During 2018 in Venezuela, there were power blackouts throughout the country, leaving cities without power for weeks. Even cell towers ran out of power supply after a few days.
Despite some people charging their phones with generators or car batteries, there wasn’t any cell service for them to communicate with others: no calls, no SMS, no mobile data.
How do you communicate and do commerce when there is no communication infrastructure nor power grid at all?
In 2018, the non-profit Bitcoin Venezuela launched Locha Mesh, an open-source and open-hardware project initiated to create the software, protocol, and hardware needed for a resilient and decentralized mesh network of devices capable of transmitting messages, data, Bitcoin transactions, and services completely off-grid. As in, without having to rely on an Internet connection or even the electrical grid!
For disaster-hit countries and privacy-concerned individuals and groups, this will prove to be especially important.
The Locha Mesh devices are battery-powered and could also use solar panels. There will be custom-made hardware, the Turpial, which is mobile-first so that anyone can carry it around, and there will also be DIY alternatives. The Turpial device can be attached to a computer (desktop, laptop, Raspberry Pi) to offer services to others and get paid in Bitcoin, Lightning Network, and Monero RPC-Pay.
Those who are interested can pre-order a Turpial device by donating to the project. You can add a larger antenna and power amplifier to serve a wider area or reach longer distances.
During February’s Crypto Vigilante Summit, Randy Brito from Locha Mesh explained these exciting possibilities and broke down how the technology works.
Enjoy the full talk here:
Get ready! The next TCV Virtual Summit, Battle of the Coins, is this month, on September 23rd and 24th.
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