Blockstream, a blockchain and financial cryptography firm has today launched Blockstream Satellite, a new service that broadcasts real-time Bitcoin blockchain data from a group of communication satellites in space to almost everyone on the planet to increase further participation in Bitcoin.
The service is available across two thirds of the Earth’s landmass, and additional coverage areas will soon come online to reach almost every person on the planet by the end of the year.
Blockstream Satellite is claiming to be the world’s first public satellite service that allows anyone to operate and maintain Bitcoin nodes, without the constraints of traditional network connectivity. It sends blocks in real-time, as well as recirculates older blocks, providing free access to the Bitcoin blockchain for both long-time and new users of the cryptocurrency. It also promises an additional layer of reliability for blockchain data in the event of a network partition.
The Blockstream Satellite network currently consists of three geosynchronous satellites that cover Africa, Europe, South America, and North America. By the end of 2017, the firm promises that additional satellites will be added to the Blockstream Satellite network enabling worldwide coverage and reaching nearly every person on the planet. Blockstream Satellite will help extend Bitcoin everywhere in the world, especially in Africa where there is only bitcoin node.
Blockstream Satellite makes extensive use of open source software. GNU Radio, an open source software development toolkit, enables the cross platform implementation of software-defined radios (SDR). The use of SDRs eliminates the need for specialized hardware, which greatly reduces cost and makes the technology widely available. To further ensure performance and reliability, Blockstream Satellite utilizes the Fast Internet Bitcoin Relay Engine (FIBRE), an open source protocol based on several years of experience operating and studying the Bitcoin Relay Network.