Blockstream Users Now Paying Bitcoin to Send Messages into Space




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For ages, people had been writing a note, throwing it into a bottle, before corking and tossing it to the sea. One day, they know that someone will find their bottle and read the message. Now, the ‘message in a bottle’ technique is still the same, only that the media has changed. These days, you can type the message, pay a few cents in Bitcoin and hit the ‘send’ button.

The message will zip into space. A Blockstream satellite will receive it, then send it back to every corner of the world. Currently, you do not need actual Bitcoin to send the message. Instead, you can get a free hot wallet here. The wallet sends and receives testnet bitcoins (tBTC) on the Lightning Network.

Diary Entries, Love Letters and Poems

The messages sent so far make for an interesting read. Samples shared by Twitter user Grubles show journal entries, a ‘Love You’ message, poems and a tribute to Pepe the frog. According to the Blockstream website, there is an influx of messages. According to site statistics, more people will participate in the future.

Messaging is not limited to text. Some people are sending files via the testnet. You can also broadcast the message to all users, or a specific group. Most of the letters are from anonymous people.

How it Works

To send a message to space, people use the Spacebit website. It is a simple web form that lets you type a message before it calculates how much it would cost to send that message in milisatoshis. Before sending the message, the site will invoice you whatever costs the message will rack up. Next, you pay the invoice using the HTLC wallet. Voila! Your message then zooms out of the earth, to space.

Why It’s a Big Deal

Sending signals to satellites has always been notoriously expensive. However, once the signal hits the satellite, it will be very easy to send it back to most of the earth’s surface. Blockstream aims to provide bitcoin access to people from all over the world. People who live in remote places with limited network coverage would benefit from this initiative.

Currently, the satellites cover two-thirds of the world. According to a blog post by Chris Cook, the head of Blockstream Satellite, the coverage would provide:

…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.

If you could, what message would you send to space? 🙂

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