Coinkite has announced their latest product, Satslink. The under-production device sits at the intersection of many different areas of communications and mobile hardware, empowering developers to build a whole slew of different applications.
Rather than leaning on an opinionated framework, Satslink leverages open and flexible hardware enclosed by the Coldcard Q1’s exterior to bring variety and flexibility to developers. Those in possession of this device can choose what to do with it, and let their builder mentalities run wild on the many different possibilities the piece of hardware can offer.
At its core, Satslink is a peer-to-peer, hackable multi-purpose device. It features a secure element, as typical of Coinkite products, allowing the user to securely store private keys within the device. While it shares the external design with the Coldcard Q1, the internals are totally different from the company’s latest hardware wallet. Instead of focusing on air gapped security, the Satslink aims to bring secure communications to the day to day in ways that few would’ve considered possible.
“Being dissatisfied with the connected and DIY options, we felt the need to create a better hot platform,” NVK, founder at Coinkite, told Bitcoin Magazine. “Bitcoin is expanding scripting/mpc options and we now have Nostr. Someone had to make a good connected and portable device for developers and enthusiast to create the next generation of freedom functionality.”
Satslink leverages ESP32-S3, a low-power MCU-based system on a chip (SoC) with integrated 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Low Energy (Bluetooth LE). It consists of high-performance dual-core microprocessor (Xtensa® 32-bit LX7), a low power coprocessor, a Wi-Fi baseband, a Bluetooth LE baseband, RF module, and numerous peripherals. Satslink is programmed in micropython, with its source fully-available, and it is completely field upgradable with no locked-down ROM areas. Coinkite’s product also features a MicroSD slot for data transfer.
“The initial target is developers and enthusiasts,” NVK said. “But, because of the consumer friendly form factor, they will be able to start using anything the community creates. Like hot and sovereign lightning wallets and Nostr clients!”
Nostr, the open communications protocol that went viral after Block CEO and Twitter founder Jack Dorsey started endorsing and funding the project, is top of the list of possible use cases for Satslink. Given its peer-to-peer communication capabilities, Satslink can be used as a Nostr client, and since it can also work as a relay, one could send and receive messages as Nostr posts without those ever hitting the internet. Imagine a localized Nostr made up of many Satslink devices talking to each other through a sort of mesh network instead of the open web. That could be possible with this device.
Another interesting use case that many bitcoiners could relate to is having a sovereign controller for their home-based bitcoin stack. As some bitcoiners run bitcoin nodes and sometimes even self-hosted servers at home, one could program the Satslink to connect to their home stack on demand and perform desired actions remotely and securely given its networking capabilities. Satslink could be used to run a transaction coordinator, for instance, or be used as a whole wallet –– though Coinkite doesn’t recommend using the Satslink as your go-to cold storage solution for large bitcoin amounts.
Satslink’s communication features also boast NFC and a QR code reader, enabling even more use cases for its eventual users. Notably, this combination paired with Satslink’s versatility and programmability could even be used to turn it into a hardware wallet of another manufacturer. Whether that’s desirable or not, truth is it could be possible to turn a Satslink into Blockstream’s JADE wallet or other similar DIY hardware wallets.
While the possibilities are endless, what users actually build with this product remains to be seen. Coinkite’s device is currently available to preorder on the company’s website at a $189 price tag, and it is still unclear when the product will start shipping to buyers.