According to a report out of Blocktempo, Cypherpunks Taiwan has successfully erected another Bitcoin satellite receiver. The island nation is apparently only the second country in Asia to do so after Japan pipped it to the post last year.
This setup takes advantage of the controversial Blockstream satellite project that CCN.com previously reported on. Even though China dominates in the Bitcoin mining arena it has a zero-tolerance policy towards the erection of such devices.
And as Andreas Antonopolous clearly explains, this is exactly the scenario in which they may become useful. China is well known for its towering censorship laws and is likely why these reports are first appearing from more progressive cryptocurrency nations like Taiwan.
Setting Up the Bitcoin Satellite Receiver
Setting up the receiver is not as expensive as you might think. This particular installation cost 13,000 Taiwanese dollars (~$418) and required specific components outlined by Blockstream. Cypherpunk Taiwan’s Github page provides a more detailed breakdown of the process.
Running a Bitcoin node via satellite is reportedly quite a hassle, especially as the blockchain approaches 240GB in size. That said, if you have the will or by necessity, you can tap into the Bitcoin blockchain for free 24 hours a day thanks to coverage from Blockstream’s satellite network.
This established builder provides an in-depth tutorial if you’re looking to go it alone.
Promising But Still Plenty of Hurdles to Overcome
Currently, the installation can only receive messages due to Taiwan’s strict transmission regulations. In the meantime co-sponsor of the Cypherpunk Taiwan project, Chen Bowei, confirmed that they are looking into obtaining a license. He also went on to say that storing blockchain data is only one application of this technology:
Information received by the satellite receiver is not just for trading over the Bitcoin network, but also information from all over the world. For example, the previous Nakamoto Chong Treasure hunt is transmitted via Bitcoin satellite.
Developers are also exploring ways of sending and publishing uncensored news. One developer, known only as SafetyFirst, believes this will provide another medium for reporters in countries with tightly controlled media.
Blockstream’s coverage is excellent in most parts of the world, particularly in Africa where internet infrastructure has not caught up with the West. Provided entrepreneurs have the skills and can get the funds needed, sending Bitcoin through space may become a feasible alternative.