18.05.2021

Blockstream’s Satellite Network Now 25X Faster

The Blockstream satellite service provides internet-free Bitcoin transactions and information sharing to crypto users in nearly every corner of the world. The company has leased six geostationary satellites which are used to broadcast the blockchain to Africa, Europe, South and North America, and the Asia Pacific region.

Blockstream has just upgraded their satellite network that carries the Bitcoin blockchain for the first time in almost two years. The data rate is now 25 times faster and users can sync an entire node without connecting to the web.

According to a May 4 announcement on the company website, the Canada-based blockchain company’s Blockstream Satellite 2.0 includes a standards-based transmission protocol, more bandwidth, additional coverage areas, and “the ability to sync a Bitcoin full node all the way from the genesis block up to today.”

The entire history of BTC beamed from space

The announcement said:

“Instead of requiring users to connect their Bitcoin full node to the internet for the initial sync-as was the case with 1.0-Blockstream Satellite 2.0 now enables full history synchronization! Blockstream Satellite users can hook up a Bitcoin full node and fully download the entirety of the Bitcoin blockchain, from the original 2009 genesis block right up to today’s latest transactions…absolutely no internet required!”

The upgraded network is the first update since Blockstream introduced an application programming interface (API) in December 2018 to their first version of the protocol released August 2017. The DVB-S2 protocol for version 2.0 reportedly improves spectral efficiency and signal reliability, delivers higher bitrates, and increases data capacity and bandwidth.

Blockstream Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) Samson Mow took the opportunity to take a swipe at rival blockchain Ethereum, commenting on Twitter that “it takes less time to sync a new Bitcoin full node over Blockstream Satellite than it does to sync a new Etherium full node over broadband.”

Bitcoin ATM Provider to Double Machines After 40% Surge in First Time Users

Bitcoin ATM machines are increasingly gaining popularity

Coinstar hosts over 3,500 Bitcoin ATMs and wants that number doubled as usage grew despite the recent lockdowns that were necessitated by COVID-19.

Bitcoin ATMs provider Coinme will increase the number of its automated BTC teller machines in selected locations, overseen by coin-counting kiosk firm, Coinstar.

According to Coinstar, the plan is to considerably raise the number of Bitcoin ATMs in the U.S. The expansion drive comes amid the company’s revelations that its distribution of the devices had seen a huge uptick despite the impact of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Coinstar has over 3,500 of the Coinme ATMs in its kiosks placed in supermarkets, large shopping malls and pharmacies. Usage for the machines has risen by 40 percent in 2020, the increased adoption now pushing the company to seriously consider additional installations.

As supermarkets and pharmacies have been left open and accessible during global lockdowns, people have taken the opportunity to look at Bitcoin with renewed interest.

Coinstar Head of Product, Michael Jack, has said that plans to double the Coinme Bitcoin ATMs will be finalized in a year. The startup is also weighing options for the possible launch of several machines in the short term, although it hasn’t specified when this is likely to take place.

The company maintains that ATM growth was massive in the region, but the same trend was being witnessed across the board. Strong numbers in terms of users have been recorded in the days since the global community began to grapple with COVID-19.

Coinme has noted that the last two months have seen increased numbers in first-time Bitcoin ATM users. According to the company, about 40 percent of the total transactions recorded in March and April have been from those using the machines for the first time.

On Thursday, Coinme announced that an ongoing Series A financing round had seen it raise $10 million.

Participants in the round include Pantera Capital, Coinstar, Nima Capital, and Blockchain.com Ventures, among others. Pantera Capital led the contributors with a $5.5 million outlay, strengthening its position on the Coinme board.

Paul Veradittakit, an investor and partner at Pantera Capital noted that the venture firm was keen on investing in Coinmeto to help solve “the problem of the fiat-on ramp to crypto.”

He added that the move would enable the platform to continue its work on an API that provides for cross-border payments. Coinme’s API allows it to link its product to any ATM, kiosk (like Coinstar), and merchants.

With Bitcoin and crypto usage in the Latin America region on the up, Coinme has set its target on being the vehicle that helps the seamless transfer of funds. Blockchain payments in the region have grown by 60% since mid-February.

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