A member of Tonga’s parliament has expressed interest in helping connect the tiny Polynesian nation to Blockstream’s Bitcoin satellite network.
Lord Fusitu’a Tweeted Friday that he had received a satellite kit from Blockstream CSO Samson Mow and was looking forward to setting it up, adding that it had “massive technological potential for remote islands” such as Tonga.
Blockstream’s satellites broadcast the Bitcoin network 24/7 across a large portion of the globe. This reduces Bitcoin’s dependency on the internet and allows anyone with a small satellite antenna and USB receiver to receive blocks and run a full Bitcoin node.
In 2017, only 41% of Tongans used the internet, according to data from the World Bank. In order for remote regions such as this to gain access to large-scale Bitcoin adoption, solutions that don’t rely solely on the internet will likely come in handy.
Blockstream was co-founded by Adam Back, who invented Hashcash and with it, the Proof-of-Work concept that Satoshi later applied to Bitcoin. The Bitcoin infrastructure company introduced its satellite project in 2017, when it leased space on six geostationary satellites.
Lord Fusitu’a, meanwhile, has become a celebrity of sorts on Bitcoin Twitter due to his avid support for Bitcoin and influential political status within his own nation.
He has suggested that Tonga is a primary candidate to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender, following in the footsteps of El Salvador. Much like El Salvador, the tiny nation relies on remittances for a large portion (37% in the case of Tonga) of its total GDP. Bitcoin and the Lightning Network could help bring down costs and reduce time to send remittances significantly.
It remains to be seen what the archipelago nation’s future holds in regards to Bitcoin adoption, but it seems like Blockstream's satellite network could help facilitate access to a large portion of the nation that needs it.