Space tourism took a step closer last week when a manned Virgin Galactic spacecraft broke through to the edge of space, offering a tantalizing glimpse of things to come. Virgin’s SpaceShipTwo tipped 82.7 km above the Earth Thursday, the highest a commercial vehicle has ever been, and the news of this achievement isn’t just good for hedge fund managers with a few bucks to spare, it’s good news for Bitcoin holders too.
Reflections on @virgingalactic’s first space flight & the momentous achievement of a crewed spaceship, built to carry private paying passengers, reaching space for the first time ever https://t.co/hHk8ZsF8Kn pic.twitter.com/qtN8cy7kdb
— Richard Branson (@richardbranson) December 14, 2018
Branson Bullish on Bitcoin
Virgin founder Richard Branson has been a supporter of Bitcoin for years, previously calling it a “brilliantly conceived idea”. In 2013 he posted on the Virgin Galactic website to announce that Virgin Galactic would be accepting Bitcoin payments, stating:
Virgin Galactic is one of the universe’s most exciting, futuristic companies. Bitcoin, the virtual currency, has really captured the imagination recently as one of the world’s most innovative businesses looking to the future. So we think it is about time Virgin Galactic customers can choose to pay with bitcoins.
The price tag for a 90-minute space tour is a hefty $250,000, which at current prices would set you back 76 Bitcoin. By contrast, back in 2013 at the time of Branson’s post you would have needed 278 to reserve your spot. You would have been better off holding on them however, considering that the first paid-for flights have not yet been scheduled, and those 278 Bitcoin would have been worth $5.4 million this time last year.
Virgin not Alone
Virgin is not the only space-related agency advocating blockchain and its related products. NASA has awarded grants to scientists looking at ways to improve communications through the use of blockchain technology and artificial intelligence. While four satellites from blockchain software company Blockstream are currently orbiting the Earth with the intention of offering global Bitcoin access and protecting against network interruptions.
When Virgin Galactic finally launches, the argument that you can’t buy anything with Bitcoin will finally be invalidated in the most spectacular way imaginable.