Cryptosat has deployed its second satellite into low earth orbit (LEO). The space-as-a-service firm is establishing a Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) to provide cryptographic and tamper-proof security for blockchain protocols.
Cryptosat, a company that builds and launches satellites that power blockchain and cryptographic protocols, launched its second satellite called Crypto2 into orbit via SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket on January 3. Carrying 114 satellites for 23 operators across the world, this was SpaceX’s first launch of the year.
In May 2022, Cryptosat launched its first satellite module, Crypto1, which provided a physically unreachable and tamper-proof platform to serve numerous use cases for blockchain-powered networks, including “transaction signing, trusted setups for cryptographic schemes, randomness oracle, and time-oracle”. The company founded by Stanford PhD alumnus Yan Michaelevsky and Yonan Winetraub says that Crypto2 is equipped with 30 times more computational power than its predecessor, also expanding the number of clients it can serve simultaneously.
“There’s a lot of need for this. If we’re looking into protocols, especially in Web3, there are whole financial systems and smart contract systems, kind of digital agreements that depend on the trustworthiness of the cryptography behind it,” said co-founder Michaelevsky in May.
The founder also added that this technology is the first off-world cryptographic system that is not dependent on satellites developed by other companies, instead providing hardware and software solutions for crypto companies directly from orbit. Meanwhile, Winetraub says that the launch of Crypto2 is a milestone for the company towards expanding its infrastructure, giving it “more availability and more powerful spec to support the growing portfolio of use cases” in its development pipeline.
In March 2022, the team took part in an experiment on the International Space Station (ISS) which involved creation of cryptographic signatures for private keys generated and stored onboard the spacecraft.
Cryptosat says one of the most important applications for its modules are to set up zero-knowledge proof (ZK-SNARK) protocols for crypto projects, a system that is now widely used by decentralised autonomous organisations (DAO) to vote on governance decisions without exposing identity of the voters. The cryptographic proof is made possible using a private key that is created before a transaction takes place and is only valid for the duration of that particular transaction.
With Cryptosat’s low earth orbit (LEO) satellites, SNARK-based blockchain protocols can ensure bulletproof security as the possibility of on-ground hacks or network intrusion are eliminated by its trusted setup. Other use cases for the module include deploying an entire blockchain network in space, phasing out crypto mining operations in the process. Using its own satellites, the company can guarantee that no third-party or “nation-state actors” can interfere with its operations before or after launching into orbit. Michaelevsky says that hackers can be thwarted because a technology to tamper with satellite based systems is currently not available.
Last month, the company launched an application programming interface (API) called Cryptosim, that allows Web3 developers to interact with its satellites in space.
Similar to Cryptosat, space-as-a-service firms SpaceChain and Blockstream have been exploring options in the sector to provide blockchain-based solutions. In 2019, SpaceChain sent its hardware wallet technology to the ISS, and later that year, the company received a $60,000 contract from the European Space Agency (ESA) to develop a commercial-grade multisignature wallet. Last year, a user in Brazil used Blockstream’s network to establish the first Bitcoin (BTC) node in space.