goTenna Mesh and Blockchain: Potential Applications and Integrations


@Turnerb points out two downsides to bidirectional payment channels and I’d be interested to hear what people think the alternative is to anchoring value ahead of time.

The only alternative to anchoring value on a global blockchain I can think of would be some sort of reciprocity metric, but that assumes you will talk to the same nodes repeatedly, and that misbehaving nodes can’t create unlimited new identities.

Does anyone know of any analysis of reciprocity systems with regard to bittorrent seeding?

So here’s why I don’t think these problems with payment channels will be a problem:

  • Upfront funding - you would only need to fund anchor transactions with a few gateways. Because the gateways would all be connected via the internet your value could be used as long as you could reach any gateway.

  • Funds locked in limbo - because each payment is extremely small, it depends on how frequently a node along the payment circuit fails to respond. If you lose a few satoshi a day, which you can reclaim in a week, then it’s not a big deal. What’s important is that nodes can not game the system by being uncooperative.

Why do you think the data rate might need to increase? Is it because the protocol overhead will make increased throughput necessary? We don’t have any real good numbers for that, but it is certainly something we’ll need to model.


Its just a hunch, I just dont see anything blockchain related yet that does not require something greater than the 115 Kbaud (I think I am remembering this correctly from another thread) that goTenna is currently capable of. And I think that if you had a whole bunch of goTenna in the same area all trying to do the theoretical limit you actually get less?

These are all really theoretical’s until someone tries it out in a congested area.


I’ve been super busy the last few weeks, trying to catch up on everything. I think it’s gotten to the point where I don’t intuitively understand all the discussion haha.

From what I read, I think that @rmyers protocol should work pretty well.


A few useful links for anyone who wants to try and wrap their head around how bitcoin bi-directional payment channels work, as used for the Lightning network:

And an interesting proposal for bitcoin p2pool mining that could have implications for mesh incentivization also:


For a really high level description of how bitcoin bi-directional payment channels work (ie. the key ingredient for the Lightning network), I can recommend the video: Lightning Network Part 1: The Bidirectional Channel | How does it work?.

They main advantage of this kind of protocol is that is it allows two people (or devices) to safely pay each other without a connection to the internet/blockchain. In this video example, the nodes would at most need to access the blockchain once a week (1000 blocks after a unilateral close of the channel) - but that can be set to whatever value makes the most sense.

My back-of-the-napkin computation is that a channel update (ie. payment) at minimum requires each side to send the other side around 100 bytes: 72 bytes for a signature and 32 bytes for a private key. Most of the other information in each sides transaction don’t need to be passed around because they are known by both sides.

I’m making a few other assumptions on how the communication can be optimized, but as a working number do you think something on the order of 250 bytes per payment is an excessive use of radio bandwidth?

I thought I read somewhere that the goTenna mesh units communicate at 1920 bytes/second (19200 baud). So we’re looking at less than a second to finalize a payment between nodes that are three hops away from each other.

If there’s a communication breakdown, as long as you can finalize the channel with the other party within a week you still don’t need to communicate with the blockchain. Otherwise the worst the other side can do is revert the channel to the previous state - but at the risk of losing their entire balance if they are discovered.


This Tezos stuff is kinda crazy… thoughts from you all?


I suspect most if not all of the ICOs will fail after having delivered nothing but elaborate white papers and out sized drama instead of returns.

That said… I am super excited about some of the ideas in this whitepaper from the Orchid project :slight_smile:

In particular the idea of payment channels for micro payments that do not require locking up value with every other node in advance. Their probabilistic model is inspired by this approach:

Another interesting project called Algorand that uses a probabilistic approach to confirming transactions on a blockchain:


More background incase you can’t get past the WSJ paywall:



Am I missing something? Why are they doing this on HF? Also why did they build this instead of using what’s available?



If any developer here is interested in building a bitcoin application, I have an idea and would love to discuss it with someone. Please DM me.


