A partnership to launch satellites broadcasting the bitcoin block chain from space has been announced by bitcoin core developer Jeff Garzik.

Garzik’s Dunvegan Space Systems, in partnership with a company called Deep Space Industries Inc., plans to build satellites called ‘BitSats’ as part of a bitcoin orbital system, providing redundancy to the network.

The non-profit endeavor plans to have a node in space as a backup in case of terrestrial failure for the Bitcoin network.

Garzik said in a statement:

“We want to keep bitcoin healthy and free by finding alternative ways to distribute block chain data.”

The plan

The idea is to build bitcoin satellites based on the CubeSat modular standard – measuring 10cm on all sides. These BitSats will be launched as hitchhikers on larger payloads into orbit above the Earth.

A Cubsat-based satellite. Source: University of TokyoA Cubesat-based satellite. Source: University of Tokyo

From orbit, the BitSats will be able to broadcast out as nodes, providing transaction information via solved blocks.

Garzik, who is also a senior software developer at BitPay, argues that space is a tool that can be used to shape bitcoin:

“I believe space holds the promise of our future, and also offers a lot of utility right now.”

The joint project is expected to provide users a downlink from the satellites where they can access the information from space. This downlink will be provided by a vendor, however bitcoin enthusiasts will be able to set up their own receiving equipment.

Donation effort

A plan to launch bitcoin satellites into space may sound audacious, but it is certainly not a joke. Garzik first told CoinDesk about the plan back in December, estimating the costs associated with the project at $2m. However, in context, this is a relatively low figure – as the burgeoning private space industry continues to slash the expense of getting objects into orbit.

In order to fund the project, Garzik and his collaborators are looking to raise money via donations. There is a Google Group for discussion and updates on the BitSat project’s progress and a donation address for those interested in contributing.

And it seems other bitcoin fanatics are also space enthusiasts: Richard Branson recently confirmed that six passengers reserving seats on future Virgin Galactic orbital flights paid for tickets in bitcoin.

High orbit image via Shutterstock

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