Phase 2 of Blockstream’s satellite network coverage has officially been announced with the addition of the Asia-Pacific region to its list of covered regions.
With the expansion of satellite coverage, the blockchain technology company has now made it even easier for Bitcoin users to send transactions from the most remote locations in the world with unparalleled anonymity.
The latest launch comes after a little more than a year since the company launched its first satellite. Initially, coverage was limited to Europe, the Americas and Africa as it aimed to ease the burden of conducting Bitcoin transactions in areas with limited internet access.
Since the launch in August 2017, many third-party developers have consolidated the satellite service’s coverage by linking it to mesh networks to further improve Bitcoin accessibility in growing markets.
Along with the Phase 2 expansion, the head of the Blockstream Satellite project, Chris Cook, also announced that a Blockstream satellite API will be launched in January 2019, allowing users on the Blockstream satellite network to broadcast data on a global scale via the Lightning Network.
The satellite API will allow users to openly broadcast unencrypted data to all satellite receivers in range, or to target specific users by encrypting their data. Thanks to the onion-routed payments of the Lighting Network, users will be able to send messages that are completely private, making it impossible for anyone outside of the communication channel to decipher the contents, the sender or the receiver of the message.
According to Cook, the API will do more than just further the access of Bitcoin transactions in remote areas. Along with secure personal messaging capabilities, the API will allow broadcasts of natural disaster notifications to be sent in real time and to entire regions at the blink of an eye.
How to Use the Blockstream Satellite Service
Anyone wishing to use the Blockstream satellite service will need to hook up a satellite dish (a small TV satellite receiver will do) to computer hardware like Raspberry Pi or a PC using a USB connection. Open-source software like GNU Radio is necessary for managing the connection as well.
The technology will allow Bitcoin users to relay and receive data without having it pass through the hands of ISPs (internet service providers). Furthermore, the data will be completely invisible to anyone outside of the communication network.
The Blockstream satellite service has already displayed commendable uptime, and with the launch of the Asia-Pacific coverage, Blockstream has added several more ground stations to facilitate redundancies that ensure the network is always up and running.
What This Means for Bitcoin Users
Bitcoin users in the Asia-Pacific region—one of the most populous in the world—have reason to celebrate as the introduction of Blockstream satellite coverage promises to increase transaction privacy (made possible by the use of onion routing via the Lightning Network) lower transaction costs and enjoy faster transaction speeds, thanks to a more scalable form of data conveyance.
They will also experience less downtime since the system automatically recovers from outages in user equipment using continuous retransmission of both live and recent data.