Cryptosat raises $3 million to launch satellite into space for bulletproof cryptography

Rick Steves

Cryptosat has successfully completed a seed raise of $3 million as it prepares to launch a Trusted Execution Environment in space,

The private round was led by Cryptosat co-founders Yonatan Winetraub and Yan Michalevsky, who were joined by Protocol Labs (known for backing Filecoin and developing IPFS), Inflection, GoAhead Ventures, DoraHacks, and founders of Phala Network.

Cryptosat co-founders Yonatan Winetraub and Yan Michalevsky are Stanford PhD alumni and the team has a background in aerospace engineering, applied security, and cryptography.

In May 2022, their first satellite, Crypto1, was launched into orbit. In March 2022, the team completed an experiment onboard the International Space Station.

Tamper-proof satellites can serve numerous use-cases including transaction signing, trusted setups for cryptographic schemes, a randomness oracle, time-oracle (VDF) and more.

“Random Beacons must be unpredictable and resistant to any manipulations”

Cryptosat wants to innovate with its tamper-proof root-of-trust through complete device isolation and the $3 million raised will be used to support its goal of establishing physically isolated cryptographic applications housed in an orbiting satellite.

The startup is working on projects with a number of organizations in order to create a trusted execution environment in space, including the development of a Random Beacon for the Velas blockchain that can generate and transmit trusted randomness from space.

Farkhad Shagulyamov, Chief Executive Officer at Velas, said: “Random Beacons must be unpredictable and resistant to any manipulations. We believe that our partnership with Cryptosat will help us develop a top-quality Random Beacon, which has no analogues in the modern crypto industry.”

Cryptosat’s own satellites to remove all third party interference

Yan Michalevsky, Co-founder at Cryptosat, added: “Cryptosat provides unprecedented integrity, confidentiality and authenticity guarantees for the most sensitive cryptographic operations by leveraging an environment that provides ultimate physical security: space.”

Protocol Labs, one of the investors in this private round, has also partnered with Cryptosat to trial time-based cryptographic primitives such as Verifiable Delay Functions (VDFs) hosted in space. These have the potential to unlock new opportunities in the realm of computing and guarantee ultimate trust and transparency, ranging from blockchain to securing internet transactions.

Cryptosat will use its own satellites built from the ground up to guarantee that no third party has interfered with the compute environment prior to its being launched into orbit. This provides a unique guarantee that not even nation-state actors can tamper with the operations that are carried aboard the satellite.

The startup argues that a space-based trusted setup eliminates the possibility of physical hack or network intrusion, making near earth orbit a new battleground in the quest for bulletproof cryptography.

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