After the bombs have fallen and the dust has settled, Bitcoin could emerge as the currency of the future, as one Bitcoin enthusiast has successfully sent Bitcoin using radio waves. For the longest time, it was debated whether Bitcoin would survive in a world without the internet, and now we finally have an answer – even nuclear missiles can’t destroy Bitcoin.
Known as NVK, the enthusiast used Brainwallet and 7.077Mhz radio to send Bitcoin from Toronto, Canada to Michigan in the US. It’s thought to be the first time Bitcoin has been sent offline without using a second layer scaling solution, giving Bitcoin a shot at being the currency of a post-apocalyptic world.
Second attempt today, through the #SnowStorm.
Sending free #Bitcoin over #JS8Call [7.077Mhz]
To RX you don’t need a Ham license–in most countries. Get your SDR connected to @js8call and a 7Mhz (40m) antenna.
*(for experimental non-commercial purpose)
— NVK (@nvk) 12 February 2019
Not Safe, But Very Practical
Due to amateur radio laws, encrypted transmissions cannot be sent through the airwaves so Brainwallet had to be used for this experiment. As the transaction isn’t encrypted, anyone could intercept the transaction in progress and claim the Bitcoin for their own. While this could prove to be a bit of an issue in a post-apocalyptic world, it’s not something we need to worry about for now.
This method of sending Bitcoin could be applied to any location where internet is not accessible – such as disaster zones or rural Africa. Very low levels of technology are required, and no satellite uplink is required to pull it off – pretty amazing if you ask us!
Blockstream Beaming Bitcoin from Space
If you don’t fancy using a Ham radio, you can now start transacting in Bitcoin using a satellite link. Blockstream has launched a number of satellites that broadcast the entire Bitcoin blockchain and keeps it updated in real time, meaning when the internet goes out, Bitcoin will still work. As long as you have a connection to the Blockstream satellites, your transactions will go through – Visa and Mastercard could learn a thing or two from this.
A Weapon Against Centralized Governments
China holds the power to destroy Bitcoin thanks to controlling so much of the network hash rate. This means the Chinese government could essentially do anything it wants with Bitcoin by delaying or speeding up messages between certain mining pools in the country. In a bid to keep Bitcoin decentralized in such a centralized and closed regime, sending Bitcoin over the radio waves would once again let Bitcoin roam free as a totally decentralized currency – Trump could even get excited about Bitcoin and drop Ripple.
This successful cross-border Bitcoin transaction without the Internet is a massive milestone for Bitcoin, one that will have lasting positive consequences. It’s developers and enthusiasts like this that are giving Bitcoin a future. If you’re thinking about trying this out for yourself, make sure you have all applicable licenses for using amateur radio in your region.