World’s first crypto satellite launched successfully by SpaceX rocket

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying a nanosatellite by Cryptosat lifted off on May 25 from the Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida.

A stock photo of a sunrise from the space.

Crypto1, a miniature cube satellite size of a coffee mug, seamlessly reached orbit and is ready to assert itself as a pioneer of blockchain technology in space, acting as a perfectly immutable and untouchable cryptographic module. Developed by Cryptosat from the off-the-shelf components, it's designed to secure cryptographic applications such as electronic voting, randomness beacons, and verifiable delay functions.

Verifiable delay is a cryptographic function that allows the prover to show the verifier that they spent a certain amount of time on some task, while the latter can easily check it. A randomness beacon is a service that generates random data at regular intervals, serving as a reliable source of entropy.

“We’re basically joining the Uber of spaceflight,” Yonatan Winetraub, the co-founder of Cryptostat, said in his interview with Cointelegraph. “Everybody goes into the same orbit and we’re one of the passengers,” he added, referencing the growing trend to deploy a bunch of commercial satellites during a single mission. Indeed, the costs of building and launching them into space have dramatically declined in the past decades, primarily due to SpaceX heavy rockets, which are the most affordable on a per-kilogram basis.

Once in space, Cryptosat’s satellites are completely tamper-proof. No one can physically access them, which means they’re resistant to malicious attacks. Additionally, Earth-based modules communicate with the satellite via radio frequency, so basically, anyone can listen to it, and the potential attack won’t go unnoticed. “Anybody with an antenna will know if you’re doing something funny,” said Yonatan Winetraub.

Before the Crypto1 launch, the blockchain satellite technology had been trialed on the International Space Station. During one of the experiments, a Twitter bot by Cryptosat was cryptographically signing tweets with keys generated and stored in space. Next, it created a certificate with a signature over the message.

Cryptosat is a startup on a mission to build satellites that power cryptographic, blockchain, and ledger applications. “We believe that satellites possess unique properties that make them well suited for these tasks and by launching these platforms into space we can unlock new and exciting opportunities in the realm of computing,” the company’s website reads.

Although it’s tempting to slip into complacency, the company doesn’t plan to stop after the first successful launch. “We’re already in the stages of planning the next satellite, hopefully aiming for the end of this year, as there’s a lot to do such as continuing to upgrade the software platform,” said other Cryptosat co-founder Yan Michalevsky.

The company also plans to expand the suite of satellite-based Web3 applications for its customers. “We want to build really great APIs to provide things like signing NFTs in space, provide things that are not only enterprise and back end applications but also very useful for consumers, and then enable them to build financial infrastructures on top of this constellation of trusted satellites,” Michalevsky said.