Protecting Bitcoin wiith Low Frequency Radio
At a presentation at the Scaling Bitcoin 2017 conference this past weekend, Elaine Ou of Stanford University and Nick Szabo, a computer scientist, presented a project they are working on which tests the use of weak signal radio propagation in securing consensus proofs.
The technique is intended to bypass efforts by outside entities, such as governments, to block the digital signals needed to complete bitcoin transations.
From Bitcoin News
This past weekend at the Scaling Bitcoin 2017 conference at Stanford University, two individuals discussed a new method of providing the Bitcoin network with more censorship resistance by utilizing weak signal radio communications. Stanford University’s Elaine Ou, and the computer scientist, Nick Szabo, introduced a project they are testing which secures consensus proofs with weak signal radio propagation.
Tethering Bitcoin to Weak Signal Radio for Network Resilience
Bitcoin is a fascinating network of verification nodes all working together to secure the blockchain, and its tethered sets of consensus proofs. At the moment, the network is pretty secure, but there are concerns it can be attacked in the future or blocked by things like firewalls, ISP gateways, governments, and telecommunication monopolies. During the scaling conference this past weekend, researchers Nick Szabo and Elaine Ou explain how the Bitcoin network could be broadcasted utilizing “Weak-Signal-Propagation” through radio broadcasts. The two researchers are currently testing and developing the radio-based platform.
Weak signal radio communications started coming to life around 2008 when the developer Joe Taylor open sourced “Whisper,” a weak signal propagation reporter. Whisper is a computer program that tethers weak signal radio broadcasts between amateur radio users. To propagate the Bitcoin network using similar technology, Szabo explains the goals are long range broadcasts with a relationship tied to the radio community.
“Our goals are long-range broadcasts, and mesh relay, and you want to allow censorship resistance participation in the network — You want to send short messages in particular,” explains Szabo. “To do this, we are going to propose using skywave communication using the ionosphere where the sun hits the upper atmosphere of the earth near space with ultraviolet radiation — the layer it ionizes particles and creates this layer that acts as a mirror for certain radio wavelengths like the kind we want to use.”
The radio community — the two regimes we are interested in, in the radio community it’s near-vertical incidence skywave, this is the 70 degree angle there, it’s nearly vertical. You get a range of about 5 or 600 km — The most reliable frequency are 40-80 m — That’s what we’re targeting.