Cypherpunks tapping Bitcoin via ham radio and satellite

posted 11 months ago
An Arizona man has been downloading the latest blocks from the Bitcoin blockchain via satellite. He receives the transmission through a dish he installed. He rebroadcasts them from a radio device perched on his roof. Analog signals—through satellites and land-based radio devices— can help to decentralize Bitcoin. Bitcoin’s celestial coverage comes from Blockstream, a blockchain software company. who rents out satellites to transfer the data. A use case for this is because cryptocurrency exchanges have been hit with so-called partition attacks, where data is surreptitiously delayed or faked, knocking the targeted computers out of sync with the rest of the blockchain network. Those attacks happen over the internet, so having an alternate, analog connection means you’re less likely to be fooled.

Satellites let you receive data without an internet connection, but you can’t use them to send, some use Ham radio to send, and, GoTenna, a startup making communication devices used in natural disasters, thinks it has an answer to the send-and-receive problem of satellites: radio mesh networks. GoTenna started supporting Bitcoin transactions last year, and it recently partnered with Blockstream to let people use GoTenna’s device to rebroadcast the satellite data they receive. GoTenna is exploring how bitcoin could be used to incentivize people to build mesh networks in places with low connectivity. Basically, you’d get paid for forwarding somebody else’s texts.
Tags: bitcoin, news