I emailed N-O-D-E about GoTenna a while ago, and he wrote this: It’s a really good read. There’s a video that goes along with it.


NODE says the GoTenna is the wrong way to go about this, but then goes to describe the GoTenna Mesh as what you should build. I will research the LoRa chips to see if his points are valid. That would be the only difference. If you can interface with the GoTenna Mesh over USB all his points are moot, you could hook anything that has USB up to the GoTenna.


Our usb SDK will be out next year. LoRA chips are no good for lots of reasons, in our opinion. There’s a reason we built the protocol ourselves :wink: Plus we can modulate the data rate and frequencies all we like so much more modular


As long as it’s on it’s way… There’s plenty that be done in the meantime!

So I visited a LoRa website and when I saw hundreds of corporate logos I knew I wasn’t going to get anywhere fast. Was never questioning your decisions, just trying to figure out what NODE was talking about.


You should definitely question our decisions :slight_smile: We learn a lot & improve everything we do at goTenna that way!!


Hello, new to the forums, but thought I’d offer some analysis of GoTenna and blockchain. Seems like a great community.

A lot of the material may be already known here but I thought I’d consolidate thoughts all into one place. I had lots of links in here but new users only allowed 2.

Blockchain is fascinating technology and offers the potential to disrupt not only technology but every aspect of culture as well.

TLDR: GoTenna is ready and should take the project out of incubation mode and start moving full steam ahead into realization.

Project Success Factors

  1. Whitepaper
  2. Team strength
  3. Community Presence
  4. Marketing
  5. Token Justification
  6. Incentives
  7. Use case and market sizing
  8. Adoption
  9. Development activity and Roadmap
  10. Competitive advantages
  11. Challenges

0. Whitepaper

  • The whitepaper is the foundation for everything. This document establishes the vision, lays the groundwork, sells the implementation, incentives the community, and establishes credibility.

  • The entirety of a whitepaper does not have to focus on complex, technical discussions. Often times, the paper can have an attractive presentation and easy to understand language. Power Ledger has an excellent Whitepaper here:

1. Team Strength

Once the whitepaper is established, the team is usually the best indicator of how successful a project is perceived to be.

  • A good team publishes their LinkedIn profiles to the public, with their pictures prominently displayed under the team section on their website
  • A good team is not just technical, it needs a solid mix of
    • entrepreneurial leadership
    • technology leadership
    • blockchain development
    • community spokesperson
    • business operations
    • technical operations
    • marketing
    • legal/regulatory
    • An academic credentialed member is always good to have as well

ixec.rlc has a great example of a team listing —> Go to web address “ixec dot ec” and the “about us” section

  • A good team is able to build relationships with other blockchain projects, mainstream technology companies, or government regulators

  • A successful team has already been active in the community, or is establishing a presence in it.

    • Daniela and J have been giving presentations at conferences and on YouTube

Strong list of advisors

  • Advisors often have previous success with other blockchain projects, lend their name and credibility to the team, or can help them form connections
    -OmiseGo has “dream team” of advisors —> “omisego dot network”

2. Community Presence

  • Community involvement is HUGE due to decentralized culture of the blockchain universe. As the community wants to share in the rewards of the project, they feel more confident when they are being provided a steady stream of development and marketing updates. They prefer a forum where they can ask questions to a project representative. They prefer decision makers make a minimum amount of backtracking.

  • Crypto investors often have a dualistic nature. While they shun the traditional institutions like banks and fiat money, they will often appreciate the legitimacy and double digit price boosts these organizations (like IBM) can bring to a project.

  • Top sites for community discussion are:

    • Reddit
    • YouTube
    • bitcointalk
    • Slack (once considered the “gold standard,” but many teams have moved off of it due to phishing scams)
    • Rocket Chat
    • Telegram
    • Blockchain conferences
    • Developer conferences (devcon3)
    • Hosted collaborations (video streamed or recorded) with other crypto projects
    • Medium blogs
    • Github progress visibility and documentation
    • Local Meetup groups (Berlin, London, NYC, Los Angeles)
    • Traditional social media outlets like : Twitter, Facebook, Instagram
    • Traditional media outlets such as: Forbes, CNBC, local news and newspapers

3. Marketing

  • Marketing is obviously key, as any endeavor. Many projects have raised staggering amounts of capital based on a whitepaper, with no working product, and a small team, simply based on the power of marketing and connections.

