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Blockstream’s Expanding Bitcoin Satellite Service

December 18, 2018


Blockstream continues to push the boundaries of how Bitcoin can be used. The company is headed by Adam Black who is one of the most influential individuals involved in the cryptocurrency industry. He was the creator of HashCash back in 1997, which formulated some of the primary programming concepts that allowed for Bitcoin’s creation.


More Than Internet Money

With Blockstream, Adam Black has developed the the most meaningful systems to be integrated into the BTC network - known as the Bitcoin Core network. Unlike many other ICOs in the past few years that have raised upwards of $100 million, Blockstream began with a funding round of $76 million. The most widely known development is the Lightning network, but they also created another payment layer called the Liquid Network and a system of satellites dedicated to Bitcoin network payments.


Blockstream is involved in the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) as well. This group established the standards for the internet. Every major browser such as Google Chrome, Firefox and Microsoft Edge follow their directions. It is possible that the Bitcoin network API could be integrated in a universal way.


Satellite Payments


The service was first offered in August 2017 for only traditional BTC transactions, not those on the Lightning network, and was offered only in Africa, Europe and the Americas. They have now updated the system to allow for lightning network payments, and expanded the regions customers can install the system to the Asia-Pacific region.


Lightning network is an additional layer to Bitcoin that went live in March of this year. The goal is to reduce transaction costs and increase speed, ultimately allowing the Bitcoin network to scale to global use. The layer accomplishes this by allowing nodes to hold some transaction data to the side, rather than being forced to immediately group all transactions into a block. These “side-chains” allow transactions to be settled immediately, before they are actually submitted to the root BTC network ledger. It’s essentially a way of batching transactions more efficiently.


Global Economy Implications


The service involves installing a small satellite dish. Standard TV satellite receivers work to receive the signals - they just need a USB output to a personal computer, or other dedicated computer hardware, such as a Raspberry Pi. The software required to process the services are  free and open-source, such as GNU Radio.


“There are third-party developers that have taken an interest to build local infrastructure using the satellite service, for example connecting it with mesh networks to make bitcoin more accessible in emerging markets.” - CEO Adam Back

The system is a dedicated internet services that operates only for transactions on the Bitcoin network. The implications of this are especially important for countries involved in economic or cultural turmoil. It is part of a greater issue of maintaining individual freedoms such as free speech.



By: BGN Editorial Staff

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