Crazy Hacker Wants to Save Bitcoin by Blasting a CubeSat into Space

Illustration for article titled Crazy Hacker Wants to Save Bitcoin by Blasting a CubeSat into Space

Jeff Garzik is a dreamer. You know, the kind of guy who probably thought that he could fly with his red cape when he was younger. (Note: As a toddler, I unsuccessfully tried to fly several times.) But now Jeff Garzik is looking higher. He's looking to space, and he wants Bitcoin to live there.


No, seriously. Garzik recently proposed a plan to send a Bitcoin computer into space with an inexpensive CubeSat, so that there would always be a node in the network that hackers couldn't crack. The CubeSat would be able to communicate with Bitcoin computers on Earth by radio.

It sounds crazy, but it's actually not a bad idea. As Wired's Robert McMillan points out, Bitcoin computers are vulnerable to so-called Sibyl attacks. "It could give criminals a way of spending their bitcoins more than once," he explained in a recent blog post, "and it's also part of the so-called selfish miner scenario that Cornell University researchers described last month, saying it could bring down the entire system." Bring down the entire system? That can't be good.

Garzik is serious, and he's already raised 37 Bitcoins—about $37,000 at current exchange rates. Trips to space are more expensive than that, of course, but the dreamer thinks he can get everything together and have a Bitcoin computer in space in only three to five years. It's not the first such plan, either. [Bitcoin Forum via Wired]

Image via Flickr / antanacoins


How would putting it in space, or at the bottom of a salt mine, or any other remote location mitigate the fact that it has to be, by necessity, on a network? Whether it's a high speed terrestrial one, or a wireless one to outer space, while granted, a little less accessible, it remains hackable. It doesn't hurt to send it into orbit, which isn't necessarily the safest place either, but it's not clear how the expense is justified, other than to say you sent something into space.