, dim next to the fact that Bitcoin is not controlled by any bank or government. Projects like SpaceChain make it possible to work without traditional money, using only cryptocurrencies. Moreover, this approach is safer and more cost-effective.
What awaits us?
The space economy is growing every year and will most likely continue to grow. In parallel, even more impressive growth is shown by blockchain technology. Space mining is their point of contact and it will be the future that will come very soon.