In February, the first launch of a blockchain node into orbit occurred. The rocket left the Satellite Launch centre in Jiuquan, China, and lifted into the sky, carrying Raspberry Pi hardware running a full-node program on the Qtum blockchain.
The launch of SpaceChain could go down in history as the beginning of a new era in privately funded space exploration. It also follows the reported January 7th launch failure of SpaceX and Arianespace’s reported problems with the launch of the Al Yah 3 satellite.
SpaceChain is entering an area that has been nearly inaccessible for most organisations, and there is no telling where this decentralised, open-source space program could lead.
The Blockchain Goes Into Orbit
With the successful launch of its first node, SpaceChain is breaking into a very exclusive marketplace.
The company aims to break down barriers to private space projects, which traditionally have come with a high cost of getting involved. Likewise, public space programs, like NASA in the United States, have become both expensive and ineffective. In the 20 years ending in 2012, NASA burned through an estimated $20 billion of taxpayer money, wasting a fortune on canceled projects. While there are benefits to public space programs such as NASA (it is a pioneer in the field of robotics, for example) this wasteful nature means that it is also valuable to consider alternative means of space development.
The SpaceChain launch itself is the culmination of years of hard work by both the public and private sectors. But, by using an architecture that is based on Qtum blockchain technology, SpaceChain has opened up the world of orbital communications to developers everywhere.
The idea is simple.
SpaceChain has developed an open-source platform that will allow independent developers everywhere to design apps that take advantage of all the capabilities that an orbital communication platform can create. Some potential applications include shipment tracking, private messaging tools, and global content distribution. The possibilities of app creation usages are endless.
Because the SpaceChain OS has been built to be multi-functional, it is able to transform satellites into multi-use “computers” rather than the single-function satellites that are prevalent today. What this means is that many different types of apps — from communication to telegraph — can be uploaded onto one SpaceChain satellite.
With easier access to space, we can expect to see more multi-billion-dollar businesses blooming. This will also lead to the growth and development of the industries that power our global economy such as transportation, exploration, energy, construction and hospitality.
For example, think of a company that wants to track the shipping of its goods and services. Its tracking process is limited because some countries are not covered by its network. By leveraging SpaceChain’s blockchain network and satellite, the company can create an app that lets them track their shipments from air to sea, as well as across various countries. With this, the company is able to transcend borders.
In an earlier interview that took place ahead of the successful launch, Zuo had this to say on reaching a milestone for his company’s vision: “The launch is a momentous step forward towards the creating of an open-source problem solving model that optimises collective intelligence. We aim to revolutionise the space industry by enabling better utilisation of space, accelerating discovery and enhancing access to new technologies across the industry.”
SpaceChain plans to launch two more satellites this year, with the potential to expand its data moving capacity as the platform is embraced by developers that now have direct access to satellite communication technology.
The past year has seen numerous companies enter the blockchain space. One of the largest demographic that uses blockchain-based cryptocurrency includes people who live in nations that aren’t well supported internationally and need to find a convenient way to achieve trade settlement.
Land-based blockchain nodes allow for an incredible amount of data transfer and raw computational ability, but when it comes to allowing communication with distant places that aren’t connected by existing telecom networks, satellites are the only option available.
While many people in South Korea and Japan speculate in cryptocurrencies, people in places like Venezuela and Zimbabwe are using them as cash in order to circumvent established systems that prevent the free flow of goods and ideas.
With SpaceChain, people in Venezuela and Zimbabwe will be able to take advantage of its satellite network to access the blockchain-based cryptocurrency and technology should their network fail or their banking system gets suspended by the government. SpaceChain’s stable and open-sourced network will be accessible from anywhere in the world via a satellite connection. In the larger cheme of things, SpaceChain helps to better the lives of people and improve space tech for humanity as more people are able to innovate, collaborate, and explore space together.
Power In Numbers
One of the most important aspects that blockchain based systems offer the world is their ability to help people from vastly different cultures and geographic regions pool resources, and share risks as they work towards common goals.
The SpaceChain token is, in essence, an investment in the world’s first decentralised space agency, which is working to make space-based technology accessible to anyone on planet Earth.
While its first programs will focus on the decentralisation of orbital communications, Zuo sees bigger projects for SpaceChain on the horizon. Tim Draper suggested that “SpaceChain’s foray into space will successfully create a decentralised environment that facilitates advancements and collaborations at a fraction of the cost typically associated with the industry.”
This could mean that over the next few years SpaceChain will sit at the point where decentralised, non-governmental space development meets the commercial interests of a world where data is acknowledged as the new currency.
There is nothing to stop SpaceChain from growing as quickly as the market adopts its revolutionary approach to providing transparent communication, and with the goal of eventual space exploration, SpaceChain occupies a very unique position in the blockchain universe.
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