This September, if all goes according to plan, the Bitcoin blockchain — a transaction database shared by all nodes in the Bitcoin protocol — will take to the radio waves in Finland.
The project is called Kryptoradio. It’s the result of a partnership between Koodilehto, a Finnish co-op specializing in open technology development, and another group that was responsible for developing and encouraging the adoption of the alternative digital currency known as FIMKrypto.
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Together they have secured the rights to transmit updates to the Bitcoin blockchain across digital terrestrial television in Finland. To do so, they will use Digita, a Finnish network that provides coverage for approximately five million people — 95 percent of the population, according to their estimates.
The transmissions are scheduled to continue for two months as part of a pilot program, and longer if they can find the funding for it.
In addition to broadcasting transactional data from the Bitcoin blockchain, Kryptoradio plans to provide updates from the major Bitcoin currency exchanges. The service will also transmit updates to the blockchain of the FIMKrypto currency.
Today, the blockchain (which tracks the creation and transfer of all bitcoins) lives primarily on a peer-to-peer network, and in order to access it, you need an Internet connection. But with the recent dramatic increases in Bitcoin’s market value, there has been a push to diversify the way that this information is propagated. Finding new ways to broadcast the blockchain will increase the redundancy of the network, making it more resilient to attacks.
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Jeff Garzik, one of the core Bitcoin developers, is already well on his way to sending Bitcoins to space on a cubesat. (Garzik tells us that the launch contract has been negotiated; it’s likely to be signed next month, and there could be a blockchain in space by August 2015.)
The idea is to use Kryptoradio for new applications that need an easy way to know whether a payment is made. A parking meter, for example, needs only to know whether the payment has been done. It does not need to send anything.