Blockstream Team Develops Exciting New Technology: Enables off-line Transactions via Mesh Nodes


Bitcoin has long been seen as the antithesis of control. After all its underlying technology, Blockchain was founded to free people from a rigid banking and governmental structure that crashed and brought many down with it.

And now Bitcoin has taken a step further, developing a Mesh network that will effectively bypass regulated Internet Service Providers.

Mesh Networks

Borne out of necessity, the dev team at Bitcoin Venezuela have completed trials on a tiny mesh node, about the size of an SD card. This has been seen as a major boost to allow crypto access and thus pave the way for wider acceptance.

As the name implies a Mesh network is a network that doesn't have a set topology. It is a mix of different kind of connections that link up. This ordered chaos is a fantastic way of providing a robust and secure connection, particularly in far off areas where connectivity is an issue. This network has gained prominence for its usefulness in scenarios such as natural disasters or excessive government intervention.

This is not the first successful experiment of this type. A few months ago a Bitcoin user from New Zealand had performed off-line transactions. While that effort should be applauded, this work under a deeply stressed economy and a near dictatorial government makes the fete commendable.

Necessity: A Powerful Tool For Change.

Recently the country's number one trading platform, LocalBitcoins went off-line. While disappointed, this did not come as a complete surprise to the people living in Venezuela.

Thus the local Bitcoin community was excited when it was announced that an alternative is being worked on, The Turpial mesh node. This device is independent of any internet or mobile signal requirements. Instead, a simple round battery will suffice to let the user send messages for Bitcoin transactions.

Blockstream CEO, Adam Back, noted that “With a battery, you'll be able to carry your Turpial (smallest #mesh node device). This would let anyone text & transmit #Bitcoin txs even if there is no service (internet, 3G/mobile, SMS, nor calls).”

These messages are then transmitted to the Bitcoin network via an access point called a Harpia device. It is a mesh node which runs a Lightning Network node and connects to a Blockstream Satellite.

Thus the entire dependency on the local infrastructure is negated as data transmitting and receiving to and fro the network can be done with it.

A Brighter Tomorrow

This has given hope to many in the South American nation, though, there is still the final hurdle of financing the endeavor. At the moment the company is looking for about $50,000 so that they can gather resources and finalize the development work, as well as get the device itself market ready.

The team is even offering 3 Turpial nodes for as little as a thousand dollars. This is enough to let a person set up their own network at home.

These are challenging times for the people of Venezuela. However, innovation has a habit of festering in such inhospitable environments. This sort of offline access is good news for the entire industry that would take any options afforded to it, especially if it means wider coverage.

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