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Despite all of the negative authoritative answers to How would blockchain be integrated into spaceflight? Have any methods been proposed yet? stating that it wouldn't happen, Coin Telegraph's Blockchain Startup SpaceChain Sends Wallet Tech to International Space Station reports the information cited below.

Question: Why exactly did ESA provide a grant funding blockchain in space? Which program was used for the funding? What will this actually do?


As part of the CRS-19 commercial resupply service mission, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is delivering SpaceChain’s hardware wallet technology to the ISS, according to a Dec. 6 press release. The move purportedly marks the first tech demonstration of blockchain hardware on the ISS and the third blockchain payload by SpaceChain over the past two years.

The technology will then be installed on the commercial platform on Station provided by commercial utilization of space firm Nanoracks. The initiative is set to demonstrate the receipt, authorization and retransmission of blockchain-based transactions, creating multi-signature transactions.

The company believes that “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.”

[...]

Satellite-powered multi-sig wallet

For the commercial development of its multi-sig wallet, SpaceChain received a 60,000 ($66,400) grant from the European Space Agency, in mid-September. The company explained at the time, the solution is designed to bolster transaction security by requiring two of three private keys to sign and complete transactions.

One of the three signatures is provided by a satellite-based node — although, in the case of connectivity failure, two ground-based signatures can be used to complete the transaction.

In January, blockchain technology company Blockstream announced plans to launch the beta version of its Blockstream Satellite API, designed to help developers broadcast data via the company’s satellite network.

Blockstream’s Bitcoin (BTC) space initiative reportedly aims to free the cryptocurrency’s network from depending on land-based Internet connection and thus increase its robustness.

In an email to Cointelegraph, SpaceChain confirmed that it is expecting the payload to reach the ISS by Sunday, Dec. 8. After that, the company will begin testing a number of applications including multi-sig authorization of cryptocurrency transactions through the payload. SpaceChain further explained:

“This will be specifically for Bitcoin, however we are planning for this to be extended to other blockchains in the near future as part of our expected roadmap that will see several new launches over the next 18 months. The technology tested on the ISS will be applicable to crypto exchanges, wallets and custodial services that benefit from additional security to their transaction validation process, and we are already working with some of these stakeholders to implement this type of use-case.”

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    $\begingroup$ The why is probably "space agencies are as likely to buy snake oil as the next person" $\endgroup$ – Starfish Prime Dec 7 '19 at 13:41
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    $\begingroup$ "What will this do?" Waste a lot of money. $\endgroup$ – Martin Schröder Dec 8 '19 at 22:57
  • $\begingroup$ I voted you up because I think this topic deserves some attention though you could try a different angle on the question to get around the unknowable first question "Why exactly did ESA...". Your second and third questions are much more tangible though the third risks being answered only by boilerplate platitudes like "it will bolster transaction security...". How about "what is essential about the ISS component that would be an improvement over a terrestrial only system?" $\endgroup$ – Puffin Dec 9 '19 at 21:01
  • $\begingroup$ @Puffin answers to Can we have a Blockchain community? suggest that the Bitcoin SE site accepts general blockchain questions and so it's possible that a purely "how does this work" question should be asked there instead. Here I'd like to ask how ESA decided that it's mission to explore space is furthered by funding a blockchain company. I understand the question could be improved, please feel free to make an edit as long as it stays roughly as on-topic here as it is now. Thanks! $\endgroup$ – uhoh Dec 9 '19 at 22:33

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