  • The community outreach mentioned is a very successful marketing strategy for seeding enthusiasm. When the community feels engaged, excited about new technology, and the prospect of sharing in the new technology’s profits, they will often generate the needed messages and hype to bring awareness.

  • Other projects with great ideas, and strong technical teams, have often fallen short, due to lack of awareness.

  • Branding is also a critical aspect, projects like Lisk been able to raise the value of their tokens through the anticipation of rebranding.

  • Be able to sell the idea in 30 seconds, and provide a slogan that sells itself. Crypto projects can be very difficult to relate to main street, and even seasoned technologists.


These are the key points to presenting a polished image, and should be considered mandatory. The analogy is like wearing a suit to an interview.

  • Strong website (district0x example) website: “district0x dot io”
  • Strong whitepaper (The Power Ledger paper is a great example)

4. Token Justification

Clearly explain not only why the token is needed, but why it can’t be replaced with an existing token like Ethereum or Bitcoin

This is one of the first questions any prospective investor will ask

  • Some good justifications are value discovery and incentives, or special functionality that is needed by the network’s protocols

Value discovery
“I need GOTNA tokens to adequately price out my network since ETH tokens are influenced by multiple other projects and don’t reflect the value of my network.”

“I want to invest in Disney but I don’t want to do it through an index fund. I buy Disney directly.”

“I need tokens to incentivize investors to help build out the infrastructure and increase network presence.”

5. Incentives

  • Incentives are critical to the decentralized application culture. Users are now considered owners. They are profiting as the project grows, and less of the profits are going towards a centralized authority.

  • Incentives also serve to align user interests with those of the blockchain’s founders and/or governance organization (DAO)

  • Rootproject is an example of creating wealth and also helping the underprivileged, where making money is not considered a necessary evil but encouraged to lift all boats. Website: “rootproject dot io”


  • Bounties are AWESOME, and a perfect fit for crypto projects. They reward the community for their efforts, and the community feels more aligned with the project’s goals.

  • Bounties are rewards paid out in USD fiat or in tokens. Long established in the development world, especially in the realm of security, they have been warmly adopted by the blockchain community.

website: “bounty0x dot io”

  • GoTenna already has many user contributions established, from devices operating in permanent relay mode, to the MOAN project, for example.

  • Some bounties the project can offer, to further its development

    • Hardware development
    • Extend range
    • Extend battery life
    • Extend durability
    • Add additional features
    • Solar panel integration
    • Software development - Sia is a great example of a project that uses bounties to extend code base and functionality
      website “sia dot tech”
    • Integrations with existing technology or other blockchain projects
    • Marketing
      • Blogs, spreading announcements, referrals
    • Translating the whitepaper or other marketing materials in local language (French, Chinese, Arabic).


  • Masternodes serve to validate transactions and provide infrastructure for the entire network

  • Nodes become quite lucrative for node owners as they are paid % of awards, typically from fees collected from token exchanges
    Dash, Zencash are two projects using masternodes

  • These can be especially beneficial for projects that need to build out distributed server infrastructure

  • One item to keep in mind is to make sure the rest of the community isn’t resenting the node owners when cost of a node becomes too high or the node owners are taking an unfair share

Capital structure

Many times, a precentage of tokens are often reserved, not only to fund the core team, but to also keep the project moving forward, and to reward the community.

Some examples of tokens that get earmarked:

  • Core development fund
  • Marketing fund
  • Bounties
  • Miners
  • Secure nodes

6. Use case and market sizing

The use cases for GoTenna are endless.

