Moving towards a Decentralised Revolution in Outer Space
In the first of our new series of interviews with space and blockchain industry thought leaders, we sat down with Chief Operating Officer Alessandra Albano to find out more about her role with SpaceChain and where the blockchain industry is heading in the foreseeable future.
Could you tell us a bit about your professional background as well as your role with SpaceChain?
Alessandra: I come from an operations background that has seen me specialise in designing and developing decentralised ecosystems for large blockchain projects. My areas of expertise also span from all matters of compliance to establishing strategic directions for clients across the blockchain space.
At SpaceChain, my main role is to make sure that all processes are in place and run smoothly. It is my responsibility to plan all resource allocation and ensure that their distribution allows for maximum efficiency. I am also the go-to person when it comes to business strategy.
On any given day, my role may see me involved in the evaluation of potential business opportunities and collaborations, product launches, commercialisation initiatives, public positioning of the company as well as the sourcing and acquisition of new talent. I also work closely with the R&D, partnership and tech teams to source funding and apply for grants as and when necessary.
You recently conducted an inspiring workshop on how blockchain will be the next big disrupter in outer space. How will the integration of blockchain technology shape the evolution of the industry?
Alessandra: It is evident that the space industry is becoming more and more of a conduit to allow legacy companies such as those in the defense and military spheres as well as publicly funded organisations to evolve into fully commercial enterprises.
Many of these companies are currently going through tough times, feeling the economic impacts of a global pandemic. I strongly believe that innovation is the one factor that can create the bridge for these organisations to get back on track. This is where blockchain technology can play a large role, leveraging space infrastructure to enhance existing terrestrial blockchain networks (for example, by amplifying reach or increasing its resilience).
Blockchain technology can also bolster and strengthen existing space infrastructure by enhancing the opportunities for secure data sharing amongst commercial partners. We will see a rapid shift towards blockchain solutions going far beyond cybersecurity and cryptocurrencies in the near future.
In your opinion, what are the main challenges that the industry is facing, particularly when it comes to its overall governance?
Alessandra: As with any industry that has experienced exponential growth during its (relative) infancy stage, I feel that one factor that the public needs to take into account is the fact that there will always be road bumps along the way. Many blockchain projects may seemingly be running out of steam, but if one were to take a closer look, there is still a lot of growth and innovation taking place behind the scenes. This may not be that obvious to the general public due to the incremental rate of this occurring.
This is one of the main reasons behind a lot of stigma and lack of understanding across the industry. There is mind-blowing work being done by tech experts within the blockchain sphere, and the public needs to remain patient and trust that the sense of community and vision for the sector remains strong and unfazed through the development stage.
The revolution of decentralised governance, which many are awaiting, will undoubtedly happen, but only after the technology itself becomes more resilient. After this, we will see more widespread and universal adoption by the wider business world.
How will SpaceChain’s technology help to mitigate these challenges?
Alessandra: Like everyone else in the blockchain community, we are working towards gaining visibility, trust and acceptance from legacy industry players. When it comes to SpaceChain, our main audience is the aerospace industry, which comes with its own set of challenges. We are essentially the only ones in this area (integrating blockchain in space) so the journey is a bit challenging but not one that we are not fully equipped to scale. This has been demonstrated in our success so far, working together with market leaders such as Nanoracks as well as collaborating in cutting edge research projects with companies like Deimos. A huge milestone for us was when we obtained funding and support from the European Space Agency (ESA).
One of our main objectives is to prove that blockchain applications within the wider aerospace sector can bring benefits to existing players. We have already had three successful launches, released a groundbreaking industry-first OS that allows for multi-tenancy and earned our stripes as a space company with our custom-developed hardware.
The next step will be centered on finding software applications for the industry using blockchain, and I can’t wait to find new ways to bolster and strengthen the entire community through our developments.
What excites you most about the future of the blockchain industry?
Alessandra: As I said earlier, the industry is still at its infancy stage. We are merely warming up and nowhere near experiencing its full potential.
I would like to see examples of decentralised ecosystems running at capacity and economic implementations tested for mainstream adoption. I am extremely thrilled whenever I see tokenised applications starting to develop. An example that comes to mind is the Brave browser and its tokenised rewards system. Even closer to home (although geographical barriers mean little in the industry), we have the ride sharing Tada that rewards drivers and customers with utility tokens.
The potential for such applications are limitless, and it will only be a question of time before widespread adoptions from existing businesses materialise. I am also looking forward to a fast track journey towards national digital currencies, which I hope will eventually succeed at mitigating the risks and impact of global recessions just like Satoshi intended when he conceived Bitcoin.
What do you enjoy most about your role with SpaceChain?
Alessandra: I would have to say that the one thing that makes me love coming to work is my team. They are a bunch of talented and considerate people and I feel extremely fortunate to work with them on a daily basis. Their keen sense of curiosity and reckless ambition are two factors that are so important in the industry we cover and if there is one team that can successfully integrate blockchain technology with the aerospace industry, this is the one.
On another note, the work that we are doing is truly cutting-edge. We explore uncharted territories every day with our tech and this brings up a sense of contentment that is hard to describe. I hope that, as a team, we will be able to leave a mark and build something that will truly advance the New Space Economy.
Finally, I have always been a bit of an AV Geek, from plane spotting to listening to ATC conversations as a hobby. Having the opportunity to make this my full-time job is a dream come true.
You can connect with Alessandra and the rest of our team as well as keep up-to-date with all of SpaceChain’s developments via Twitter and subscribe to our newsletter on our website for our latest news.