In what seems to be a first in crypto space, two bitcoin coders located in different countries have successfully sent a bitcoin lightning payment through radio waves.
Prearranged through Twitter this past weekend, the transaction was sent by the co-founder of bitcoin hardware startup CoinKite, Rodolfo Novak, to developer and Bloomberg columnist Elaine Ou. The fulfilled payment successfully moved real bitcoin from Toronto, Canada, to San Francisco, California.
While radio technology is usually utilized for broadcasting music or talk radio, it can be used for other purposes too. Radio can also be utilized to enhance the resilience of the bitcoin network.
After sending the transaction to Novak, Ou tweeted “Bitcoin is making ham radio cool again!”
Bitcoin FTW pic.twitter.com/ZEEe7K3Q4A
— NVK (@nvk) March 1, 2019
Sending bitcoin over radio is not just fun; it also has an actual use case, according to some researchers.
As a matter of fact, smart contract inventor Nick Szabo is the one who came up with the idea. Szabo and Ou showcased the idea in 2017 at the Scaling Bitcoin conference in San Francisco, stating at the time that it could assist bitcoin to develop resistance to partition attacks researchers say could probably be used to attack the network.
The idea is that, although the internet can possibly be censored, it’s not the sole technology that can be utilized to send information from one country to another, “in case China decides to censor bitcoin via the Great Firewall, or places like North Korea where there is no internet at all,” as Ou stated.
Blockstream, a technology infrastructure startup, authorized satellites that beam bitcoin to users globally for similar reasons. Still, the concept has some limitations.
“It was a fun demo, but obviously unrealistic because we coordinated everything online before sending the radio signals,” Ou said, adding that:
“The equipment is currently the hard part: You need a radio that supports these frequencies. The cheapest way is with a software-defined radio, which is about $200 for something that can transmit low-power signals, or thousands for a high-power transmitter.”