The blockchain firm ConsenSys, which has over 900 employees, has acquired Planetary Resources as of 31 October 2018. This partnership could bring blockchain technology into space.
Planetary Resources is a company which focuses on mining life-sustaining resources in space, rather than transporting resources from Earth, which is inefficient due to the tremendous cost of launching anything beyond the grip of Earth’s gravity. Planetary Resources is conducting deep space missions to identify resource-rich locations on near-Earth asteroids. Apparently, there are 16,000 near-Earth asteroids that are more accessible than the moon, and they contain a combined 2 trillion tons of water and other life-sustaining resources.
The CEO of Planetary Resources and former NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory employee, Chris Lewicki, said, “Over the course of nearly a decade, Planetary Resources has simultaneously pioneered technology, business, law and policy, and brought the promise of space resources irreversibly closer to humankind’s grasp. I am proud of our team’s extraordinary accomplishments, grateful to our visionary supporters, and delighted to join ConsenSys in building atop our work to expand humanity’s economic sphere of influence into the Solar System.”
It is likely that this partnership will result in blockchain technology being integrated into Planetary Resource’s space exploration and mining activities. General Counsel for Planetary Resources, Brian Israel, said, “Ethereum smart contract functionality is a natural solution for private-ordering and commerce in space—the only domain of human activity not ordered around territorial sovereignty—in which a diverse range of actors from a growing number of countries must coordinate and transact.”
Blockchain can be used to build the technology for the Planetary Resources supply chain, to keep close track of infrastructure, expenses, and mined resources. It is known that blockchain technology makes supply chains shorter and stronger. Beyond this, blockchain technology can be used to launch a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO), which might be the best way to govern space exploration and mining in the future.
ConsenSys Founder and Ethereum Co-Founder Joe Lublin said, “I admire Planetary Resources for its world-class talent, its record of innovation, and for inspiring people across our planet in support of its bold vision for the future. Bringing deep space capabilities into the ConsenSys ecosystem reflects our belief in the potential for Ethereum to help humanity craft new societal rule systems through automated trust and guaranteed execution. And it reflects our belief in democratizing and decentralizing space endeavors to unite our species and unlock untapped human potential. We look forward to sharing our plans and how to join us on this journey in the months ahead.”
A new type of blockchain that is optimized for space exploration might end up being developed from this partnership, although this is just speculation. Current Earth-centric blockchains would not function as well in space, since there are long lag times in space due to the immense distances involved.
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