A 21st century space race appears to be brewing between Elon Musk and BitMEX, with both sides pledging to launch their respective cryptos to the literal moon first.
On Friday, popular crypto derivatives exchange BitMEX announced it would support space robot company 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 where “a private company leading a coalition of government, academia, industry, and international partners reaches the lunar surface,” BitMEX plans to make that opportunity by providing a one-of-a-kind physical Bitcoin (BTC). ) to the lunar surface. Referring to Musk as the “protagonist of Dogecoin,” BitMEX added:
“We’ve nothing against Dog Money, we felt it was only right to help Bitcoin get there first.”
The announcement follows Musk’s early May news that SpaceX plans to launch a Dogecoin-funded payload on one of its first rockets to the moon, stating that Dogecoin (DOGE) will be the first cryptocurrency to reach lunar orbit next year.
Musk responded to BitMEX’s newfound astronomical ambitions on Twitter, stating: “A new space race has begun!”
While replies to Elon’s tweets were mostly followers asking DOGE to win the crypto space race, others noted there are more pressing issues on Earth than whether one’s chosen crypto token is the first to enter another celestial body’s orbit.
While several projects exploring the utility of building crypto infrastructure from space have captured the mainstream imagination like Musk’s Dogecoin expedition, the Tesla CEO’s plans to take cryptocurrency out of this world are not the first.
Blockstream appears to be the first to pioneer the use of crypto satellites, launching a satellite to broadcast Bitcoin transactions from space in August 2017.
In August 2020, Robonomics and Kusama announced ambitious plans 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 coffee cup-sized nanosatellite into space in its November 2017 white paper, with the satellite slated to operate as a cryptographic module isolated from orbit. The team plans to prove the concept with a launch this year before sending the entire constellation of CryptoSats into orbit later.
Spacechain was also launched in 2017 and has successfully deployed nodes in orbit. On June 3, 2021, the project announced that a multisig Ethereum payload intended for deployment on the International Space Station had launched aboard a SpaceX rocket.