Sen—If you haven’t heard of BitCoin at this point in your existence, then you have either been in a deep coma for the last 2 years or you are new to the internet. If it is the former, then I wish you a speedy recovery…if it is the latter scenario, then welcome to cyberspace—pull up a seat.
In summary, BitCoin is a decentralized cryptocurrency which gains its intrinsic value by performing lengthy, processor hungry calculations which require increasingly powerful GPU-based systems to compute. The numbers are crunched, and every so often a new BitCoin is produced. Much like Cash 1.0, which gained its value through gold mining, people who run these BitCoin machines are called “miners”.
The end result is a virtual “coin” which can be spent online (and increasingly offline) anonymously and without manipulation from a centralized banking system. It is a hackers dream, and has the potential to disrupt the old monetary system significantly.
Given the rise of New Space over the last 10 years, and given the roots of the New Space movement in the computer hardware and software industries, it is perhaps no surprise that space and BitCoin have become allies. Richard Branson, for example, has already begun to accept BitCoin payments for flights with Virgin Galactic—the Winklevoss brothers (of The Social Network fame) were the first to trade in their BitCoin hoarde for a trip to space with Virgin Galactic.
Several new companies are taking the idea of BitCoins in space to interesting new levels. One such company is UK-based SpaceBIT.
Sen spoke to Alex from SpaceBIT, in order to see what’s going on.
Sen: Hi SpaceBIT. Who are you? Are you space guys or money guys?
Alex: We have a very diverse team: Pavlo is the founder of SpaceBIT. He is a Cambridge and Stanford Graduate, and during the week he works as a CEO of a payment system. He is passionate about astronomy.
Then there is myself, and I work as a management consultant at a Top4 firm.
We also have Ian, who is a professor at the London School of Economics, Nadeem, who is an aerospace engineer with experience on a number of successful space projects, and Yury, who is our programmer, technical guy and cryptocurrency expert.
We also have a number of consultants from the space industry.
Sen: SpaceBIT: What’s the story?
Alex: SpaceBIT is a coin launched on a platform powered by sophisticated crypto technology ‘Bitcoin 2.0’. It allows people not only to support space exploration with a SpaceBIT coin, but also to hold cryptoequity and potentially IP rights generated by those projects.
Pavlo defined SpaceBIT as a platform to crowdfund promising space projects, as he believes that BitCoin and space can be a good fit. For decades people have had a dream about freedom of space exploration and travel, some even envisioned liberty of planetary surfaces and independence of future space settlements.
SpaceBIT is a platform to fund projects related to space exploration.
Sen: When is SpaceBIT launching, and how will it get its value?
Alex: SpaceBIT coin will be first made available in late 2014. We will issue 100 Million coins. After that we will launch a limited crowdsale of our coin. During the first sale it will be possible to buy it with Bitcoin only. Every holder of SpaceBIT will hold a cryptoequity of future projects launched with a help of a SpaceBIT.
After the pre-sale we will conduct crowdvoting to decide which project we are running first. After successful launch of our first SpaceBIT–sponsored project we will make a next portion of SpaceBITs available in a second crowdsale.
It will not be possible to mine SpaceBITs, however we might reserve a certain percentage of our coins to support future data-intensive computing for space applications.
Sen: How will SpaceBIT coins be traded?
Alex: It will be possible to exchange coins manually from the day one, but we have plans to make it available on exchanges (basically do a crypto IPO) after a successful space mission sponsored by SpaceBit. Details about that mission will be revealed at a later date.
Sen: PayPal are launching “PayPal Galactic”, to aid future off-world transactions. Do cryptocurrencies have a role off-world too?
Alex: We strongly believe that Bitcoin can bring freedom beyond the Earth. Whether it is freedom to explore or travel beyond the Earth or maybe even provide a platform for some more profound social freedoms in outer space. Who knows, maybe one day, libertarian idea of paradise on Earth envisioned by many bitcoiners can be fulfilled in outer space or even other planet!
One of the projects that Pavlo is currently involved in is a creation of a first space bank. It will be used not only for future ‘off planet’ applications, but also for people who live and make purchases and transfers on Earth, he is planning to receive all necessary licenses to run the operations on a global scale.
Sen: Thanks SpaceBit. Good luck with your venture!