ConsenSys, creator of the Ethereum blockchain and Ether cryptocurrency has acquired Planetary Resources, one of the first public asteroid mining companies. When PR launched six years ago they received funding from wealthy backers like Google cofounder Lary page and Avatar director James Cameron.
However after a failed public “space selfie” kickstarter campaign Planetary Resources began to fade from the limelight and eventually – in to financial strife. Now for some unbeknownst reason Ethereum creator “ConsenSys” has swooped in to purchase the aerospace company.
What we know for sure is that this would not be the first time blockchain or cryptocurrency his come in to contact with the idea of outerspace. In fact none other then NASA itself recently granted funds to someone exploring how we could use automated smart contracts for the coordination of operations between robotic craft in deep spac.
Then there’s Space Decentral – what they call a “democratic autonomous organization” in Ethereum. This group is attempting a form of online democracy mixed with crowd sourced brainstorming to create a functioning space program ‘for the people, by the people.’ Indeed it does seem that blockchain/cryptocurrency are uniquely suited for outer space. They’re both unregulated, disruptive, ground breaking industries with a lot of growth potential.
Furthermore the automated blockchain technology will make it much easier to trust corporations in outer space by providing an immutable distributed ledger for keeping track of exchanges between craft. A complete distributed ledger is stored on each computer in the network, sort of like an informational holocracy based more on transparency and processing speed. Outer space economics could equally compliment Ethereum by acting as industrial influence for the cryptocurrency Ether which would otherwise remain volatile in cyberspace.
Lewis Hewicki president and ceo of Planetary Resources was quoted stating that he was “delighted to join ConsenSys in building atop our work to expand humanity’s economic sphere of influence into the Solar System” which is apparently part of the deal.
It is likely that ConsenSys sees itself as a potential contender for the future of outer space. Perhaps by providing an official currency and means of organizing work through a blockchain powered ecosystem of automated smart contracts. They may go as far as to architect an entirely new crypto-economic framework for exchange in outer space. Only time will tell.