Winklevoss twins announced on Twitter that they will become astronauts using Bitcoin, courtesy of Virgin Galactic, Richard Branson’s bold project which promises to provide spaceflights to tourists in 2016. The brothers known for founding HarvardConnect, a social network for students at Harvard University reportedly stolen by Mark Zuckerberg chose to use about 390 Bitcoin in order to experience weightlessness and see the planet’s curvature. Virgin Galactic announced that it accepts Bitcoin payments in November last year and, immediately after, a flight attendant made the first transaction of this kind. The Winklevoss twins are astronauts number 700 and 701 who will enjoy the galactic ride.
In November 2013, Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Galactic announced that the company will be accepting Bitcoin as a payment method for riding the private spaceship, because both his company and the virtual currency are bold and aim at revolutionizing technology. Winklevoss twins, who even have their own Bitcoin price index called the Winkdex will become astronauts using Bitcoin, thanks to Virgin Galactic’s diverse payment methods. The 32-year-old brothers announced the news on their personal blog and Tyler Winklevoss posted on his Twitter account, stating that they have become “Virgin Galactic astronauts number 700 and 701.”
The Winklevoss twins mentioned that their decision came naturally because it suited their focus at Winklevoss Capital, namely “the reduction of pain-points and friction in an effort to build a better world.” At the same time, they described the choice as “seed capital” which supports a new technology that might change the way people perceive travelling, bought with a new technology which might also change the way people transact. One of the Winklevoss twins, Tyler praised the existence of both Bitcoin and Virgin Galactic on his blog and offered a bleak scenario in which people would be saved from a natural disaster with the help of these bold technologies.
SpaceShipTwo, No Longer a Dream
The Winklevoss twins will travel to space in SpaceShipTwo, Virgin Galactic’s vehicle which can seat six passengers in a 60 feet long and 90” diameter cabin. The shuttle is partly based on the same technology as SpaceShipOne, which won the Ansari X Prize in 2004. SpaceShipTwo will be launched from mothership White Knight Two.
Richard Branson started accepting Bitcoin payments for suborbital space travel in 2013 and stated that “Virgin Galactic is a bold entrepreneurial technology,” just like the virtual currency.
The Winklevoss twins will join Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and Ashton Kutcher on the flight and, so far, 701 people have paid $250,000 per ticket to experience weightlessness.
Ashton Kutcher, Congratulated by Branson
Although in the Winklevoss twins’ case, Richard Branson did not offer any personal praise, when Ashton Kutcher became the 500th astronaut to buy a ticket on Virgin Galactic, the founder wrote in a blog post that he called the actor “to congratulate and welcome him.”
Branson also mentioned that Kutcher was happy to be part of the team and “experience the magic of space for himself.”
Since a flight attendant purchased the first ticked with Bitcoin, there have been around six or seven people who booked their flights using the virtual currency, but the Winklevoss twins are reportedly the first public figures to become astronauts using Bitcoin as a payment method.
By Gabriela Motroc