Krypto­radio

Connect to the bitcoin network from anywhere – even without the Internet!

View project on GitHub

What is Kryptoradio?

Kryptoradio is a cryptocurrency data transmission system that

  • transmits bitcoin transactions, blocks, and currency exchange data,
  • does all this in real-time,
  • uses terrestrial television (DVB-T) transmitters around the world.
  • Bitcoins in the air, literally speaking.

Any unidirectional digital transmission path with a sufficient error correction is suitable for this project. In addition to DVB-T there are many other possible ways to transmit Bitcoin stream like subcarriers of FM radio transmission, amateur radio, and DAB. We chose DVB-T for our pilot project because of its flexibility and wide support in most parts of the world, shown in blue in the map below (source: Wikipedia).

Why?

The primary motivators are

  • creating unprecedented devices and applications,
  • making the bitcoin network more resistant to attacks,
  • promoting bitcoin as a viable payment platform, and of course
  • because we can!

There has been many attempts to make bitcoin less dependent of the public Internet. For example Bitcoin core developer Greg Maxwell has advocated that. One approach is to use Tor network to hide bitcoin traffic from the public Internet. Unfortunately this does not make bitcoin more accessible to new users. The better approach is to go beyond Internet and use public infrastructure for broadcasting transactions of the bitcoin network.

Alternative blockchain transports are critical to the success and survivability of the Bitcoin system.Bitcoin core developer Greg Maxwell

This scheme makes it easy to construct affordable receivers that do not need mobile data connections in order to follow bitcoin traffic and to react to the received bitcoin payments. This would make it possible to build bitcoin counterpart for cash payment terminals, anything from a cash register to a coin operated self-service laundry. If the receiver application follows only transactions relevant to itself, it will be possible to build it using even an ARM microcontroller.

Also, it allows an alternative way to access the bitcoin network in cases where only a very low speed Internet connection is available. And, for all the tin foil hat wearers out there, this is a way to connect to bitcoin network without a trace! You only need online access when you want to make transactions yourself.

The data stream can contain other information, such as exchange rates between bitcoins and traditional currencies. Also, we are able to carry multiple cryptocurrencies in the stream in addition to Bitcoin.

What happens next?

We have found a partner who is able to cover costs for the pilot stage. The pilot stage will start in 1st of September, 2014 and last for 2 months. The broadcast area covers 95% of Finnish population, approximately 5 million people. More information in the press release.

There is plan to start regular broadcasting soon after the pilot stage. A single month of broadcasting on current distribution area including maintenance costs is about € 2000 per month (VAT included). We are currently looking for partners to that stage.

We have had a quick look at bitcoin crowdfunding. Our first impression is that the available platforms are not very good either technologically or by the number of users. If someone has ideas how to collect funds for this project, please contact us!

How to contribute

In Finland we have this thing called Money Collection Act which means that it is not legal to ask money without compensation. However, in this case the compensation is the radio broadcast.

All funds sent to the project's bitcoin address will be used for covering regular broadcasting costs. If the project gets cancelled, all extra funds will be returned to their sending addresses.

In addition to financial support you are welcome to join the team if you are capable of helping us with the software, to improve web pages, or anything else. Please contact us by e-mail. If you want to use encryption, here's my PGP key.

You are also welcome to join #bitcoinradio IRC channel at FreeNode.

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