San Francisco based blockchain and financial cryptography specialist Blockstream has just announced the availability of Blockstream Satellite, a new service that broadcasts real-time Bitcoin blockchain data from space.
According to the company, 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.
“Bitcoin is a powerful and transformative internet native digital money that has blazed a trail of disruption, with its full potential yet to unfold. Because it’s permissionless, Bitcoin enables anyone to freely create new financial applications and other innovations that use the blockchain that haven’t been possible before,” said Dr. Adam Back, co-founder and CEO of Blockstream. “Today’s launch of Blockstream Satellite gives even more people on the planet the choice to participate in Bitcoin. With more users accessing the Bitcoin blockchain with the free broadcast from Blockstream Satellite, we expect the global reach to drive more adoption and use cases for Bitcoin, while strengthening the overall robustness of the network.”
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Blockstream Satellite is the world’s first public satellite service that allows anyone to operate and maintain Bitcoin nodes, without the constraints of traditional network connectivity. Blockstream Satellite sends blocks in real-time, as well as recirculating older blocks and providing free access to the Bitcoin blockchain for both long-time and new users of the cryptocurrency. In addition, Blockstream Satellite provides 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 at various positions over Earth that cover four continents — Africa, Europe, South America, and North America. By the end of 2017, additional satellites will be added to the Blockstream Satellite network enabling worldwide coverage and reaching nearly every person on the planet. Ground stations, called teleports, uplink the public Bitcoin blockchain data to the satellites in the network, which then broadcast the data to large areas across the globe. Additional teleports are being built out in phases to enable worldwide coverage.
Blockstream Satellite will extend Bitcoin everywhere in the world, including to countries across Asia, South America, and Africa where the number of nodes today is small. “When I first heard of Blockstream Satellite, I immediately recognized its great potential to bring Bitcoin to regions of the world where internet access is either unavailable or expensive. Not to mention providing redundant access when Internet access is temporarily unavailable,” said Tim Akinbo, who runs the only Bitcoin node in West Africa.