Bitcoin mining could head into space to become more secure and easier to do.
Cryptocurrency developer Jeff Garzik's company, Dunvegan Space Systems, has signed an agreement with Deep Space Industries to develop "an orbital system" for the not-for-profit BitSat project.
The BitSats are small 10cm boxes that could be attached to spacecraft, and will act as extra layers of verification for encoded Bitcoin blocks in order to make transactions safer and more reliable.
Transactions become official when Bitcoin miners solve complex maths equations to decode a block of bitcoins.
The new satellite system will help in cross-checking and verifying the blocks available on the terrestrial network, ensuring that they have not been faked, according to Garzik.
Garzik wants to have a constellation of BitSats floating around Earth, ensuring there are enough to cope with the volume of transactions taking place.
The companies claim that they will create a constellation of small BitSats, which will comprise an orbital node for the Bitcoin network now on Earth, and will be broadcasting continuously the bitcoin block from orbit.
The BitSat system could also increase the resiliency of cryptocurrencies, they said, by providing a back up to the Bitcoin network, in case of disruptions or outages to the terrestrial bitcoin P2P mesh network.
Garzik said private spaceflight is driving down costs so that great ideas like BitSats are within reach of even volunteer nonprofits.
"We want to keep bitcoin healthy and free by finding alternative ways to distribute block chain data," said Garzik.
Deep Space Industries chairman Rick Tumlinson said deep space is about using space resources - including space itself.
"BitSat is actually very much in line with our spacecraft development plans, including another private system we will be announcing in a few months using many of the same components and systems," Tumlinson added.
"This means much lower costs - very important for the BitSat effort."
Deep Space Industries will be responsible for developing the detailed requirements of the space and ground segments of a BitSat constellation, and preliminary plans for the architecture, operations concept, and spacecraft design.
The results of the detailed plan will be announced by September for evaluation by Bitcoin community.
Deep Space Industries chief operating officer Daniel Faber said, "The goal is to design a system that is as open and inexpensive as possible."