Venezuelans made lightening-savvy hardware to use Bitcoin during black out

On March 7, 2019, All the lights went out in Venezuela. It was a total blackout on March 7th 2019.

Meanwhile the issue of blackout and other electricity crisis was already part of everyday life, the blackout actually crippled communications across the country.

This situation also inspired Venezuelan Randy Brito to focus fully on the Locha Mesh initiative. It’s an open-source project working with the aim of making sure or enabling private messages and payments without one connecting with the internet.

Obviously the blackout earlier this year, must have made Brito to see clearer that poor internet infrastructure was a leading barrier to crypto adoption.

people lacked alternatives, the prefer to use dollars during the blackout not because they preferred cash anyway.

“Talking about Venezuela, cryptocurrency adoption can be very complicated,” Brito stated while , adding that:
“Downloading a wallet is a big issue as users find it hard because of the lack of infrastructure to do so.”

Turpial and Harpy, hardware prototypes both of them acting like small routers that don’t rely on local WiFi has been created by Locha Mesh. In this process, they pass messages around the “mesh” until one outlet finally has an internet connection.

According to Brito, this devices are easy to carry and hide for safety purposes and it allows transactions and general commerce to take place even though there is blackout. Users can send and receive payments using Bitcoin network.

In March, these small devices created An experimental system that really worked for 22 consecutive hours was done by these little devices in March by even connecting Harpy devices to the Blockstream satellite and relaying that connectivity to other users through the Turpial device.

Now on focus is the Lightning Network which centres on enabling small fast payments using a scaling solution.

Brito said , “The Lightning Network requires you to be connected, otherwise, you wouldn’t know if your counterpart is lying,”. “These nodes, these devices are always gets connected to the Lightning Network.”

The serious need and struggle to use bitcoin without electricity is spreading widely across emerging markets, From Venezuela to Lebanon to the Palestinian territories.

During the 2019 Lightning Conference in Berlin, Brito presented his latest mesh-network hardware tools for such transactions. He presented the project because Locha Mesh is currently looking for investors and donors. His six-person team aims to start selling these devices.

However, in the first quarter of 2020, his six -man team has targeted the sale of these devices.

“ The second prototype and development kits will soon be done,” he said.

Luis Ruiz, CTO and co-founder of Locha said, The team’s expectations are set on providing an accessible and safe form of communication for anyone in the world.
Said Ruiz:

Utimately,  we are providing an accessible solution for anyone who finds themselves without energy or internet access in need for a safe and free communication.


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