Bitcoin Testnet Transaction Sent Via Mesh Network
Bitcoin testnet transactions have been sent over a mesh network in recent days using a system created by device maker goTenna and crypto firm Samourai Wallet. The system, once ready, promises to allow users to send bitcoin transactions without having a service connection on their mobile phone.
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A Connection to Bitcoin Without a Connection
goTenna and Samourai Wallet announced the creation of the txTenna app in May of this year as a way to allow people to send bitcoin transactions even when they were disconnected from the internet. It works thanks to the goTenna Mesh, a small radio transmitter and receiver which allows smartphones to communicate with each other directly without third-party mobile networks.
Twitter user SamouraiDev, who works for Samourai Wallet, announced the first successful testnet transaction, which came on September 30th:
— TDevD aka "Crud", [No BC.i][No KYC] (@SamouraiDev) September 30, 2018
Further transactions were also posted:
txTenna tests continue w/@LaurentMT Here is a STONEWALL tx sent via txTenna encoded in Z85 to reduce the number of packets going through the mesh network. https://t.co/Jerevce3Id @goTenna https://t.co/DPGZ7Nv0Pn
— TDevD aka "Crud", [No BC.i][No KYC] (@SamouraiDev) October 1, 2018
What Is a Mesh Network Again?
Mesh networks are a type of computer network where nodes communicate directly with each other, in a peer-to-peer fashion, to send data across the network in the most direct and efficient way. In terms of blockchain applications, the Lightning Network is put forward as an example of a mesh network.
goTenna markets its goTenna Mesh product, which costs $249 USD per pair, as an emergency communication system for when mobile service is down or for those hiking in remote areas or travelling internationally. It was founded by siblings Jorge and Daniela Perdomo after Hurricane Sandy hit the United States in 2012 and left mobile service non-functioning.
In goTenna’s system, people can hook up a goTenna Mesh device to their mobile phone and then connect with other goTenna Mesh users to exchange text messages. The maximum range between goTenna Mesh nodes is around 4 miles/6.4 kilometers.
A More Secure and Anonymous Way to Send Bitcoin?
Users of Samourai Wallet’s mobile wallet, which connects to the open-source txTenna app, will be able to send bitcoin transactions from their mobile phone to other nearby goTenna mesh nodes. The transaction can then be relayed by other nodes in the network until it arrives at a node connected to the internet. At this point, the transaction can be forwarded to the Bitcoin network.
For some in the bitcoin community, mesh networks provide an important way to access the Bitcoin network that is not reliant on the traditional internet and telecommunications infrastructure. The argument goes that this increases censorship resistance and reduces the chances that governments or corporations can interfere with the Bitcoin network.
Connect to Bitcoin Via Satellite, Samourai Wallet Has Privacy Features
Other companies have launched projects along similar lines, such as in 2017 when Blockstream started a service that uses a satellite to transmit information to the Bitcoin network. And the repeal of net neutrality led some to look to mesh networks and public blockchains as a way to guarantee access to the internet.
Samourai Wallet, which is in alpha, is a bitcoin wallet that offers several privacy features which it claims allows users to remain anonymous. These include not reusing addresses, randomizing change outputs, and providing Tor and VPN support. It recently announced the deletion of US dollar balances on the app, saying it wanted to “remove the crutch” of users relying on fiat balances.
What do you think? Are mesh networks important to the development of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies?
Images via goTenna, Pixabay