Bob Dylan had no idea that his lyrics in “Mr. Tambourine Man” would someday become a real possibility, but Sir Richard Branson is making space flight dreams a reality. Virgin Galactic will be in space for test flights “in weeks, not months” Branson said on October 9, 2018. He continued, “And then we will be in space with myself in months and not years.”
Whatever it is in the human psyche that longs to travel in space, it seems to inhabit the dreams of millions. And Branson is in a race with Jeff Bezos of Amazon and Elon Musk of SpaceX to get the first paying passengers into space. How much will this trip on a magic ship cost, you ask? The ticket price on Virgin Galactic currently stands at around $250,000. Ultimately, Branson hopes the fare price will fall, but right now that kind of ticket is only available to the wealthy.
For those lucky or wily (or both) investors who have been buying and keeping Bitcoin, however, Virgin Galactic gladly accepts payment in the digital cryptocurrency. Nearly five years ago, Branson announced that his commercial space flight venture would accept Bitcoin as payment. The first passenger to buy a ticket using Bitcoin was a flight attendant in Hawaii. Since then, more people have booked their trips using Bitcoin, including the famed Winklevoss twins, who have become Bitcoin evangelists.
Tyler Winklevoss has compared Branson’s commercial space tourism business endeavor to major historical explorers on planet Earth. “It is in this vein that Cameron and I contemplate our tickets into space – as seed capital supporting a new technology that may forever change the way we travel, purchased with a new technology that may forever change the way we transact,” he wrote.
Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo is manned by two pilots, and will carry six passengers, reaching altitudes of more than 65 miles above Earth. A magical trip that seems like a perfect way to use 21st century digital currency.
Not to be Outdone…
Musk’s SpaceX recently announced that Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa will fly around the moon on the Big Falcon Rocket (BFR) Lunar Mission. In July, Musk sounded positive that his car company, Tesla, was planning to accept Bitcoin as payment for Teslas, and if that happens, it makes sense that SpaceX might also accept the cryptocurrency in payment for tickets to space.
Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin is planning to start selling tickets to space in 2019. No word yet on how much these tickets will cost, or if the world’s richest online retailer will accept Bitcoin as payment.
If that kind of trip is a little too out-of-this-world for you, you can also use Bitcoin to buy tickets for flights on conventional airplanes and other travel-related businesses like hotels and car rentals.