A crypto entrepreneur from Canada has been able to send bitcoin to someone else over the Lightning Network using radio waves. Toronto-based Rodolfo Novak, co-founder of Coinkite, sent a bitcoin invoice to the California-based columnist and blockchain engineer Elaine Ou. It was an experiment, but could offer potential for future solutions.
Novak described the transaction on his Twitter feed. He said that the transaction was done on the actual Lightning Network, while praising the speed of the communication: “Radio waves travel at the speed of light in air 300,000 km/s, via coper would be 5% slower.”
However, in most countries it’s not allowed to send encrypted data over amateur radio waves. Novak had already performed a transaction between Toronto and Michigan three weeks ago. He and some other techy entrepreneurs have been sending each other bitcoin transactions for a few weeks now.
This would mean that the internet isn’t always needed to transfer bitcoin. However, radio transmitters aren’t cheap. A small one with a low range already costs a couple of hundred dollars, while you can add another zero to the amount for a big one.
Novak’s tests aren’t the first time someone is combining cryptocurrencies with radio waves. Five years ago a Finnish software specialist setup a radio station transmitting blockchain information. The project was called Kryptoradio. This would potentially allow offline devices to confirm transactions and provide services to customers, for example a vending machine. The project never became a commercial success, but it shows that there are ways for radio and crypto to combine their forces.
Also published on Medium.