Cryptosat has attracted $3 million in seed funding from investors including Protocol Labs. The startup aims to put satellites capable of transmitting securely-computed data to Earth.
It’s not the first time the crypto industry has experimented with using outer space for security. Bitcoin development firm Blockstream has launched multiple of its own satellites to bring maximum decentralization to the foundational blockchain.
Hardening cryptography with Cryptosat
Many cryptographic processes are hard to perform. Extremely large numbers, for example, are used all over cryptography but getting a computer to generate random numbers is difficult. This makes key generation laborious and presents security vulnerabilities. If a piece of hardware responsible for generating your random number is compromised, your security might be, too.
From Verifiable Delay Functions to ZK-SNARKs, there are many examples of systems that would be improved if a trusted source existed. Cryptosat believes its “oracles of the sky” will be that trusted truth source.
According to a recent press release, the company has just raised $3 million to continue the development of its satellites, the first of which was launched in May 2022. Crypto1 completed the journey from Earth with help from SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket.
Cryptosat was founded by Yan Michalevsky of Anjuna enterprise security company, and Yonatan Winetraub of SpaceIL. The two published a paper on the possibility of satellites beaming sensitive cryptographic operations in 2017 and have developed the idea since.
Commenting on Cryptosat’s mission, Yan Michalevsky stated:
“Cryptosat provides unprecedented integrity, confidentiality and authenticity guarantees for the most sensitive cryptographic operations by leveraging an environment that provides ultimate physical security: space.”
Cryptosat is already working with one of its backers, Protocol Labs, on space-hosted Verifiable Delay Functions. Meanwhile, a partnership with EVM-compatible Velas blockchain focuses on creating a Random Beacon. The pair aim to create a tamper-resistant random number generator that can be referenced by many apps.
The crypto space race continues
Veterans in the crypto industry might remember another company looking to maximize security from space. Blockstream, the long-running blockchain development firm — previously launched several satellites into orbit.
Beginning in August 2017, the Blockstream satellite aimed to provide free access to the Bitcoin network no matter where a potential user is in the world. Like Cryptosat, Blockstream identified that it is currently infeasible to take satellites out of orbit. Thus, the effort was not only to strengthen Bitcoin’s accessibility but also its resistance to state-level censorship.
Speaking in 2022 at Bitcoin Amsterdam, Adam Back, Blockstream’s cofounder, added privacy to the benefits:
“You can receive the data anonymously because it’s broadcast, and basically nobody can tell you’re receiving it. So, that’s good for privacy.”
Since 2017, Blockstream has launched three more satellites before announcing the new and improved Blockstream Satellite in 2020. The revamped version introduced additional coverage and the ability to sync a full Bitcoin node without an internet connection.
Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice