FireChat Has Huge Implications For Bitcoin

Firechat

Firechat

Bitcoin Will Be Hugely Impacted By FireChat

Recent protests in Hong Kong have enabled a mobile chat app FireChat to gain popularity.  The app allows users to send messages to each other without an internet connection.  A Mashable artcile reports that people in Hong Kong began using the app when they feared the Hong Kong government authorities would shut down cellular phone networks.

The basis of the protests is that a new law would require Hong Kong officials to be vetted by Beijing authorities in mainland China before gaining office.

FireChat will impact Bitcoin greatly as people may soon be able to send Bitcoins without an internet connection.

FireChat

FireChat

Hong Kong Protests Spread Like FireChat

Over 100,000 people in Hong Kong have already downloaded Fire Chat according to Dumb-Out.net.  Explosive growth of the chat app has made it the #1 app in the Apple Store within 24 hours.  Chinese authorities are often censor information quickly, and FireChat capitalized on this.

The service allows users to talk anonymously in chat rooms with groups of people nearby, and the connection works on Android and iOS via a Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connection. While around 33,000 people in Hong Kong were using the app simultaneously between Sunday and Monday, according to the South China Morning Post, FireChat’s openness comes with some security pitfalls.

The messages sent across FireChat can be easily back tracked to the phone they were sent from, so you may not want to send confidential information over FireChat.

FireChat Works Without An Internet Connection

Below is a video with the CEO of FireChat, Micha Benoliel:

The problem we are solving is to provide you with ubiquitous internet access… and ubiquitous connectivity.

Ubiquitous Connectivity Could Enable Bitcoin Transactions Without Internet

FireChat messages could be embedded with a Bitcoin QR-code to send or request money.  If nobody in the mesh network had internet connectivity, Bitcoins sent over the app could be held in Escrow.  When one of phones gains internet connectivity, the transaction would be forwarded to the Bitcoin Blockchain.  The Escrow solution would require some trust among send and receiver.

It is also possible if one of the phones in the mesh network has internet connectivity, the Bitcoin transaction could be passed along to the Blockchain through the connected node.

One take-away is that sending Bitcoins could soon be possible without an internet connection. Apps like FireChat will enable the next Bitcoin Revolution.

Author: Satoshi Nakamoto

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4 Comments

  1. I will be easier if the phone wallet signs a transaction and is sent via bluetooth to the receiver. No Firechat needed. It won’t be the next Bitcoin Revolution at all.

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    • Wouldn’t you need an internet connection still? If you have 2 phones with bluetooth but no internet, how will the transaction reach the Bitcoin blockchain? I though the point of the FireChat mesh network, was that one phone could give it’s internet connection to the rest of the surrounding phones.

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      • Bitcoin needs Internet to broadcast the transaction to the network. Sending the signed transaction to the receiver, the latter could accept the transaction temporary until one of them connects to Internet (when the signed transaction is sent).

        Firechat is a chat over wifi or bluetooth, no internet needed. You don’t share your internet connection.

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        • Okay, I was under the impression that FireChat allowed a shared internet connection if one of the phones had the internet. If neither phone has an internet, do you think the idea of holding the money in an Escrow will work, until one of the phones gets internet and can confirm?

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