ESA Business Applications and Space Solutions, under its Kick-start Activity program, has awarded funding to SpaceChain UK to further develop and identify commercial use-cases for its satellite blockchain technology.
ESA’s Kick-start Activity Program is designed to make it easier for entrepreneurs and start-ups to explore thematic areas with promising business potential and to create new commercial services and applications relying on space assets and data. Successful Kick-start projects can be further developed with additional funding from ESA’s Business Applications and Space Solutions.
SpaceChain’s satellite blockchain technology is designed to bring more security to the transmission of digital currencies and smart contracts by using a distributed satellite network and multi-signature transactions. Thus far, SpaceChain has developed an open-source operating system, and launched and flight-tested two blockchain nodes into space in the past 12 months.
“It is an honour to receive support from the European Space Agency. The fintech industry currently suffers from low levels of security in relation to the storage and transmission of digital currency, preventing it from achieving the same level of professionalism and trust as the traditional banking industry. We are thrilled to solve that by bringing our blockchain technology to new partners in the EU and UK,” said Zee Zheng, SpaceChain co-founder and chief executive officer.
Current blockchain transactions carry significant security risks if a user’s private signature key is compromised. To solve this problem, SpaceChain has developed a multi-signature satellite wallet that is faster and more secure than the traditional method. Instead of using one private key, the SpaceChain wallet can use a two of three signature scheme, where at least two signatures are required to complete transactions, with the satellite acting as one of those signatures. The funds in the wallet remain safe even in the event of a connectivity failure due to the fact that the two ground-based signatures can still complete the transaction.
“Multisignature transactions have been proven to be highly robust security measures for financial systems and we are very excited to be partnering with ESA and expanding these security measures to the new space economy,” said Jeff Garzik, SpaceChain co-founder and chief technology officer.
SpaceChain plans to collaborate with Deimos Space UK, whose expertise in-flight systems, ground segment systems, space situational awareness, and satellite navigation make them an ideal partner.
“We look forward to a long-term partnership with Deimos, beginning with this ESA project. Deimos has identified the innovations being developed by SpaceChain as being enablers of a more robust EO data commercialisation platform. The fields of earth observation and remote sensing are ripe for distributed ledger technology innovation,” said Nick Trudgen, SpaceChain chief commercial officer and UK office director.