While Surloff has spent his entire life in traditional finance, he believes he’s equipped to help blaze a trail in the crypto-regulatory frontier. “The verticals I worked in were essentially startups with each organization”, Surloff told CoinDesk in an email.

Crypto wallet and data provider Blockchain has picked up a veteran in the traditional finance space.

Howard Surloff has joined the crypto firm as the first general counsel to join Blockchain’s executive team. Also on the executive team is the company’s president and chief legal officer, Marco Santori.

Surloff comes with a combined 25 years of executive experience at BlackRock and Goldman Sachs, according to a Blockchain press release.

Surloff had held positions like deputy general counsel and global chief operating officer at BlackRock’s ETF arm, iShares. He also served on several of the firm’s key committees and helped navigate BlackRock through 13 acquisitions.

Before BlackRock, he oversaw the legal strategy and structure of more than 1,000 investment products as managing director and general counsel for Goldman Sachs. These included U.S. mutual funds, hedge funds, private equity funds, derivatives and money market funds, among others.

Blockchain serves individuals and institutions and recently launched a crypto exchange with microsecond trading, called The PIT. The company raised more than $70 million from investors like Lightspeed Venture Partners and Google Ventures. Late last year it hired Springleaf Holding’s Macrina Kgil as chief financial officer.

Surloff said that there is more real-world utility to crypto than being a new investment vehicle:

“Whether it’s a little thing like paying back a friend or transferring money across the world without intermediaries, the applications are massive.”

European Space Agency Awards €60K for Blockchain Satellite Wallet

The European Space Agency (ESA) has awarded a 60,000 euro ($66,400) grant for blockchain startup SpaceChain to commercially develop its satellite-powered, multi-sig wallet.

According to an announcement published on Sept. 18, the new grant comes via ESA’s “kick-start activities” fund. SpaceChain’s project, if successful, also stands poised to secure additional funding in the future from ESA’s Business Applications and Space Solutions.

Multi-sig security in orbit

Since 2017, SpaceChain has been working to build an open-source, blockchain-based satellite network and has already developed its open-source operating system and flight-tested two blockchain nodes in outer space.

The grant will enable the startup to commercially develop its multi-signature satellite wallet. The solution is designed to bolster transaction security by requiring two of three private keys to sign and complete transactions.

One of the three signatures is provided by a satellite-based node – although, in the case of connectivity failure, two ground-based signatures can be used to complete the transaction.

In a statement, SpaceChain co-founder and CEO Zee Zheng underscored the central importance of improving security for decentralized finance solutions, noting that:

“The fintech industry currently suffers from low levels of security in relation to the storage and transmission of digital currency, preventing it from achieving the same level of professionalism and trust as the traditional banking industry.”

SpaceChain will reportedly collaborate with Deimos Space UK, drawing on its expertise in-flight systems, ground segment systems, space situational awareness and satellite navigation.

One giant leap for mankind

In December 2018, blockchain development firm Blockstream expanded its satellite service to broadcast the Bitcoin blockchain to all of Earth’s major landmasses.

The idea of launching Bitcoin relay satellites was pioneered by Bitcoin Jeff Garzik’s BitSat scheme back in 2014, although the project did not eventually reach fruition.

In February 2018, SpaceChain and Qtum had jointly launched their first space-based blockchain node.

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