Pro 18

Blockstream Satellite Now Means Most Of The World Can Use Bitcoin Without Internet

Blockchain technology company Blockstream revealed the second phase of its satellite-based Bitcoin communications project Blockstream Satellite this week.

Satellite Coverage Expands To Asia Pacific

Part of a plan to provide free private Bitcoin sending and receiving without the need for an internet connection, the company now provides satellite coverage of the Asia Pacific region, an accompanying blog post confirmed December 17.

Phase one of the project covered North and South America, Europe, and Africa.

A major proponent of Bitcoin’s Lightning Network (LN) implementation, Blockstream also unveiled an API to allow broadcast of data via Blockchain Satellite with fees paid via the protocol.

Developers promised the API would go live for users in January 2019.

“While satellite communications are traditionally cost-prohibitive, Blockstream Satellite will finally allow developers to adopt satellite communications in their applications,” head of Blockstream Satellite Chris Cook commented in the blog post.

…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.

blockstream satellite coverage

Battling Government Internet Control

The Satellite project originally launched in August 2017. It works via a series of Earth-based ground stations linked to the Bitcoin network transmitting blocks to a series of orbiting satellites. The satellites then rebroadcast the data to the coverage area.

At present, users running a node require only a small satellite antenna and USB receiver to keep it in sync with the network without an internet connection.

Asked about the location and “government-resistance” of the Earth-based equipment, CEO Adam Back acknowledged the trade-offs in the current status quo.

“[A]s a geopolitical neutral money Bitcoin needs to work robustly,” he wrote on Twitter.

[F]or today it depends which country, there is some diversity of ownership of the satellites. [B]ut there are 195 countries in the world, some of which have disabled internet & mobile phone service in times of turmoil.

What do you think about Blockstream Satellite? Let us know in the comments below!

Images courtesy of Shutterstock,

Lis 20

Bitcoin Public Full Node Count Surpasses 10,000

New data released by Coin Dance this week shows that the number of bitcoin public nodes made a significant jump. The reported 10,094 public nodes places the total number back over 10,000 for the first time since March.

Hard Core

Around 95 percent of the nodes are running Bitcoin Core, a proportion which has remained steady since early 2018. The Bitcore software follows not-so-closely behind, commanding just 2 percent of the nodes — 198 to Core’s 9648.

global currency

Then there are 56 nodes still running Bitcoin UASF, which was developed to counter miners’ reluctance to adopt SegWit back in August 2017. As Bitcoinist reported last month, many in the industry consider that movement as an emphatic victory for users over corporate interests.

After peaking at 1.35k nodes at the time of the proposed fork, UASF nodes quickly dropped off after the success of their mission. The past year has seen numbers falling more steadily to their current level. The movement and consequent hard fork of BTC 00 and BCH, did however spur an impressive increase in node uptake.

Most software iterations are currently losing nodes to Bitcoin Core. One exception to this trend is Bitcoin Knots, which has seen 10 new nodes in the last week.

Lightning Bolt

Meanwhile Lightning Network continues to go from strength to strength, racking up 4000 nodes earlier this month. This caused the main net capacity to reach an all-time high of 118 BTC.

Why Node?

Any user can set up a bitcoin full node, and there are several reasons why you might want to. Apart from the warm and fuzzy feeling you’ll get from knowing you are helping the bitcoin network, that is.

Running a node gives users increased security and privacy, as there is no need to rely on third party service providers. It also gives users a choice in how the network develops, through the software implementation you decide to run. And it isn’t as difficult or expensive as you may think.

What are your thoughts on the jump in Bitcoin nodes? Let us know in the comments below!

Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

Kvě 29

Bitcoin Cash Still Missing 13% of Its Nodes 2 Weeks After Hard Fork

· May 28, 2018 · 8:00 pm

Two weeks after its hard fork, 13% of Bitcoin Cash nodes are still running old software which is incompatible with the rest of its network, data reveals.

Theories Emerge Over Rogue BCH Nodes

As shown by Coin Dance and uploaded to social media by cryptocurrency commentator Ben Verret Sunday, Bitcoin Cash has so far failed to gain full support for its new fork, which split off from the main chain May 15.

The statistics present fresh controversy around Bitcoin Cash for certain cryptocurrency users, commentators this week also picking up on how Bitcoin (BTC) has outperformed the altcoin for the past week on network cost, and now has lower transaction fees.

When it came into being in August 2017, Bitcoin Cash proponents stated one of its essential features was to provide cheaper transactions than Bitcoin.

Debating with Verret, however, others suggested the 87% incorporated all nodes still being maintained, claiming the nodes not following the majority consensus were de facto dormant.

“If they would have any economic value they would continue mining unforked chain,” one response reads.

A Tellingly Quiet Disagreement?

Meanwhile, a similar report on the lack of consensus in Bitcoin Cash post-fork focused on the lack of publicity it received.

