We were talking recently with an executive in the adtech startup scene and got onto the subject of Bitcoin, and how much money was pouring into — and coming out of — the online cryptocurrency in the San Francisco and Silicon Valley area.
This source told us that he had heard about a guy who had made more than $200,000 from trading Bitcoin, and had used it to charter a rocket into space.
Turns out, it's true.
Not just a little bit true but sixfold true: Virgin Galactic confirmed to Business Insider this week that "a handful" of people have paid the $250,000 fare to ride on Virgin Galactic, Richard Branson's private commercial rocket ship, beyond the Earth's atmosphere. Coindesk, the Bitcoin news site, reports that "a handful" in fact equals six.
David Clark, a spokesperson for Virgin Galactic told us that the company uses Bitpay to accept Bitcoin as payment for reservations. "The reason we accept Bitcoin was to learn an innovative business," he says.
Customers have to go through Astronaut Club training first. They also get three trips to Necker Island, the Caribbean island that Richard Branson has a vacation home on, and a zero-G practice flight.
Virgin Galactic will begin ferrying passengers beyond the atmosphere probably in 2015. The company has 700 bookings in total.
BI expressed surprise that so many customers were using Bitcoin to buy their tickets: "There are people who speculate on Bitcoin who have done enormously well out of it," Clark said. "It's the perfect time to exchange some Bitcoin for a space flight."
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