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Copernic Space launches world’s first sale of space assets

Copernic Space launches world’s first sale of space assets

An ‘eBay for space’, of sorts, Copernic Space has today launched its initial private sale of payload space – essentially enabling suppliers to send a minimum of 100g of physical cargo (such as artworks, or IoT devices) to the moon.

A subsequent public sale, live in the coming months, will bring a much-needed level of democratisation to the cosmic arena by allowing the retail market to purchase fractionalised, virtual ownership of the space assets via non-fungible token (NFT) technology.

Launching aboard SpaceX's Falcon 9, Lunar Outpost's MAPP rover is headed for the moon’s south pole, in December 2022. After gathering samples for NASA, the rover will remain on the moon forever.

In an exclusive interview with Finextra, Grant Blaisdell, creator and co-founder of Copernic Space, revealed that building the project took “years of discovery - even just to understand how to create a business model out of this new frontier. The launch of the sale is the proving ground for Copernic Space. But today is not just a significant moment for the company, it’s a historical moment for the wider space economy, and the public's access to it.”

One use case for the space payload, said Blaisdell, is the delivery of a physical, Bapes NFT statue to the moon. There it would stay while the public bought and sold portions (10,000 pieces, to be exact) of the installation via the secondary marketplace, hosted on Copernic’s Web 3.0 platform.

In terms of the sidechain, Copernic is launching on Polygon - the energy consumption of which is 100,000 times less than that of the Ethereum blockchain. On the sustainability point, Blaisdell noted: “I really think it's less of an issue than people make it out to be. The key for us is that Polygon provides high scalability and low transaction costs. We don’t want to be treated as stupid novelty, or another NFT pulling money out of the retail market. We are delivering a legitimate solution to the space economy, which creates true, commercial space assets.”

Today’s buyers should note that there are limits to what Blaisdell can send into orbit. Not only is there a weight constraint (Lunar Outpost’s M1 MAPP rover has a total of 3.475kg of space available) but there is also a material constraint:

“The payload has limitations on what you can send, some from international agreements,” explained Blaisdell. “For instance, buyers can't send weaponry or explosives. We’ve had interested buyers wanting to send up DNA and even hemp seeds, but those sales weren't approved by various players in the chain for several reasons, such as sensitivities toward biomass. There are environmental considerations, too - things can freeze and crack in the extreme conditions.”

In order to facilitate further innovation in space, Blaisdell welcomes new entrants to the arena. Fortunately, there are many projects underway looking to apply NFTs to the new space economy.

“We view ourselves as an economic operating system for space,” he argued. “Instead of seeing every project that wants to do something with an NFT in space as inherently competitive, it's up to us to bring them all together and host them on our platform. If anything, other initiatives are a mutual opportunity. We've even had some partners say they were worried they would have to take up the task of building the platform and marketplace themselves.”

For Blaisdell, the sky isn’t the limit for NFT technology. There are endless potential use cases around the democratisation of space - but for now, Copernic Space’s earthly mission is to acclimatise the retail market to the idea of owning things on the moon.

Comments: (1)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 17 February, 2022, 07:42Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Interesting concept....but raises so many questions...what would happen if Copernic Space goes bankrupt? who would bring the asserts back? Is there any regulatory oversight? as an AML professional: it the original of the assets checked? Can it be used to conceal assets from criminal origin from law enforcement? ....it sounds futuristic and hence, not without mant, high level risk factors. Maybe it is just me, but are people really comfortable with this?