News Technology

European Space Agency funds satellite blockchain startup SpaceChain


Today blockchain firm SpaceChain UK announced that it earned funding from the European Space Agency (ESA). SpaceChain won support through the ESA’s Kick-start Activity Program for promising startups, awarding up to €60,000 per contract. The agency brings together 22 member states for the exploration of space and development of related technologies.

SpaceChain was founded in Singapore in 2017, then expanded to the UK last year. The firm aims to build an open-source satellite network, where satellites are blockchain ‘space nodes’. By having nodes in space rather than a centralized server, the startup claims they are safer, more accessible, and could monitor supply chains anywhere in the world.

The main current application of the satellites is in SpaceChain’s multi-signature wallet for digital assets. The wallet requires two of three signatures to complete transactions, one of which can be computed with the satellite node. If the connection is down, two signatures can still be completed on Earth.

Jeff Garzik, the Co-founder and CTO of SpaceChain, said: “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.”

Indeed, the firm claims that their wallet is faster and more secure than conventional alternatives. SpaceChain hopes to apply their technology to blockchain-based digital currencies and smart contracts. Hence, funding from a multi-government space agency is a big step for them.

“It is an honor to receive support from the European Space Agency,” said Zee Zheng, the startup’s Co-founder and CEO.

“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,” he added.

Combining blockchain and space technology seems like something from science fiction. However, SpaceChain is not the only one in the sector. Blockstream similarly uses satellites to avoid vulnerabilities and provide open blockchain network access. The firm broadcasts the Bitcoin core network globally and currently has five active satellites, versus SpaceChain’s two.