Bitcoin core developer Kalle Alm noted that 16-17% of nodes were not following the new chain May 16, adding “everyone would explode” if a similar phenomenon occurred on the Bitcoin network, whose nodes are running at 100 percent with the consensus rules.

“You can tell BCH is not bitcoin by looking at how not everyone is losing their shit all over the place,” he wrote.

Imagine if 20% of BTC nodes failed consensus? Everyone would explode. And there would be forks as miners are not just one dude running a farm.

BitcoinVPC creator grubles had gone further, describing the hard fork as “an epic screw up for a network marketed as a store of value and a medium of exchange.”

What do you think about Bitcoin Cash nodes’ inability to form consensus? Let us know in the comments section below!

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitter

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Úno 12

Classic Fork Release Launches Consensus Hysteria

Source: bitcoin


We’ve had a few days to see effects of Bitcoin Classic’s late beta release, and they’re surprisingly powerful. In the past week, Coinbase has adopted Classic, and Bitcoin Classic nodes on the network have jumped from around a hundred to 755 active nodes (as of the time of writing) — nearly 13% of the network, and that number is still climbing. This growth brings the total number of nodes supporting a 2MB block size to a little under 18%. Not enough to make 2MB consensus the majority Bitcoin branch, but sizeable nonetheless. What exactly this growth will result in is unclear, but it may lead to Core developers increasing the block size limit if Classic’s growth continues this trend, as all other implementations have support for it already, with varying size limits.

Also Read: Valve is Bringing Bitcoin to over 125 Million Users Worldwide

Classic Succeeding Where XT Failed

For those following Bitcoin’s development politics, this may seem like a repeat of Bitcoin XT’s rise and fall. The difference here, however, is Bitcoin Classic is showing slower, sustainable growth, and only implementing 2MB as opposed to 8 right off the bat – making the transition more palatable to people on the fence.

In addition, the network is more saturated than it was during XT’s fork, meaning people, as well as their hardware, may be more ‘ready’ for an increase in block size. Supporters of  2MB Blocks contend that they make Bitcoin more viable as a mainstream currency and form of electronic payment. Those against Classic feel that it centralizes the specification too much, which is dangerous for any cryptocurrency’s longevity.

Whether 2MB nodes take the majority or not, though, I contend the result will be good for bitcoin as a whole.

There has been a lot of misinformation spread concerning bitcoin hard forks. People attribute more power and political intent to the developers of each implementation than is likely accurate, in much the same way they do certain government figures. There’s also a lot of doomsday talk circulating about what a minority branch could potentially do to the Bitcoin ecosystem, too. Talk of the death of Bitcoin is yet again filtering into the mainstream media as lack of unity among the implementations and tension between the development teams increases. Thing is, we’ve seen this type of fork before, (XT anyone?), and there’s been no catastrophic losses of BTC, no network collapse, and no overwhelming decrease in Bitcoin’s value.

Understanding Minority Branches

Heatmap of full Bitcoin nodes

The reason for all this panic is a fundamental misunderstanding of how a hard fork and minority consensus rules work. Any unspent BTC are valid on both  new blockchains if there is a split in consensus, and unless the minority chain miraculously increases its usage to match or surpass the majority, it will quickly be rendered worthless, and people will take their transactions back to the main chain.

The only way this scenario becomes a problem is if there are very similar adoption rates in both consensus rulesets. The split becomes prolonged indefinitely, incentivising hoarding of bitcoin on the older blocks as people hedge against the failure of one or the other. This  extreme scenario plays out similarly to a smaller minority in the end, though. No matter the outcome of the split, you still have your bitcoin as long as you own the private keys to your wallet.

There are two ways the increase in Bitcoin Classic adoption will probably play out. They fail as a minority branch in the way described above, or 2MB nodes gain enough traction in the network pressure Core into changing its consensus rules to account for 2MB blocks, avoiding the described ‘dead heat’ scenario. This process is ultimately democratic, as anyone can run any node implementation they want if they have a PC and an internet connection, so the consensus that gains majority is ultimately supported by the majority of the Bitcoin community (at least those running full nodes.)

If the block size increase doesn’t take, the community ultimately isn’t ready for one. If it does, great. Either way, developers and users alike are more informed on what Bitcoin needs going forward.

The message here is that hard forks and development dissonance are a democratic forum, where the implementation that best fits the interests of the Bitcoin community can exact change or become the de-facto standard, for a time. They aren’t a cataclysmic event, or even bad for Bitcoin. Those that promote this wrong-headed way of thinking about hard forks are misinforming the Bitcoin community, intentionally or otherwise.

No matter what side of the argument you support, and no matter the result fo the hard fork, Know that your Bitcoins will be okay, and Having multiple implementations and sidechains is great for the health and competitiveness of Bitcoin in the long term.

What are your feelings on the panic and misinformation following Bitcoin Classic’s release? Please let us know in the comments!

Images courtesy of NodeCounter,

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Classic Fork Release Launches Consensus Hysteria