Winklevoss Twins Use Bitcoins to Book Space Trip
Craig Ruttle/APBrothers Cameron, left, and Tyler Winklevoss, principals of Winklevoss Capital Management.
By Noel Randewich

SAN FRANCISCO -- You can't spend bitcoins at Amazon.com (AMZN) or to pay your mortgage but, as the Winklevoss twins showed Wednesday, you can use the digital currency to book a trip into suborbital space.

Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, who famously accused Facebook (FB) founder Mark Zuckerberg of stealing their idea, said they used bitcoins to buy tickets for a high-altitude voyage on billionaire Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic commercial spaceflight venture.

The brothers, Olympic rowers who earned MBA degrees from Oxford University, have become bitcoin evangelists and investors and are planning to launch a fund to make it easy to trade the digital currency on the stock market.

In a blog post, Tyler Winklevoss compared Branson's space endeavor and bitcoin entrepreneurs to major historical figures who changed the way the world was perceived, like Marco Polo, Christopher Columbus, Vasco da Gama and Nicolaus Copernicus.

"It is in this vein that Cameron and I contemplate our tickets into space -- as seed capital supporting a new technology that may forever change the way we travel, purchased with a new technology that may forever change the way we transact," he wrote.

Virgin Galactic, a U.S. offshoot of Branson's London-based Virgin Group, is selling rides on its SpaceShipTwo for $250,000.

The twins aren't the first to sign up for Virgin Galactic using bitcoins,
but it is the highest-profile flight booking to date using the currency. Last November, Branson announced that a flight attendant from Hawaii had become the first person to pay for a seat with bitcoins.

Bitcoin, a digital currency that is traded on a peer-to-peer network independent of central control, has seen its value soar in the past year as it gains attention from growing numbers of investors, entrepreneurs and regulators.

But the virtual currency's struggle for legitimacy has been shaken by recent debacles, including the collapse last week of Tokyo-based Mt. Gox, once the world's dominant bitcoin exchange.

Few major retailers have begun accepting payment in bitcoins, and critics say the currency's high volatility makes it unsuitable for everyday transactions.

The six-passenger, two-pilot SpaceShipTwo is hauled into the air by a twin-hull carrier jet and then released.

The upcoming flights are designed to reach altitudes of more than 65 miles above Earth, high enough to see the curvature of the planet set against the blackness of space.


Winklevoss Twins Use Bitcoins to Book Space Trip

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13 Comments

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Brucie

I rather buy a house or a lakefront cabin @ $250K cuz I rent my parents basement. About going up in space, I already done that several times in my luicid dreams which was for free. All you have to ask Jesus Christ for some out of the body experiences, he'll give you that.

March 07 2014 at 2:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
cdelairre

Boy, I'd love to be rich enough to play like that. Drop $250,000 to roar into the atmosphere to see the curvature of the earth against the blackness of space. What a great "date" adventure. Sounds incredible, I guess the photographs or desktop image will just have to do.

March 07 2014 at 1:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
John Myers

It has been many a year since I was in the USAF but if I had ever seen an aircraft with the flame coming out the the cover sheet is showing it I would run for help. Might I suggest that whoever touches up the pictures go to a USAF Base and watch a few jets take off?

March 07 2014 at 1:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
John G

Currently I'm working on Bit-Pot Shop! Where you can go and buy legal pot, smoke it and watch it all go up in smoke:) Just like our Government:)

March 07 2014 at 12:55 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
maswain002

We can only hope that the Winky Twins will both go on the same flight and that they somehow miss the left hand turn into the earth sub orbit.
I'd hate to lose others when they shot off irreversibly into the great unknown, but bitcoin and everyone else will be better off without them.
Bitcoins as currency to travel into space.......wonderful.
The WinkleToes not coming back......priceless, in bitcoin, gold or other currency.
Bon Voyage doucheys!!

March 07 2014 at 12:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
steves1709

Branson better convert them to dollars ASAP before the bitcoins and their exchange rate disappear...

March 06 2014 at 11:30 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
bcrnbs2

doea my car deler take bitcoins.??

March 06 2014 at 5:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bcrnbs2

if bitcoins are so great why dont we pay our national debt with them and be done...

March 06 2014 at 5:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Stopwatch53

never mind so cial security when will welfare go broke

March 06 2014 at 1:26 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Stopwatch53's comment
rwa325

What does welfare and Social Security have to do with bit coins and commercial sub-orbital space flight?

March 06 2014 at 2:49 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
tony

dec 9th, 2028

March 07 2014 at 2:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
alfredschrader

The Space Ship business has its ups and downs but Richard Branson is still a great guy.

March 06 2014 at 11:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply