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Mobile Mesh Network Users Get New Incentives via Lightning

Micropayments are paid out between nodes that host the mesh network, encouraging users to maintain an ecosystem of devices without relying on the internet.
Micropayments are paid out between nodes that host the mesh network.

Micropayments are paid out between nodes that host the mesh network.

Mobile mesh network company goTenna has released the white paper for its new Lot49 protocol, an open-source project headed by company subsidiary Global Mesh Labs.

goTenna previously made headway in the crypto space with its work on decentralized mobile mesh networks, attempting to create a censorship-free method of carrying out bitcoin transactions without the need of an internet connection. In April 2018, the company partnered with Samourai Wallet to create a mobile app that allows users to make transactions without being hooked up to an internet service provider or cell tower.

The new Lot49 protocol is goTenna’s latest attempt to contribute to the decentralized mesh protocol network, using the Lightning Network to incentivize data delivery. Micropayments are paid out between nodes that host the mesh network without internet connection, encouraging users to maintain an active ecosystem of devices without relying on the internet.

Lot49 released its white paper on June 11, 2019. It includes a fairly comprehensive introduction to the project as well as to some of the more technical specifications.

According to Richard Meyers, goTenna’s decentralized applications engineer, while Lot49 is based on the Lightning Network, it has been “adapted for very low-bandwidth ad hoc mobile networks and therefore is also applicable to less-constrained mesh topologies.”

Myers told Bitcoin Magazine that Lot49 was built around this technology not only for ease of use. The developers at goTenna also believe “it’s important to standardize on the most secure and decentralized cryptocurrency available.”

Those looking to use other crypto assets through Lot49’s secure payment channels will first have to convert them to bitcoin through conventional methods.

Promoting Freedom, Security Through Decentralized Mesh Networks

Myers said that this development strategy led to the two biggest challenges in coding the protocol: “The first was no direct access to the internet … The second was generally how to minimize the overall network bandwidth used for incentive payments relative to the message data we are incentivizing delivery of.”

To accommodate the possibilities of the Lot49 protocol being as low-bandwidth as possible, Myers mentioned that the company plans to add mesh network compatibility to a number of hardware devices. Starting with devices already made by goTenna, the hope is “to run on other mesh devices as well as long-range (HF) radio and satellite.”

“In places with a sufficient density of users,” Myers said, “people should be able to use the incentivized mesh network as their primary instant messenger to chat with their friends and family. This will likely be most appealing in places where the cost of traditional centralized communication is high, or unavailable.”

Looking to the future, Myers said, “As more people use mesh communication, governments will have more incentive to open up radio spectrum for peer-to-peer communication. It will also make oppressive governments less able to censor and surveil communication because it will be much more difficult. Incentivized communication will also spawn an ecosystem of information services paid for with bitcoin over mesh networks.”

He added that Lot49 is open source because, among other reasons, “We hope the bitcoin developer community can help us ensure our protocol is as trust minimized, resilient against attack and resource efficient as possible.”