Will cryptocurrencies be used to fund space travel?

·2-min read
A new satellite launched in 2022 by SpaceX promises to explore the Moon in a new way.

After Tesla began accepting payments in Bitcoin, Elon Musk is moving into high gear. His company SpaceX will launch a satellite in 2022 to collect information on the Moon and the mission is set to be entirely financed through Dogecoin, a cryptocurrency that has been generating headlines since the beginning of the year.

The "DOGE-1 mission" is scheduled to take place in the first quarter of 2022. It will be carried out in partnership with Canadian company Geometric Energy Corporation (GEC), which has paid for the launch of the satellite entirely in Dogecoin. This is obviously the first space mission funded by cryptocurrency. The amount of the transaction has not been disclosed.

Dogecoin is not your everyday cryptocurrency. Launched as a gag in 2013, it was directly inspired by a meme depicting a shiba dog, which has been inspiring new takes and variations on the web for years. Relatively under the radar for years, the price of Dogecoin suddenly soared in early 2021. For a few days, the previously little-known Dogecoin (DOGE) posted record profitability, boosted by the unexpected support of Elon Musk, incidentally the second richest man in the world. Other stars, such as Snoop Dogg, have also publicly endorsed it. This cryptocurrency is also now accepted as a payment method on Pornhub.

The idea behind the DOGE-1 mission is to put a satellite into orbit around the Moon. It will be launched by a Falcon 9 rocket. The satellite will be cubic in shape, weighing about 40 kg and carrying many sensors and cameras. Its objective will be to collect a maximum of information about the Moon, though further details are scarce for the moment.

For SpaceX, this unprecedented payment in Dogecoin also lays the foundations for a future system of interplanetary trade that Elon Musk and his teams are already dreaming of. For them, cryptocurrencies are one payment method among many. For years, Elon Musk has dreamed of sending humans to Mars. Will we be emptying our cryptocurrency wallets to pay for the trip?

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David Bénard