goTenna and Blockstream Make It Easier to Use Bitcoin Without an Internet Connection

Jun 12, 2019

About goTenna

goTenna is advancing universal access to connectivity by building the world's most intelligent and scalable mobile mesh networks. goTenna is the world's leading mobile mesh networking company, providing off-grid connectivity solutions for smartphones and other devices, as well as augmenting traditional communications networks. This technology enables mobile, long-range connectivity without cell, wifi, or satellite connectivity. goTenna's drive to create resilient connectivity began during Hurricane Sandy in 2012 when approximately a third of cell towers and power stations in affected areas failed. goTenna's products are currently used by over 300 law enforcement, military, and public safety agencies worldwide. goTenna is backed by investors including Founders Fund, Union Square Ventures, Comcast Ventures, Collaborative Fund, and Bloomberg Beta.

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Bitcoin has become more accessible again. GoTenna and Blockstream will work together to enable both sending and receiving Bitcoin transactions without an internet connection. That is how it works.

On Saturday, Blockstream Satellite and goTenna announced that they would be working together at the Magical Crypto Conference in New York. The goal is to make it easier to use Bitcoin if there is no internet connection available for whatever reason. 

Satellites and mesh networks

Blockstream Satellite is a network of satellites that broadcast activity on the Bitcoin network. Simply put, the entire Bitcoin blockchain can be downloaded in this way. The receiver must of course have a satellite receiver and use Blockstream’s software.

goTenna is a startup focused on connecting users without an internet connection: a mesh network. Text messages can be sent via that network, for example. The limitation of this is that users must be close to each other. The maximum action radius is between 1.6 and 6 kilometers. 

Send and receive Bitcoin

Since the end of last year, a goTenna device can connect to a Bitcoin wallet (currently only available for Android devices). This allows Bitcoin to be sent without an internet connection – the only condition is that a user can be reached via the mesh network that does have an internet connection.

In goTenna’s words: “What this means for users is that they can receive blockchain data via a satellite, and can send signed transactions via goTenna’s mesh network. All without internet connection.”

On this card you can see if there are participants registered in your area. If you live in an area with only a handful of users that is a problem, because the existence of a mesh network stands or falls with the participants. And not all goTenna users are on the map. Devices do not register online, the map only shows users who have chosen to register.

To find out if it works in your area, you really have to participate in it yourself.