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Author Topic: Bitcoins in space!  (Read 24930 times)
jgarzik
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November 15, 2013, 05:29:41 PM
 #1

One of the key tenets is that bitcoin block data is easy to distribute widely.  Information wants to be free.  One of the ways we may keep bitcoin healthy and free is finding alternative ways to distribute block chain data.  This provides resilience in case the P2P mesh network is attacked.

My personal favorite is satellite distribution, something I have been working on quietly in the background.  Satellites means one of two things:

  • 1. Buy some bandwidth on an existing satellite.
  • 2. Launch your own satellite.

Buying bandwidth is the most cost-effective, and readily attainable method today.  However, not just any satellite channel will do.  Bitcoin requires a dedicated, one-to-many broadcast mechanism.  This is like renting a TV channel -- although at much lower bandwidth requirements (1MB every minute or two).

Nanosatellites have recently cut satellite costs down from the absurd, traditional $20m+ build, $50m+ launch.  There is now a standardized cubesat size.  Two innovations reduced launch costs down into the $100k's range: (1) Many organizations collaborate together (rideshare), paying a portion of the launch cost.  Sometimes 27 or more cubesats are launched at once.  (2) These clusters of cubesats are launched as a secondary payload.  A primary payload has priority, which means secondary payloads are sometimes not launched into a proper orbit.  With these two factors, cubesat construction and launch is lowered to a reachable price: $2m or so.

Several people, including some investors, in the bitcoin community have privately expressed interest.  It seemed like a good time to move forward with Phase 1 of the project.

Phase 1 is:   flesh out cubesat specifications, research leased bandwidth pricing, and specific data needs (xmit tech, frequencies).  The initial goal is broadcasting worldwide (or at least major continents) the latest bitcoin block, over and over again.  Stretch goals include broadcasting recent chains, recent TX's, and other data.

A word about government involvement:  Set expectations properly.  There are three points at which government is inevitably involved, at some level: (a) getting launch approval, (b) ground station(s) inevitably must be located in some useful geolocation, and (c) frequency selection.   Fundamentally, these satellites will be broadcasting public, not-encrypted blockchain data, so the content should not be an issue.

Donations accepted at 1M9MyyPsAak7zRjW4D96pTxDaAEpDDZLR7

Feb 05 update:

Project update #1: Permalink
BitSat architecture, v0.1: Permalink

Files posted on http://bitsat.org/#/docs

Sponsors (1 BTC or more):
  • Mohit Kalra (2 BTC, May 2014)
  • Unknown (1 BTC, Apr 2014)
  • http://www.redstarmining.com/ (1 BTC, Jan 2014)
  • Roger Ver (5 BTC, Dec 2013)
  • Erik Voorhees (5 BTC, Dec 2013)
  • Rusty Russell (1 BTC, Dec 2013)
  • BitcoinGrant.org (25 BTC, Nov 2013)
  • Jeff Garzik (1 BTC, Nov 2013)

Standard disclaimer:  This is a personal project.  Nothing to do with my employer.

Jeff Garzik, bitcoin core dev team and BitPay engineer; opinions are my own, not my employer.
Donations / tip jar: 1BrufViLKnSWtuWGkryPsKsxonV2NQ7Tcj
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November 15, 2013, 06:05:54 PM
 #2

Glad you brought this up Jeff.  I think this is a brilliant step forward to having Bitcoin transactions survive despite the internet being shut down.  I propose utilizing the existing amateur radio frequencies to propagate Blockchain transactions.  Satellites, in conjunction with converted wireless routers (HSMM-MESH), can enable a cheaply configured network that can operate with minimal electricity and no internet connection.  These transaction terminals can also be configured to have Bluetooth low energy attachments that would allow it to interface with mobile devices.  

