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Offline Bitcoin Transactions Being Tested

Rigel Walshe, a developer who lives in New Zealand, put the Samourai Wallet and goTenna partnership to the test by attempting to send bitcoin transactions offline. Bitcoin Magazine details the developers personal trials successfully utilizing radio frequencies to transact.   

With only a $27 dollar basic Android smartphone and four goTennas (used to create radio signals), an offgrid bitcoin transaction was able to take place. As Walshe states in a tweet, “Over the weekend I sent a bitcoin transaction to a relay 12.6km away with no cell network or internet connection. Here’s a tweetstorm about how I used @gotenna and @SamouraiWallet to do it.”

The greatest issue found in his initial trials using radio frequencies to transact was that an internet connection would be required to check the blockchain and see the confirmed transaction. Walshe had to have his girlfriend confirm each test transaction online as he went. Walshe commented that the network would benefit by being able to send an analog message confirming a successful transaction.

Walshe is quoted in the magazine as stating, “If this was being used in a disaster scenario … after Hurricane Katrina, or in a hostile environment such as a prison or warzone, people may not be able to communicate to confirm the payment has actually made it onto the blockchain, as goTenna is a passive receiver system. A confirmation message would help reduce additional risk for those unable to use a solution like the Blockstream satellite for confirmation.”

The ability to decentralized how we access and can interact with a blockchain is an essential next step. One of the biggest fears and criticisms of cryptocurrencies is the prospects of downed internet. While it may be early, using radio frequencies is a viable alternative for facilitating offline peer to peer transactions.