Dec 21, 2013

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. More here.


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