Blockstream maintains a customized version of Bitcoin Core called Bitcoin Satellite. Bitcoin Satellite is capable of receiving and decoding the data that is sent over satellite, in addition to everything a normal Bitcoin Core node does.
As a fork of Bitcoin Core, Bitcoin Satellite allows you to maintain the familiar interface and functionality of the most commonly-used Bitcoin client.
What Does the Bitcoin Satellite Client Do?
The Bitcoin Satellite software enables you to download the Bitcoin blockchain, keep your Bitcoin node in sync with the network, and utilize all Bitcoin Core wallet functionalities entirely via the Blockstream Satellite network—no internet connection required.
How Does the Bitcoin Satellite Client Work?
Bitcoin Satellite is based on FIBRE, a protocol designed to reduce the latency of block transfers within the Bitcoin network While FIBRE itself is based on Bitcoin Core v0.16, Bitcoin Satellite is rebased to adopt the features of the recent Bitcoin Core v0.19 release and will be rebased again for future Bitcoin Core releases.
Bitcoin Satellite reuses parts of FIBRE’s block transport mechanism to optimize the client for satellite data processing. The satellites deliver the Bitcoin blockchain data wrapped within special data containers so that it can be transported fast and reliably over one-way satellite links.
When you set up your satellite kit and run Bitcoin Satellite, your application decodes the incoming Bitcoin blockchain data from your satellite receiver and routes it to the software’s internal infrastructure that processes the blocks.
Is Bitcoin Satellite Secure?
Bitcoin Satellite reuses the entire Bitcoin Core code and infrastructure, which is frequently reviewed and tested by independent developers.
Like Bitcoin Core, Bitcoin Satellite is open-source software, and all customizations to the client are clearly separated from the code taken from Bitcoin Core to mitigate the risk of compromises introduced through the customizations.
Data sent to your node from the Blockstream Satellite network is further. Bitcoin Satellite uses forward error correction (FEC) that can, to an extent, decode incomplete data, protecting against data losses that often occur on satellite links.
Can I Run Both Bitcoin Core and Bitcoin Satellite?
Yes, it is possible to run both Bitcoin Core and Bitcoin Satellite on the same device. If you do, the two instances will operate as independent Bitcoin nodes and view each other as peers on the network.
By default, your Bitcoin Satellite node will synchronize with the network using Blockstream Satellite data, while your Bitcoin Core node will receive blockchain information via the internet.
Alternatively, it is possible to share your Blockstream Satellite blockchain data with your Bitcoin Core node through your Bitcoin Satellite node. You may choose to do this if, for example, you would prefer the extra assurance of having the blockchain data received from the Blockstream Satellite network verified by the most-reviewed Bitcoin node client. We’ll have a guide on how to configure this coming out soon.