Blockchain Lands in NASA, Crypto Still Hanging in the Air?

Jason Reed
By Jason Reed
Posted on Jan. 11, 2019
Blockchain Lands in NASA, Crypto Still Hanging in the Air?

Blockchain has evolved the technological landscape worldwide but amazingly, cryptocurrency, is still struggling to dethrone it’s repute of ‘being worthless’. Major industrial sectors are now embracing the technology and bitcoin is still fighting it’s way through crypto regulation boards across the world. In a latest update, world’s most prominent space work centre, NASA is considering the benefits of blockchain.

World’s Leading Aero Computer Engineer Voting for Hyperledger?

Ronald J. Reisman is an renowned aero-computer engineer at the NASA Ames Research Center and he is voting for hyperledger blockchain to manage air-traffic. He has put forward blockchain to solve issues of privacy and the prevention of spoofing, denial of service, and other attacks.

He says a new system due for implementation in 2020, the Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B), does not provide for the protection of flight plans and positions and other state data. Reisman believes blockchain has the answer in the form of an engineering prototype built using a permissioned blockchain.

The use of an open source permissioned blockchain framework to enable aircraft privacy and anonymity while providing a secure and efficient method for communication with Air Traffic Services, Operations Support, or other authorized entities.

The proposed framework uses “certificate authority, smart contract support, and higher-bandwidth communication channels” to ensure private communication between aircraft and authorized participants.

He details how the prototype could be “economically and rapidly deployed” at scale. Reisman bases the proposal on the use of Hyperledger Fabric, a blockchain he says has been developed away from fintech and designed for enterprise use.

Other Blockchains have Design Limitations

Interestingly, he appears to have considered other chains. He describes these chains as lacking cohesion and flexibility due to the platforms design limitations:

Ethereum claims a >80% market share, followed by other platforms, including (in order of market share popularity): Waves, Bitcoin Fork, Stratis, Graphene, Hyperledger, Ethereum Classic, Maidsafe, Litecoin Fork, NEO, and Rootstock.

Here is an excerpt from his paper -

Proposing to leverage an industrial-strength open-source enterprise-blockchain framework called Hyperledger Fabric to demonstrate potential solutions to vexing technical issues that threaten the adoption of ADS-B by Military, Corporate, and other aircraft operators who do not want their operations and movements discernible by the general public.

And although his approach “is not perfected” it is “based on available technology,” says the paper. This could be interpreted as a mark of approval of readiness for the wider use of blockchain globally.

Crypto Birthed Blockchain, So What About It?

Nobel prize-winning economist Robert Shiller called bitcoin a fad when it first reached a record high of nearly $6,000 in October 2017. Martin Walker of the Center for Evidence-Based Management (CEBMa) called blockchain a fad as well. And Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, famously called bitcoin “a fraud.” There are many examples and similar, dismissive, comments towards bitcoin and the concept of cryptocurrency.

The point is, cryptocurrency cannot simply be dismissed. Every technology we use in the future could either be based on or interact with blockchain. Sooner or later, if blockchain becomes a foundational technology, so too must money become blockchain-based.

The ongoing adoption of blockchain by banks, governments, enterprises, and even space agencies like NASA is a silver lining of a brighter future where crypto will shine through. The question is not if crypto is a fad, but how long will it take cryptocurrency to catch up.

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