In early April, bitcoin developer Jeff Garzik dropped a few hints that major updates were in the works for the proposed “BitSat” program. The system would put at least one bitcoin node in orbit around the Earth, creating a one-to-many connection for blockchain updates that would be immune to a range of terrestrial peer-to-peer attacks and outages on the network.
In a press release published today, new details about the BitSat program emerged. Garzik’s Dunvegan Space Systems has entered into a design contract with Deep Space Industries Inc. to create the orbital satellite system. Current estimates put the cost at about $2 million per orbiting node.
In the press release, Garzik explained the motivation behind the non-profit project.
Private spaceflight is breaking big, driving down costs so that great ideas like BitSats are within reach of even volunteer nonprofits. We want to keep bitcoin healthy and free by finding alternative ways to distribute block chain data.”
The design partnership moves the project one step closer to reality. Deep Space will be designing more than just the satellite itself, creating a system that includes the Earth-based receivers. Garzik said that while commercial receivers will be sold through vendors, plans for do-it-yourself models will also be made available as well.
While there is no reason to take the BitSat project lightly, it is worth noting that Garzik’s Dunvegan site also has some extremely ambitious, somewhat sci-fi sounding projects listed just under the BitSat concept. These include: “Interplanetary space transportation network”; “Network the planets”; and “Develop and deploy robotic settlement construction.”