Txtenna-python Blocksat satellite + goTenna Mesh

#1

We just announced an update to the txtenna-python code that lets it work with a completely offline Bitcoin fullnode. For details on how to test this new functionality check-out the updated code and README file.

I also talk about some of the motivation for this kind of satellite/mesh gateway in my article for In The Mesh: “How to mesh the world: GoTenna Mesh + TxTenna + Blockstream Satellites

Blockstream operates a service that broadcasts the Bitcoin blockchain to almost the entire planet, and for free anyone can receive this information from an inexpensive dish that you can put together for around $100 in parts. Blockstream’s blog post about this collaboration includes some links about how to setup a receiver: “goTenna with Blockstream Satellite

Even if you’re not interested in Bitcoin transactions, I can think of some interesting uses for Blockstream’s API data interface. This lets anyone on the internet send data over the Blocksat system to a receiver located anywhere in the world. The goTenna Mesh then lets you rebroadcast that data to a local community mesh network.

This system could be a way to stay connected to the world after a natural disaster. Isolated communities can use it to receive information from friends and family living in more connected places. It could also potentially provide an important source of uncensored information for people living in oppressive regimes.

I’m curious what the wider mesh community thinks about this collaboration. What do you see as other uses beyond Bitcoin transaction broadcasting?

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#2

Richard,
Interesting stuff. What are the possibilities of doing backhaul communications, i.e. uplinking to Blockstream or via another method so the comms go both directions? Even doing this one-way via broadcast is powerful, but just curious about the possibilities that may exist for two-way comms into and out of the mesh.

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#3

It would be pretty easy to add support to the TxTenna protocol to handle sending arbitrary data from the Blocksat via an internet connected mesh gateway. The only complication is that the Blocksat server will reply with an invoice that must be paid using a lightning payment wallet and there isn’t (currently) a way to make lightning payments from an offline mesh connected node.

There are lots of ways we could handle it so that an offline mesh connected phone or computer can pay for Blocksat broadcasts, but figuring out the best way is probably the only tricky part about doing two-way communication via the Blocksat system.

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#4

I have this up and running. Mostly as a proof of concept. Would love to get it to work with my relay mesh on my roof too (solar panel, battery, 30 something inch antenna)…I don’t think the relay mesh responds to my txtenna given the token stuff…

#5

Great! thanks for trying it out. I put in a pull request to optionally use your own SDK Token to the TxTenna App, but it hasn’t been merged yet.

Did you try the beta version of TxTenna App and add your own token?

#6

Yup. You and I have conversed via twitter. Looking forward to where this goes…but being able to relay is the next logical step :slight_smile:

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