Randy Brito, the founder of Bitcoin Venezuela, is leading an open-source project that aims to develop a decentralized mesh network that can support Bitcoin (BTC) transactions. Dubbed Locha Mesh, the system would work on radio waves instead of relying on the internet.
Notably, the initiative was introduced as a solution to frequent blackouts and internet outages that happen in Venezuela. Brito and his team are working on Turpial and Harpia. These devices would be powered by long-range radio waves which would ultimately enable Bitcoin enthusiasts to connect to the Blockchain.
Brito explained that Turpial would function as a radio transmitter and that it could cover 1 to 2 kilometres in metropolitan areas. Meanwhile, Harpia is a simpler version of a radio module that is designed to work with small computers like Raspberry Pi. Batteries would power both portable devices. Aside from supporting Bitcoin transactions, Locha Mesh can also be integrated into other Blockchain such as Monero. It can also be used in transferring files and sending messages.
We’ll be using the 915MHz (ISM band). Depending on region the Harpia radio module could be different for different frequencies.— Randy Brito ⚡️ 📻 🐦 🛰 📡 ₿ #Bitcoin #LochaMesh #BFVI (@randybrito) January 17, 2020
In tests we are achieving 1-2km in urban areas for our portable Turpial hardware that runs on battery.
During a discussion with the members of Monero community, Brito noted that the primary use case of the open-source project is to provide continuous access to decentralized Blockchains. He also cited a list of reasons why Venezuela experiences sudden outages of the internet, such as government restrictions and infrastructure issues. Notably, users who desire complete anonymity would also benefit from the project.
Since Valenzuela is one of the crisis-stricken nations, Brito also emphasized that they are planning to offer the devices at the possible lowest prices. They can also be shipped to other countries. Meanwhile, in restricted jurisdictions, the team is thinking of sending documentation so that interested users can create their own.
While Locha Mesh would sell its products, Brito mentioned that tech-savvy users are allowed to develop their version of a mesh-compatible transmitter since the software is accessible to all.
Top issues associated with Locha Mesh
While the development team boasts that the decentralized mesh network would be based on radio waves, the system would still require internet access when connecting to the global crypto nodes. Though it was written in the proposal that those who are already connected to the worldwide web wouldn’t be affected in case of an internet shutdown, the team failed to clarify about how long would the network remain functional, or if it would function at all.
In a media interview, Brito explained that the system wouldn’t necessarily depend on nodes that are connected to the internet through a landline. Notably, satellite dishes can also act as gateways and users would still be able to retransmit the data within the decentralized mesh network.
Brito also took the opportunity to announce that the project needs additional funding. With added resources from investors, the development team would be able to get software and hardware that are ready for production. As written on the initial proposal, the organization targets to launch Locha Mesh before the second half of this year.