Ever worried about how will you be able to transact if your ISP (internet service provider) will try to prevent you from sending a transaction or will just not be able to due to a disaster bringing down the needed infrastructure? Setting up mesh networks, which can self-organize without a centralized control hub, is one much talked about possible solution.
Bitcoin Mesh Network
The developers of the privacy-centric wallet, Samourai, have teamed up with Gotenna, a Brooklyn-based startup that designs technologies for off-grid and decentralized communications. Together the two teams have created a solution for making transactions over mesh networks. The Txtenna app is meant to enable a more resilient, censorship-resistant and decentralized network for when the internet is inaccessible.
A transaction using the app will begin with the user creating a standard offline transaction and signing it using the Samourai Wallet. The wallet then passes the transaction to Txtenna which broadcasts it to nearby mesh nodes via a Gotenna mesh device. Similar devices in the area relay the transaction until an internet connected node receives it and forwards it to the network. Its developers say that the Gotenna mesh is a simple, affordable, secure, and resilient solution, but you will obviously need to have access to one of their physical devices beforehand for this to work.
Off the Grid
“Currently the bitcoin peer-to-peer network relies heavily on ISPs for internet connectivity. A few large corporations run these services, many of which are regional or national monopolies. These companies have a track record of putting commercial interests above net neutrality, as they did in 2007/2008 for example, when Comcast secretly throttled Bittorrent traffic. These systems are centralized, making them fragile during natural and man-made disasters,” explained Richard Myers a decentralized applications engineer at Gotenna.
Mesh networking isn’t the only option the Samourai team is working on to make sure users can transact when the internet is down. Back in January they have revealed a new proprietary app called Pony Direct, a transaction payment method (or to act as a relay) to send bitcoin via short message service (SMS) texts.