Friday, March 13, 2015
Bitcoin core developer Jeff Garzik’s bold plan to put mini satellites into orbit to provide secure, remote backup for the digital currency’s growing store of critical data has taken a step close to becoming a reality.
Mr. Garzik’s company, Dunvegan Space Systems, announced Thursday that it has signed a contract with its partner, Deep Space Industries Inc., to build the first 24-unit constellation of “BitSats,” an idea it first unveiled nearly a year ago.
Dunvegan plans to have the BitSats keep a complete record of bitcoin’s ever-growing blockchain ledger, thus acting as crucial “full nodes” to backup bitcoin’s all-important core database at a time when the number of earth-based computers providing this vital storage service has declined.
Separately, Mr. Garzik said, Dunvegan will offer BitSats to paying customers, who would use them for proprietary data storage solutions and communications services. For such companies, which might choose a space-based operation for, among the reasons, keeping their most sensitive data physically removed from potential attackers, the company already has a price menu: $1 million for one BitSat, $19 million for a full 24-unit constellation.
This for-profit part of the business would monetize an operation that was initially conceived as a public utility aimed at securing bitcoin’s decentralized network.
“As programmers, we are always asking that higher-level question: how can you solve that problem and at the same time several other problems? And that’s where the revenue model came from,” Mr. Garzik said. “Basically we look at [the BitSat] as a platform that can do on-demand data broadcasts to any location on earth, as well as store data for customers.”
Mr. Garzik, who also works for bitcoin payment processor BitPay and is a member of the five-person team assigned to coordinate development and maintenance of bitcoin’s core open-source software program, initially looked at having the BitSats mine for bitcoin rewards in space. But he said it would have been prohibitively expensive as many many more solar panels would be needed to power up the high-powered chips needed to compete with fast-paced bitcoin mines on earth.
As it is, the BitSat “nano-satellites” are small – 10 cm x 10 cm x 30 cm. Yet even that is larger than the initial 10×10x10 prototype because it had to accommodate more panels to fuel the on-board computers.
Full article: http://blogs.wsj.com … oy-bitsats-in-space/