Every few weeks a batch of Starlink satelites is parked into orbit by the Falcon rockets of SpaceX, another 48 put up on march 8th. We’re already at he final number runs into the thousands. They will facilitate high bandwidth internet both through radio waves (Low Earth Orbit to Earth) and Laser (between the satellites). It is an amazingly complex system that depends on constant recalculation and reconfiguration of connections.
This constellation is quite a revolution for several reasons. Its fast because its closer to the ground than usual satellite communication systems, its has the newest technology and can be constantly updated. Its ground stations cost only ~$100 per month and are not clumsy. The network is practically private and especially when the lasers are used, impenetrable and out of reach. One can easily imagine some of the satellites having dual purposes (having cameras directed towards Earth), but it would be hard to know.
Starcoin already exists on CoinMarketCap.com but its unrelated!
Elon Musk’s idea is that by bringing internet to remote places he also brings education to these spots. A lot of times it is not profitable for anyone to create an internet connection. As we see now with the war against Ukraine internet is also used to create totalitarian bubbles. Spheres of misinformation, the people in it have the option to constantly doubt the news or go along and not make themselves target for prosecution. Imagine what will happen if a mobile phone sized ground station is available, if that is possible (given the bandwidth limits dictated by physics). I could also see it used as a GPS system, along with GPS, Glonass and the European constellation.
Now there’s another option that could benefit from Starlink satellites unique ‘location’, a crypto ledger run on the satellites themselves. The reason we have crypto originally was to design a system that could not be corrupted or owned. It turns out that too much energy and hardware is involved such that its more efficient to channel transactions through several brokers and use exchanges that do not actually trade coins when you trade them at all times etc. The original purity of crypto got lost in scaling and commercial restrictions. It would be simple to start a ledger on servers located in space, which could require a lot less hashing because there’s no other network up there, and because the hashing was done to select a winning node, and the Starlink network would not be competing for coins itself.
Starcoin could be the lowest cost crypto system in operation, powered by solar. Transactions would be made towards IP addresses of servers on the satellites, and the data would be kept in orbit. It would perhaps require more energy than the current sattelites but this just requires a redesign. The currency would be instantly global, access could be lisenced through local providers with a Starlink dish or telecom companies. The value of the currency could be linked to renewable energy exchanges but that needs to be given more thought. Renewable energy is hyper local usually, so the mobility of Starcoin (existing ‘in the constellation’) does not match the mobility of renewable energy like that of the USD matches that of fossil fuels (which makes the world economy such a big mystery most people haven’t even noticed yet), maybe RE will be able to work in the same way if like fossil fuels, groups of countries agree to a single ‘market’ price over a wide territory.