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Spacebit.live is an interstellar messaging service that lets you broadcast encrypted missives to the depths of space itself. The site, which integrates with satellites leased by Bitcoin development firm Blockstream, places no restrictions on what you choose to beam out to the Great Beyond: exposés from anti-free speech countries, desperate entreaties to vanished lovers, or, as Decrypt has done, an ionosphere's worth of mediocre "pranks."
The interface, which developer MediumSqueeze built atop a satellite-based messaging API unveiled by Blockstream last year, is sickeningly simple to use: First, click this link, pen your message, and hit send. This brings up a key for a Lightning Network invoice, the price of which varies depending on the length of your message. Copy this invoice. Next, you want to set up a testnet wallet (stuffed with fake Bitcoins) here—that’s another, like, one click. Paste the invoice into the “Lightning Request” box, hit send, and you’re done! You’ve just spent roughly four (not-real) cents’ worth of Bitcoin on firing off a message to a satellite that can (sort of) be accessed by anybody on Earth.
It’s a little trickier, however, to receive messages, hundreds of which are encrypted here. To do this, you need to set up a satellite beacon. Decrypt had a go at setting one up and... just kidding, we absolutely did not buy $383 worth of hardware from Amazon to receive some encrypted Hentai. (But you can do it via that link.) But here’s a taste, anyway, of the kind of ominous fare being pinged out for our great-great-grandchildren to one day decrypt, courtesy of those with actual beacons set up:
Getting into the groove and sending out a few more messages ourselves, we realized something: these messages will be bounced back to anyone with a beacon. It is, subsequently, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to prank-call all of Earth! Here are some of the hilarious hoaxes we’ve so far pulled:
Imagine the hilarity and chaos that will ensue when 7,000 credulous “Craig Smiths” rock up to 47 Bleecker Street (don’t even know if it exists!), believing they’re all entitled to “lots of money”!
We have already successfully trialled this one on Decrypt’s very own Tim Copeland:
This next one is actually an excerpt from one of Decrypt’s very own Valentine’s Day short stories:
Perhaps if we broadcast it to everyone on Earth, and allow it a timespan of, say, one billion years, it’ll get more than one click.
Anyway, it’s all very fun, and very, very nice. There are even faint whispers of the platform being used to jumpstart bitcoin as an interplanetary currency...
— Derek J (@DJenniso777) February 7, 2019
But let’s wait until more than three people use bitcoin on Earth before we start pondering that one, eh.