In a recent experiment, it was possible to send Bitcoin (BTC) using high-frequency radio and through a snowstorm. Due to fears of government interference and surveillance, developers have been trying to send Bitcoin internationally without using the internet or satellite. The information was released on Twitter by the hardware and software creator Rodolfo Novak.
Bitcoin Sent Through High-Frequency Radio
There have been several tests to transfer Bitcoin without using internet. For example, it was possible to do it via mesh networks and satellite. This is quite important since it would allow individuals to be connected to the Bitcoin network even if there is a country that turns the internet off.
Toronto,CAN => Michigan,USA [40W:#SnowStorm]
Bcuz its a brainwallet made ahead of time, with bearer pk I don't require internet to broadcast this transaction at the time i'm sending pic.twitter.com/OzcbMEvYw0
— NVK (@nvk) February 12, 2019
This experiment started when Novak asked who would like to receive Bitcoin using WSPR/FT8 (amateur radio). A suitable candidate answered the comment using a SDR and an antenna. Using the application called JS8Call, Novak sent a bitcoin transaction from Toronto, Canada to Michigan, in the United States.
The computer scientist and cryptographer Nick Szabo seemed very excited about it. He wrote on Twitter that Bitcoin was sent over national borders without internet or satellite, but just using nature’s ionosphere.
Bitcoin sent over national border without internet or satellite — just nature's ionosphere. https://t.co/IKCAXGs9fW
— Nick Szabo 🔑 (@NickSzabo4) February 12, 2019
Although there are some security issues related to a poorly constructed brain-wallet, this is a great way to send cross-border Bitcoin transactions offline. Brain wallets are cryptocurrency wallets that allow users to receive virtual currencies but storing the seed phrase just in users’ heads.
There are several countries that are opposed to virtual currencies, including Bitcoin. Two of these countries are Venezuela and China. Using high-frequency (HF/HAM) radio is a novelty in the space. Although we might never use these methods for transacting virtual currencies, it is very positive to know that they work. In the future, some users or individuals in some countries could have to use this method to remain connected.
According to some reports, the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, ordered the country to unplug itself from the internet. The intention is to check how their economy is able to survive without being connected to the internet. This is a clear example of what countries can do with their connection to the cyberspace.
In case there is a war, Russia and countries should be prepared to be disconnected from the internet. Thus, Bitcoin would have to find new ways to be transacted.
Another way to send Bitcoin without an internet connection or cellular network is through a TxTenna device. Although the transaction does not work entirely offline it offers a secure way to send Bitcoin offline. Users have to rely on the goTenna mesh network and the Samourai Wallet. Mesh nodes receive the transaction until a TxTenna internet connection is found. This is when the transaction is sent to the Bitcoin network.