Blockchain’s “Google,” ConsenSys, has agreed to acquire the assets of asteroid mining company Planetary Resources, Inc., in a bid to democratize and decentralize access to outer space. As part of the agreement, Planetary Resources’ Chief Executive Chris Lewicki and General Counsel Brian Israel will join the global ConsenSys team.
ConsenSys Obtains Deep Space Capabilities With New Acquisition
Before founding Planetary Resources, CEO Chris Lewicki worked at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory as a flight director for Mars exploration assets, like the Phoenix Mars Rover and the Spirit and Opportunity rovers. So, it goes without saying that he was, of course, rather optimistic about the new deal with New York-headquartered ConsenSys:
“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 in the Solar System.”
Brian Israel’s experience includes eight years at the US State Department’s Office of the Legal Adviser. He expressed interest in the economic and legal aspects of using blockchain, Ethereum-based applications especially, as part of an interplanetary future for humanity:
“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.”
ConsenSys plans on continuing to operate former Planetary Resources assets from its former facility in Redmond, WA. This may indicate that ConsenSys desires continued access to American aerospace expertise, so the startup can further develop Planetary Resources’ capabilities.
Other Organizations Recognize Potential Alliance Between Aerospace and Blockchain
ConsenSys is not the only blockchain company that is interested in space operations. SpaceChain was founded as a decentralized space agency with a plan to develop and launch a blockchain-based satellite network, which developers can use to create and deploy space- and blockchain-based applications.
Space Decentral also has plans to facilitate the crowdfunding of space-related projects and has announced the more concrete plan of studying the possibility of 3D printing habitats on the Moon.
The aerospace industry has expressed interest in blockchain technologies, as well. In 2017, NASA awarded a $330,000 grant to develop a blockchain-based spacecraft computing system known as the Resilient Networking and Computing Paradigm. The European Space Agency also issued a report on utilizing blockchain in potential future projects.
While ConsenSys’ acquisition of Planetary Resources may have come as a surprise to some, it could also be the latest move in a growing trend of blockchain industry insiders recognizing aerospace as a potential growth partner and vice versa. Besides, who knows, Consensys now has a shot at discovering and mining the first trillion-dollar asteroid.