A 21st-century space race appears to be brewing between Elon Musk and BitMEX, with both parties pledging to launch their respective crypto of choice to the literal moon first.
On Friday, popular crypto derivatives exchange BitMEX announced it would be supporting space robotics firm Astrobotic Technology in the company’s mission to send its first commercial lander to the moon during Q4 2020.
Noting that the mission aims to be the first instance in which “a private company leading a coalition of government, academia, industry, and international partners reaches the lunar surface,” BitMEX plans to make the occasion by delivering a one-of-a-kind physical Bitcoin (BTC) to the moon’s surface. Referring to Musk as a “Dogecoin protagonist,” BitMEX added:
“We’ve nothing against Dog Money, we felt it was only right to help Bitcoin get there first.”
The announcement followed Musk’s early May news that SpaceX is planning to launch a Dogecoin-funded payload on one of its first rockets to the moon, asserting that Dogecoin (DOGE) would become the first cryptocurrency to reach lunar orbit next year.
Musk responded to BitMEX’s newfound astronomic ambitions on Twitter, proclaiming: “A new space race has begun!”
While replies to Elon’s tweet are largely his followers barracking for DOGE to win the crypto space race, others noted there are more pressing problems on Earth than whether one’s crypto token of choice is the first to enter the orbit of another celestial body.
While few projects exploring the utility of establishing crypto infrastructure from space have captured the mainstream imagination like Musk’s Dogecoin expedition has, the Tesla CEO’s plans to take cryptocurrency out of this world are not the first.
Blockstream appears to have been the first in pioneering the use of crypto satellites, launching satellites to broadcast Bitcoin transactions from space in August 2017.
In August 2020, Robonomics and Kusama announced an ambitious plan to develop “an interplanetary architecture” capable of relaying data between Mars and Earth using the Kusama network.
CryptoSat outlined the concept behind its ambitious plan to launch a nano-satellite the size of a coffee mug into space in a November 2017 white paper, with the satellite slated to operate as an isolated cryptographic module from orbit. The team plans to prove the concept with a launch this year before sending an entire constellation of CryptoSats into orbit later on.
Spacechain similarly launched in 2017 and has successfully deployed nodes in orbit. On June 3, 2021, the project announced that its multisig Ethereum payload destined for installation on the International Space Station had been launched aboard a SpaceX rocket.