Blockchains in space?
According to one research paper published by an Indian government official, the idea isn't so far-fetched.
Dr Kartik Hegadekatti of India's Ministry of Railways posits in a new paper, entitled "Extra-Terrestrial Applications of blockchains and Cryptocurrencies", that the tech could provide the basis for a space-based money in lieu of paper money or physical coins. Hegadekatti works for the ministry's Commercial Department.
Hegadekatti has written about cryptocurrencies in the past, exploring how a 'NationCoin' could be issued by a country in a paper from August. The paper's timing is notable, given India's controversial push away from paper currency and a rise in bitcoin purchase activity in the country.
Though the concept sounds a bit far-fetched and entirely speculative – humans have only set foot on the Moon a handful of times, and to date no manned mission has been launched to Mars – Hegadekatti argues that launching paper or coin-based monies into space is impractical given their cost and weight.
According to Hegadekatti, each planet or moon-based colony in the solar system could, in theory, have their own blockchains, synced together.
"By the time man has setup a full-fledged colony on Mars and moved beyond the Kuiper (asteroid) belt, the extra-terrestrial economies can be linked by an intricate network of controlled blockchains. There can be a MarsCoin, on a Martian blockchain, LunarCoin, JupiterCoin, SaturnCoin, TitanCoin, and so on, on their respective controlled blockchains."
Even cryptocurrency mining – the process by which new transactions are added to the blockchain – could be performed in space.
"Powerful microprocessors embedded in objects flown to (or created on) Mars can do 'smart mining' and provide the basis for a money exchange system. Machines containing embedded chips will 'smart mine' cryptocurrencies which can be used for Extra-Terrestrial transactions," he wrote, concluding:
"Thus, machines launched into outer space will automatically add value to the world economy."
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