The developers behind Kryptoradio are also hoping that by providing a DVB-T broadcast of the Bitcoin blockchain, they will motivate companies to find new ways to integrate digital currencies. The transmission only goes one way, meaning you will be able to use Kryptoradio to check whether new transactions have been included into the blockchain, but you won't be able to send bitcoins.
According to Joel Lehtonen, the lead developer of Kryptoradio, there are many scenarios where a one-way connection could still be useful.
"The primary idea is to use Kryptoradio for new applications that need an easy way to know whether a payment is made. Receiving blockchain information via radio waves is useful for services like parking meters and small business cash registries," explains Lehtonen. "A parking meter, for example, needs only to know whether the payment has been done. It does not need to send anything. When the payment has been processed by whatever means, the parking meter receives a bitcoin transaction targeted to itself and provides the user with a ticket. The same applies to any other appliance, such as vending machines or laundromats."
And according to Lehtonen, doing it this way might be cheaper than the alternatives.
He notes that Kryptoradio does not require uplink at the receiving endpoint, and therefore, no subscription plans or SIM cards are required. Receiving bitcoins for payment can be achieved without any additional transaction mediators or Internet service providers. "At the moment," says Lehtonen, "we expect the savings to come from eliminating these recurring costs because only the hardware is needed."
There is at least one concern, however. These broadcasts will be provided by a centralized authority, through the joint efforts of Kryptoradio and the Digita DVB-T provider. Any service relying on it will have to trust that these parties are transmitting the Bitcoin blockchain exactly as the rest of the world sees it.
In general, Bitcoiners tend to place much more faith in numbers than they do in humans. Lehtonen says that while the Kryptoradio project will start off very centralized, if it is successful, they will find ways to distribute trust in later versions.
"All packets will be signed using cryptography (ECDSA)," he explains. "We use our own key in pilot transmissions. But in the future we are able to use multiple signatures. With multiple [signing authorities], it is possible for the receiver to choose a trusted peer for signing the data."