Yearly telecom and IT spending measure in the trillions

Mentor Model: Web 1.0 - Cisco systems - 1990s

  1. Infrastructure for web 4.0. Other blockchain projects are building out CPU, storage, token frameworks, payment services, exchanges, and decentralized app frameworks. However, ALL of these services require network connectivity. The network sits in the middle of EVERYTHING, so has a much larger footprint.

All of the projects use highways to connect users and resources together. The network IS the highway.

  1. Internet of Things devices need connectivity to feed back massive amounts of sensor data. Think about how the iPhone changed the game by making compute resources accessible virtually anywhere a network connection was avaiable. Now think about the next level where the network itself becomes more available.

  2. Underserviced markets. Hikers have terrain and distance limitations. Special events often have elastic characteristics, where the demand for services swells, overwhelming local equipment, which itself is either remote and/or designed to handle a small scale. The small footprint of the GoTenna provides flexibility as it can easily be relocated without massive infrastructure investment, and scaled up in smaller increments. A solar panel powered GoTenna makes connectivity available virtually anywhere.

  3. Underprivileged markets. Disaster recovery (hurricanes) has already been well established by GoTenna and stress tested and scaled up in multiple use cases. Other economically challenged areas may not be getting plugged in, due to lack of incentives to corporations (profit motive) or government bodies (low tax base).

  4. Resilient networks. Even in non-disaster situations, centralized equipment will often fail, causing bottlenecks and large outages. Mesh grids, due to their massive redundancy, have the ability to withstand single points of failure.

  5. Privacy-conscious consumers. ISPs are now selling consumer web usage history to advertisers for high fees. Not only are consumers’ privacy expectations being not being met, they do not share in the profit of their own personal data.

  6. Oligopoly. The possibility is for centralized service providers to favor rates or filter content and steer consumers toward their services, limiting their freedom of choice and stifling competition, leading to situations with only a handful of gatekeepers. Mesh networks could serve as counter to these gatekeepers by keeping toll roads off of the internet. This is a controversial topic, however, and needs to be carefully worded so as not to anger traditional providers by being a competitive threat. A good model to follow here would be Netflix, which was able to scale up without “getting in trouble.”

  7. Massive cost restructuring and savings. A grid network has the potential to disrupt current providers. Ideally, consumers would only need to pay for the capital costs of the mesh devices and any electricity to power them.

Compare the value proposition of an $80 GoTenna + electricity, vs. $1200 yearly internet service. A mesh network has the potential to disrupt network services and bring down pricing the same way a $10 a month Netflix disrupted content delivery.

7. Adoption

Any crypto project that brings a working product to the table, is already miles ahead of the game. Most projects need the funding from an ICO in order to use the tokens to incentivize users, in order to establish a network effect. Most crypto projects require a large user base to offer services to their users.

GoTenna already has a working product, with thousands of users, and proved its core mission to deliver services in disaster prone areas.

8. Development Activity and Roadmap

  • The community will often measure the project developers by the amount of activity on Github. Along with business roadmap milestones, successful teams also publish development milestones periodically to show their investors they are moving forward.

  • A solid, public roadmap, with a history of achieving milestones will mark a successful project.

  • Misses are okay as long as the problems are communicated clearly and transparently to the community.

Partnerships and Integrations

  • Integrations with other projects are huge and can build the use case and excitement behind the project.

  • One possible integration with GoTenna would be a VPN, for encrypted traffic. Mysterium is an example of a decentralized VPN project.

  • Golem and Sia are two good projects that have forged partnerships and integrations to extend functionality and keep users invested into the projects.

9. Competitive Advantages

Although there are several competitors in this space, GoTenna stands out as the leader in mesh networking.

