Winklevoss twins use bitcoins to book space trip

SAN FRANCISCO Thu Mar 6, 2014 2:52am IST

Cameron Winklevoss (L) and brother Tyler Winklevoss leave the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals after a hearing on a settlement dispute with Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg in San Francisco, California January 11, 2011. REUTERS/Stephen Lam/Files

Cameron Winklevoss (L) and brother Tyler Winklevoss leave the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals after a hearing on a settlement dispute with Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg in San Francisco, California January 11, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Stephen Lam/Files

Related Topics

Stocks

   

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

Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, who famously accused Facebook Inc (FB.O) 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 are not 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 (100 km) above Earth, high enough to see the curvature of the planet set against the blackness of space.

(Reporting by Noel Randewich; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Tech Buzz

Reuters Showcase

Google Drones

Google Drones

Google tests drones for deliveries.  Video 

New iPhone

New iPhone

Apple working with NXP for pay-by-touch technology in new iPhone - FT.  Full Article 

Legal Case

Legal Case

Bitcoin promoter to plead guilty to unlicensed money transmission.  Full Article 

Online Crackdown

Online Crackdown

China's Tencent shuts messaging accounts after censorship rules - state media.  Full Article 

Hot Commodity

Hot Commodity

Data scientists are increasingly becoming important to the world's tech companies.  Video 

Agriculture App

Agriculture App

CME Group smartphone game lets students "beef up" on ag economics.  Full Article 

Copyright Dispute

Copyright Dispute

Oracle loses bid to restore $1.3 bln SAP verdict, could get new trial  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage