Cryptocurrency, blockchain and decentralized data are all buzzwords we’ve seen floating around in recent years, but the technology is so new that it’s hard to see direct applications to our lives, even in space exploration. But blockchain and space have more ties than you might expect.
What these concepts all describe is a different way of storing data, a way that is decentralized (meaning it uses a shared database), transparent (which allows users to see changes to the database) and secure. Within this type of system, users have copies of the data and, because data in a blockchain is stored with cryptographic algorithms, blockchain is hard to hack.
While the most popular use of cryptocurrency has been in the financial sector, other applications it’s been used for could be applied for space. One of these possible applications is in supply chains, where could be used to track resources during space mining or to manage large space construction projects. Another such use could be with energy to store and control energy production and consumption by space systems, Helena Correia Mendonça, a principal consultant with Portuguese law firm Vieira de Almeida, which studies blockchain, said in an e-mail to Space.com.
“The space sector can also give an important contribution for the development and wider use of blockchain, notably through the use of satellites as nodes in the chain – either as participating nodes that store data, or validating nodes that validate and add data,” Mendonça said in the email.”In this case, you can use satellites to receive, store and broadcast blockchain data and apps. Hence, the satellite networks can be used as the infrastructure where you store data and through which you perform transactions.”
While these possible uses are promising, blockchain is actually already used in space. The first satellite to use the technology was Blockstream, a company that launched in 2017 to…