Amateur Radio Rules

Under Title 47- Part 97 of the FCC amateur radio services, I believe transmitting Blockchain transmission is a good use of the amateur radio frequencies.  97.1 Basis and purpose  "(e) Continuation and extension of the amateur's unique ability to enhance international goodwill." And I don't see it violating any prohibited transmissions, this one in particular:

97.113 Prohibited transmissions "(2) Communications for hire or for material compensation, direct or indirect, paid or promised, except as otherwise provided in these rules" I believe Blockchain transmissions are not classified as material compensation, but rather a ledger update, or an information bulletin update. If the Blockchain protocol cannot be broadcast legally under Part 97, I recommend taking the concept in a direction that would comply with Part 15 rules.

Firmware

One popular way to access amateur only frequencies is to modify an off-the-shelf access point with custom firmware. This custom firmware is freely available on the Internet from projects such as DD-WRT and OpenWrt. The most popular piece of hardware that is modified is the Linksys WRT54GL because of the widespread availability of both the hardware and third party firmware.

Current Implementation

HSMM-MESH is meant to be the high speed digital progression of existing Amateur Radio practices and used only by licensed Amateur Radio operators. It also is suitable for permanent installation, providing high speed digital Amateur Radio communications over a region with line-of-sight RF access to at least one of the participating nodes.  It is a fully self-sufficient network and does not require any other infrastructure or resources to be in place for its participating nodes to be able to communicate with each other.

Broadband-Hamnet is the self configuring ham network.  Hams have transferred IP data by radio for ages.  Mesh nodes were originally consumer wireless routers but changed function when the firmware was changed.  Mesh nodes are self discovering, self configuring, self advertising and fault tolerant. Mesh nodes are small, portable, low-power and inexpensive. They are easily battery powered.  Mesh nodes can easily have a range of 10 miles or more using stock power and gain antennas if you have true line of sight. Mesh nodes on channels 1-6 use FCC part 97 rules instead of part 15. This allows big antennas, more power, other changes. Data is data. It can be IP Video, VOIP, LAN traffic between computers, clients to a web server/FTP/NAS/printer, keyboard chat, hop to the Internet, etc

Frequencies

802.11a
802.11b
802.11g
802.11n

Identification

As with any amateur radio mode stations must identify at least once every 10 minutes. One acceptable method for doing so is to transmit one’s call sign inside an ICMP echo request (commonly known as a ping). If the access point is set to "master" then the user’s call sign may be set as the "SSID" and therefore will be transmitted at regular intervals.

It is also possible to use a DDNS "push" request to automatically send an amateur callsign in plain text (ASCII) every 10 minutes. This requires that a computers hostname be set to the callsign of the amateur operator and that the DHCP servers lease time be set to less than or equal to 10 minutes. With this method implemented the computer will send a DNS "push" request that includes the local computers hostname every time the DHCP lease is renewed. This method is supported by all modern operating systems including but not limited to Windows, Mac OS X, BSD, and Linux. 802.11 hardware may transmit and receive the entire time it is powered on even if the user is not sending data.

Cheers,

Dan
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November 15, 2013, 08:31:01 PM
 #3

I'll be interested to invest. Sounds like a crazy but awesome idea.

jgarzik
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November 15, 2013, 08:51:23 PM
 #4

For Phase 1, dealing with investors/shareholders would just be far too annoying.  It would get in the way of getting things done.


Jeff Garzik, bitcoin core dev team and BitPay engineer; opinions are my own, not my employer.
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November 16, 2013, 02:04:59 PM
 #5

Actually that gives me an idea, get Bitcoin on the ISS! I wonder how that could be arranged?

Information wants to be free.

Really? Last time I check inanimate objects or concepts did not yearn for anything. :p

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November 16, 2013, 02:44:29 PM
 #6

Actually that gives me an idea, get Bitcoin on the ISS! I wonder how that could be arranged?

Information wants to be free.

Really? Last time I check inanimate objects or concepts did not yearn for anything. :p

Many humans want information to be free.

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November 16, 2013, 02:54:02 PM
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Actually that gives me an idea, get Bitcoin on the ISS! I wonder how that could be arranged?

Information wants to be free.

