Recent developments involving the Lightning Network (LN) have catapulted the capabilities of the second layer of Bitcoin compared to traditional payment systems. The new integration of LN micro-payments by Blockstream via its satellite network for the dissemination of Bitcoin data, as well as the proliferation by TxTenna of a GoTenna mesh network integrated into Samourai Wallet, constitute significant advances.
It is a way to allow people to send bitcoin transactions even if they are disconnected from the Internet. This works thanks to goTenna Mesh, a small radio transmitter and receiver that will enable smartphones to communicate directly with each other without using third-party mobile networks. The recent integration of LN with mesh radio networks and satellites offers a fascinating combination for unbanked users.
First, remote users – most of them now around the world – can use Blockstream satellites to broadcast Bitcoin transactions, provided they have a basic satellite dish and free software, such as GNU Radio, allowing them to manage the connection. The correlated effect of mining on this sector is the possibility of building solar parks in the desert, entirely powered by renewable energies. The platforms can receive rewards without an internet connection and only based on a satellite connection.
Second, users can broadcast Bitcoin transactions received via satellite to remote regions such as jungles using mesh networks. The initial transaction can be sent or received by satellite, then announced to other remote users. They do not have a satellite connection via a low signal radio frequency, among which many simple devices are available. The consequences of the combination of satellite and radio waves for broadcasting transactions in isolated regions of the world cannot be underestimated.
Traditional payment systems rely on the Internet and depend on closed source code, which is not the case with Bitcoin. One thing is sure, this is only the beginning of the integration of mesh with Bitcoin, and several other innovations will undoubtedly see the light of day.