You Can Send Bitcoin Via Radio Without Internet or Satellite
This week, Rodolfo Novak revealed he had sent bitcoin via radio to another address over 350 miles away, without the aid of a satellite or any other sophisticated network. The OG cryptocurrency just got a little more permissionless.
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Bitcoin in the Air
After the initial bitcoin transaction, the small sum has been passed around to several other radio operators and is currently in the possession of podcaster Adam Curry.
Toronto,CAN => Michigan,USA [40W:#SnowStorm]
Bcuz its a brainwallet made ahead of time, with bearer pk I don't require internet to broadcast this transaction at the time i'm sending pic.twitter.com/OzcbMEvYw0
— NVK (@nvk) February 12, 2019
As such, the bitcoin has traveled approximately 1700 miles in 24 hours, no internet involved.
— Adam Curry (@adamcurry) February 13, 2019
The technology these bitcoin enthusiasts are using is called shortwave radio, which uses a group of frequencies that bounce off the upper layers in the atmosphere to travel very long distances using relatively small amounts of power.
The technique can be traced back to amateur radio operators transmitting as far back as 1921 and can be done with a much simpler network infrastructure than is required for traditional bitcoin transactions.
This chain of transactions among shortwave operators in the U.S. represents a proof of concept for sending offline BTC in case of outages or network censorship (e.g. the possibly impending Russian internet blackout).
The current technique has limitations in that it requires a brain wallet and unencrypted communication (due to regulations and bandwidth limitations), but in an emergency it represents a powerful tool to move money where you otherwise wouldn’t be able to.
Why Should I Care?
Well, if you have bitcoin that you can’t use, what’s it worth?
The more tools developed to bootstrap the Bitcoin protocol on top of legacy or non-internet networks, the more options you have if, for example, a disaster destroys all of the cell towers and power substations in your area, or upnp/udp networking gets blocked by your ISP.
The more options you have to transmit your money the more valuable it is, so having established methodologies for sending bitcoin in as many ways as possible are essential to securing your wealth should a systemic threat damage the internet or people’s access to it.
What’s your take? Is this experiment a breakthrough for bitcoin users? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images via Pixabay