Pay for satellite services with Lightning

After Blockstream made it possible last year to send the bitcoin blockchain through space – without internet – it is now launching new extraterrestrial functionalities.

Second phase

A Satellite API will be launched early next year. This API – application programming interface – makes it possible to send data via the space network. This data can be funded by using Lightning payments.

The API allows users to send data to all satellite receivers, or to a specific user using encryption. In combination with the onion routing mechanism, which Lightning uses, messages can be sent completely privately, where no one can decipher the sender, the recipient or the content of the message.

Chris Cook, head of the satellite project at Blockstream, sees developers finally having the opportunity to use satellites as a communication medium within applications:

“While satellite communications are traditionally cost-prohibitive, Blockstream Satellite will finally allow developers to adopt satellite communications in their applications. The new API will make it possible to send ‘Hello World’ to the world, but we think developers will come up with something a little more adventurous than that. Natural disaster notifications, secure personal messaging, and sending bitcoin market data to remote locations are just some of the exciting examples of the power of this service.”

In addition to the earlier area comprising South America, Europe and Africa, the Asian region is now also covered by the satellite network that Blockstream uses.

Satellite networks are a perfect complement to the various mesh networks that are emerging around the world, enabling Bitcoin transactions without access to the internet.

Even getting started with satellites? The Satellite API documentation can be found on Blockstream’s website.

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