Really? Last time I check inanimate objects or concepts did not yearn for anything. :p

Many humans want information to be free.

Sure. Just because lots of people want information to be free does not mean information wants to be free. Information does not want anything.

Also many humans believe in an omnipotent being determining the outcome of their lives and watching over them, just because many want or believe does not make it right or true.

:p

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jgarzik
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November 16, 2013, 11:05:24 PM
 #8

It is an engineering statement.  Information is, in general, easy to copy and leak, and difficult to keep secret.

Jeff Garzik, bitcoin core dev team and BitPay engineer; opinions are my own, not my employer.
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November 17, 2013, 02:21:37 AM
 #9

It is an engineering statement.  Information is, in general, easy to copy and leak, and difficult to keep secret.


This is very true.

Do you think there is someway to get Bitcoin on the ISS?

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November 20, 2013, 11:24:11 AM
 #10

Maybe put a bitcoin atm on the moon
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November 20, 2013, 12:38:24 PM
 #11

Have you heard of PayPal Galactic? https://www.paypal-galactic.com/

PayPal is working on interplanetary payments.

Of course, Bitcoin is essentially ready for the universe, as long as there's internet.

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November 20, 2013, 04:21:47 PM
 #12

I registered bitcoinsinspace.com back in 2012, envisioning something like this, and I would be happy to put it to use with this project.


If there is anything else I can do to help, please let me know.

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November 26, 2013, 04:52:51 PM
 #13

Lining up a few aerospace engineers for Phase 1.

There is now a donation address set up for this project, and am currently hoping to raise $10-20k for Phase 1.

       1M9MyyPsAak7zRjW4D96pTxDaAEpDDZLR7

Or contact me privately if you want a one-time-use donation address, or if you want to be identified on the list of donors as someone other than "anonymous donor".  Wallet funds for this project are stored and securely separately from my personal funds, for the record.  This is a donation, not an investment.

Rough cost estimates of a single cubesat:
  • 1x Cubesat hardware and construction: $60-100k
  • Launch: $1m
  • Miscellaneous: $900k (ground station uses, licensing, insurance, other details)

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Bitcoins space project donation address is

     1M9MyyPsAak7zRjW4D96pTxDaAEpDDZLR7

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Jeff Garzik, bitcoin core dev team and BitPay engineer; opinions are my own, not my employer.
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jgarzik
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November 29, 2013, 08:26:38 PM
 #14

Very pleased to announce a generous 25 BTC donation from BitcoinGrant.org, worth $27,000 as of this writing.

Updates will be posted to this thread (and eventually a website), once the aerospace engineers are fully contracted and engaged.

The meetings so far with engineers have been quite positive.  If the project proceeds as a non-profit, it is possible that amateur radio frequencies may be used for transmission, as another poster mentions upthread.


Jeff Garzik, bitcoin core dev team and BitPay engineer; opinions are my own, not my employer.
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November 29, 2013, 09:17:20 PM
 #15

Good project Jeff.

Monetary Freedom - a basic human right
The ultimate outcome of central banking must be that everybody goes broke borrowing fiat money that has no value.
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November 29, 2013, 09:40:28 PM
 #16

Do you think there is someway to get Bitcoin on the ISS?

During one of the meetings on this project, I learned that the ISS' Japanese module has a cubesat launcher...


Jeff Garzik, bitcoin core dev team and BitPay engineer; opinions are my own, not my employer.
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November 29, 2013, 10:51:18 PM
 #17

Cool! I propose to hire Chuck Norris to put the satellite into orbit...  Grin


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November 30, 2013, 08:54:23 PM
 #18

Very interesting. Can i follow this project somewhere? Or just follow this thread?
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November 30, 2013, 09:07:34 PM
 #19

Very interesting. Can i follow this project somewhere? Or just follow this thread?

This thread, for the moment.  A website should be up soon.


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December 01, 2013, 12:04:27 AM
 #20

I'll be interested to invest. Sounds like a crazy but awesome idea.

thats really crazy but bitcoin is crazy too  Tongue

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