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Bitcoin Satellite

Table of Contents

Overview

Bitcoin Satellite is a fork of FIBRE (Fast Internet Bitcoin Relay Engine) and, consequently, also a fork of Bitcoin Core. It features a version of the bitcoind application with support for the reception of blocks sent over satellite in UDP datagrams with multicast addressing. You can find detailed information regarding how Bitcoin Satellite works on the project’s Wiki page.

Installation

Install bitcoin-satellite by running:

blocksat-cli deps install --btc

NOTE:

  • This command supports the two most recent releases of Ubuntu LTS, Fedora, CentOS, Debian, and Raspbian.

  • bitcoin-satellite is a fork of bitcoin core. As such, it installs applications with the same name (i.e., bitcoind, bitcoin-cli, bitcoin-qt, and bitcoin-tx). Hence, the installation of bitcoin-satellite will fail if you already have bitcoin core installed.

Alternatively, you can install bitcoin-satellite manually from binary packages or from source.

Configuration

Next, you need to generate a bitcoin.conf file with configurations to receive bitcoin data via satellite. To do so, run:

blocksat-cli btc

By default, this command will place the generated bitcoin.conf file at ~/.bitcoin/, which is the default Bitcoin data directory used by Bitcoin Satellite. If you so desire, you can specify an alternative datadir as follows:

blocksat-cli btc -d datadir

Running

Next, run bitcoind as usual, like so:

bitcoind

Note that other Bitcoin Core options are supported and can be added to the generated bitcoin.conf file as needed, or directly as arguments to the above command. For example, you can run the node based on satellite links only (unplugged from the internet) using option connect=0 on bitcoin.conf or by running:

bitcoind -connect=0

Also, you can run bitcoind in daemon mode:

bitcoind -daemon

Once bitcoind is running, you can check the satellite interface is receiving data by running the following command:

bitcoin-cli getudpmulticastinfo

If the receiver is correctly locked to the satellite signal, you should see a bitrate around 1.09 Mbps.

Furthermore, you can check the number of blocks being received concurrently over satellite with the following command:

bitcoin-cli getchunkstats

Further Information

UDP Multicast Reception Option

In a Blockstream Satellite receiver setup, the satellite receiver will decode and output a UDP/IPv4 stream. Bitcoin Satellite, in turn, listens to such a stream when configured with option udpmulticast (added to the bitcoin.conf file).

There are several possibilities regarding the configuration of option udpmulticast. It depends on your hardware setup (for instance, your receiver type) and the satellite that you are receiving from. The option is described as follows:

 -udpmulticast=<if>,<dst_ip>:<port>,<src_ip>,<trusted>[,<label>]

Listen to multicast-addressed UDP messages sent by towards : using interface . Set to 1 if sender is a trusted node. An optional

Here is an example:

udpmulticast=dvb0_0,239.0.0.2:4434,172.16.235.9,1,blocksat

In this case, we have that:

  • dvb0_0 is the name of the network interface that receives data out of the receiver.
  • 239.0.0.2:4434 is the destination IP address and port of the packets that are sent over satellite.
  • 172.16.235.9 is the IP address of the Blockstream ground station node broadcasting data over the satellite network (each satellite has a unique source IP address).
  • 1 configures this stream as coming from a trusted source, which is helpful to speed-up block reception.
  • blocksat is a label used simply to facilitate inspection of logs.

To simplify the process, command blocksat-cli btc generates the bitcoin.conf file for you.

Installation from Binary Packages

You can install bitcoin-satellite directly from binary packages that are available for the two most recent Ubuntu LTS, Fedora, CentOS, Debian, and Raspbian releases.

Ubuntu:

add-apt-repository ppa:blockstream/satellite
apt-get update
apt-get install bitcoin-satellite

If command add-apt-repository is not available, install software-properties-common.

Debian:

add-apt-repository https://aptly.blockstream.com/satellite/debian/
apt-key adv --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com \
    --recv-keys 87D07253F69E4CD8629B0A21A94A007EC9D4458C
apt-get update
apt-get install bitcoin-satellite

Install gnupg, apt-transport-https, and software-properties-common, if necessary.

Raspbian:

add-apt-repository https://aptly.blockstream.com/satellite/raspbian/
apt-key adv --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com \
    --recv-keys 87D07253F69E4CD8629B0A21A94A007EC9D4458C
apt-get update
apt-get install bitcoin-satellite

Install gnupg, apt-transport-https, and software-properties-common, if necessary.

Fedora:

dnf copr enable blockstream/satellite
dnf install bitcoin-satellite

If command dnf copr enable is not available, install dnf-plugins-core.

CentOS:

yum copr enable blockstream/satellite
yum install bitcoin-satellite

If command yum copr enable is not available, install yum-plugin-copr.

Compilation from Source

To build Bitcoin Satellite from source, first clone the repository:

git clone https://github.com/Blockstream/bitcoinsatellite.git
cd bitcoinsatellite/

Then, install all build requirements listed in the project’s documentation.

Next, run:

./autogen.sh
./configure
make

This will build the bitcoind application binary within the src/ directory and you can execute it from there. Alternatively, you can install the application in your system:

make install

Detailed build instructions can be found within the project’s documentation .