  • Already secured funding
  • Working, adopted product
  • Large, enthusiastic user community
  • Regulatory issues already known and compliant

10. Challenges

  • Make sure to get the token on a major exchange as soon as possible. Projects often languish underfunded by being stuck on low capitalized exchanges.
    • Bittrex, Kraken, Poloniex, Bitfinex, Bithumb, Bitstamp, Gemini, Binance are some big names
  • How to bridge less dense areas to connect them to the main network
    • Other projects are talking about launching cube satellites
    • I believe the team mentioned balloons (already used by Google Loon)
  • Traditional providers have large legislative influence at both local and national levels along with legal teams that can “defend” their markets:
    • Example 1: Google Fiber vs. ATT and cable ISPs. Local regulatory laws are often influenced by the entrenched providers, who can put up barriers to entry and delay market penetration.
    • Example 2: Music industry vs. digital downloads. Apple eventually solved the puzzle and built the most profitable technology company today.
    • Blockchain culture believes these challenges can be overcome since the decentralized nature of the projects allow for projects to survive even if the original founders are no longer actively supporting the project
  • How to scale up the devices to support graphics, streaming video, Voice over IP, and gaming-level speeds


Thanks @Dizzy for the enthusiastic support for an incentive layer to support the goTenna mesh. I’ve been working with @arcalinea for the last few weeks to try and nail down the best technical approach.

At a high level, it should look something like this:

  • a message sender, node A, pays an adjacent node B 100 units of value, to relay a message of ‘n’ bytes
  • the payment has a condition that it is only valid if node E receives the message
  • node B pays the next node along the path, node C, 98 units of value to relay the message
  • this payment also has a condition that it is only valid if node E receives the message
    (node B can not lose any money because their payment to C is only valid if node A’s to them is valid)
  • node C pays node D 96 units in the same way
  • node D negotiates to pay node E 92 units for proof of delivery
  • when node E reveals the proof of delivery, then all of the payments become valid and the message is confirmed as delivered

The challenges are:

  • minimize the amount of data needed for the payment transaction messages relative to the payload data sent (low overhead)
  • guarantee that payment accounts have enough balance for the payment and are not double spent (anchored value)
  • guarantee that the receiver reveals the proof of delivery in exchange for the message (delivery proof)

We believe we have reasonable solutions for these problems, but are still working on the details. Some of the technologies we’re looking at to are:

  • Low Overhead: payment channels, probabilistic payments, bundled transactions
  • Anchored Value: identity bonds, 2 of 2 multisig accounts
  • Delivery Proof: atomic transactions, commitment schemes

We will likely need a new token because current blockchains are not optimized for the low bandwidth protocols we are considering. For example, the Bitcoin Lightning protocol assumes high-bandwidth communication between nodes and multiple round-trips of messages. We would want channel updates to be a native operation of the blockchain to reduce protocol overhead.

That said, I think it’s a bit early to think about the monitization aspects until we have a good technical foundation. My personal preference would be a custom side chain anchored to bitcoin. This would make the most sense to imbue the tokens with secure redeemable value and to start with a fair distribution model.


While I’m a fan of blockchain technology, I’m not sure how appropriate it is to apply it to something that’s currently so segmented and low bandwidth such as GoTenna, especially when it will be for monetizing the transmission of messages. I feel that takes away from the spirit of GoTenna and of radio in general.

With that said, the infrastructure I’m planning on installing is to enable Mesh communications in my area of travel. It makes no difference to me cost-wise or otherwise if other GoTenna owners relay messages through them. I wouldn’t want to charge others to relay messages through my nodes because I don’t want to pay others for the same. If I’m going to have to pay per message, then there’s little incentive to use GoTenna over something that’s free like iMessage.


One idea could be to preserve the existing free mesh infrastructure that’s being used for emergency situations, elastic events (music festivals), and remote wilderness areas (point to point).

On top of that, you’d build a blockchain-based “pro” infrastructure that is able to handle higher bandwidth and offer an alternative, much lower cost, and much more resilient network that would rival existing ISPs.

The idea would be to offer an incentive for those who are building out infrastructure and provide enough capital to cover geographic gaps where the mesh networks simply can’t cover due to lack of equipment.

Hopefully that would keep both audiences happy.

I think it’s important to respect the efforts and cultures of the original community that helped build out the original vision.