A 21st century space race appears to be brewing between Elon Musk and BitMEX, with both parties promising to launch their respective cryptocurrency to the literal moon first.
On June 4, popular crypto derivatives exchange BitMEX announced that it would be supporting space robotics company Astrobotic Technology in the company’s mission to send its first commercial lander to the moon in the fourth quarter of 2020.
Given that the mission is set to be the first instance in which “a private company led by a coalition of government, academia, industry and international partners reaches the surface of the moon,” BitMEX plans to seize the opportunity by providing a unique type of physical bitcoin to the lunar surface. Regarding Musk as the “Dogecoin protagonist”, BitMEX added:
“We have nothing against dog money, we just thought it was right to help Bitcoin get there first.”
The announcement followed Elon Musk’s news in early May that SpaceX plans to launch a Dogecoin-funded payload to the moon on one of its first rockets, claiming that DOGE would be the first cryptocurrency to enter lunar orbit next year.
Elon Musk responded to BitMEX’s newfound astronomical ambitions on Twitter and proclaimed: “A new space race has begun!”
While the responses to Elon’s tweet are largely his followers barracking for DOGE to win the crypto space race, others noted that there are more pressing problems on earth than if the crypto token of choice goes first into orbit another celestial body.
Can we deal with the problems here on earth before we plunge into space while the homeless sleep on the streets and the middle class struggles to survive?
What the hell is wrong with you? Look around
– Dougzart (@ Dougzart1) June 6, 2021
While few projects examining the utility of building crypto infrastructure from space have caught the mainstream imagination like Musk’s Dogecoin expedition, the Tesla CEO’s plans to get cryptocurrency out of this world are not the first .
Blockstream appears to have been the first to pioneer the use of crypto satellites, launching satellites to transmit Bitcoin transactions from space in August 2017.
In August 2020, Robonomics and Kusama announced an ambitious plan to develop an “interplanetary architecture” that can use the Kusama network to relay data between Mars and Earth.
In a November 2017 white paper, CryptoSat outlined the concept behind its ambitious plan to launch a nanosatellite the size of a coffee cup, with the satellite acting as an isolated cryptographic module from orbit. The team plans to prove the concept with a start later this year, before sending an entire constellation of CryptoSats into orbit later.
Spacechain was also launched in 2017 and has successfully deployed nodes in orbit. June 2021, the project announced that its multisig Ethereum payload, destined for installation on the International Space Station, was launched aboard a SpaceX rocket.