Bitcoin Company Blockstream Launches Blockchain Satellite

Bitcoin infrastructure firm Blockstream has announced arguably one of the most ambitious blockchain projects to date, with the launch of its subsidiary Blockstream Satellite.

The company, which aims to develop physical infrastructure around distributed ledger technology, plans to use leased satellites to provide access to bitcoin across the globe, including in some of the poorest parts of the world.

The satellite technology allows bitcoin to be beamed into areas of poor connectivity, and the beta mode currently allows users in Europe, Africa, North America and South America to download their own working bitcoin node.

Capable of storing a full record of all bitcoin transactions ever made, the satellite setup could enable bitcoin to reach some as yet untouched markets, an objective that will become even more critical in future if the currency is to reach global critical mass.

Currently, bitcoin depends on an internet connection, effectively cutting off unconnected communities from transacting over the blockchain.

However, with the satellite solution already in advanced stages of testing, Blockstream hopes to have demonstrated an effective solution for countering this problem.

Adam Back, CEO of Blockstream, argues that those in unconnected countries are often most in need of bitcoin, giving even further impetus to the efforts of Blockstream Satellite.

“There is some coincidence between countries with poor internet infrastructure and unstable currencies. The people who are in direct need of bitcoin are those who currently have unstable access to bitcoin. This project will address that problem, and, we hope, will allow many more people to use bitcoin.”

Bitcoin transactions are recorded in a decentralized ledger, allowing for trustless payments, independent of banks and governments. With a market value that cannot be affected by governments or other third parties, many analysts have suggested that digital currencies could help those currently locked in to failing currencies or unstable economies.

While the technology still faces some practical challenges, such as cost limitations for some of the poorest parts of the world, its proof-of-concept is already being hailed as an exciting development for the future of digital currency, and of distributed ledger technology more broadly.