In a major milestone for the crypto industry, BitMex, one of the popular cryptocurrency exchanges has successfully tested a satellite-powered system that enables the running of a Bitcoin (BTC) node without any internet connection.
According to a recent blog post from the exchange, BitMex has successfully installed the Blockstream Bitcoin Satellite system in order to verify Bitcoin’s blockchain using a satellite, rather than being dependant on an internet connection.
The announcement adds that the system was able to provide sufficient bandwidth to “keep the node at Bitcoin’s tip, most of the time.”
The company further explains that while Bitcoin enthusiasts will find setting up and running the system an “enjoyable” experience, the company acknowledges that it is also unlikely to sever its purpose for most average users.
Nevertheless, the announcement continued that is development is a major milestone for the industry:
“However, because this satellite-based system does have the potential to improve the censorship resistance characteristics of the Bitcoin network and defend against some forms of eclipse attacks, its existence is probably a positive development.”
The system will cost $1200 and will be supplied by Blockstream. The package includes a Flat-Panel Antenna and all the necessary cables and accessories needed to run the Bitcoin node.
Users will be required to set-up and calibrate the antenna and connect the system using a laptop running Linux and the custom Blockstream software and a modified version of Bitcoin Core 0.19.1.
“The most challenging part was the alignment of the dish to the geostationary satellite, however, once we worked out how to effectively use the alignment tool (by adjusting the sensitivity), it only took around 15 minutes to align.”
BitMex added that the system worked as required but with a 2-minute delay compared to the internet-based nodes. Despite this, the company adds that they have been running it for just a few days and the conclusions are limited.
Even though the practicality of this system isn’t a thing, it is a step in the right direction. Plus, the system will also aid users in remote locations where internet access is restricted.
“For instance if potential users are in remote locations in jurisdictions with highly restrictive internet censorship. In this scenario, we can see how a potential user could install the satellite system and fully verify incoming payments.”
“This project is therefore commendable, in our view,” BitMex concluded.