The rise of an asset’s price to the moon is not uncommon in the cryptocurrency market. But, now crypto exchange BitMEX plans to do this literally with Bitcoin (BTC). The exchange will mint a one-of-a-kind Bitcoin coin and place it on the moon in collaboration with space robotics company Astrobotic.
The commemorative coin will have a value equal to one Bitcoin. It will display the name of the mission, the creator (BitMEX), the date it was minted, and the BTC price at the time of minting. The coin will be similar to the Casascius coins of 2013 and its address will be released publicly.
Astrobotic is planning to send its first commercial lander Peregrine-1 to the moon in Q4, 2020. According to Bitmex “The payload is occupying an official slot on the manifest. It will be the first-ever bitcoin to be on the surface of the Moon, with photographic evidence taken to prove it.”
Bitmex CEO Alex Höptner also had something to say about his main competitor in putting cryptocurrencies on the moon – SpaceX founder Elon Musk:
One Dogecoin (DOGE) protagonist recently said he plans to send Doge to the Moon. “We’ve nothing against Dog Money, we felt it was only right to help bitcoin get there first.” Elon Musk has tweeted about taking DOGE to the moon. SpaceX is also set to launch a Dogecoin-powered DOGE-1 mission in Q1, 2022.
Peregrine Mission One
The Peregrine Mission One will carry 28 uncrewed payloads to the moon, including 14 from NASA. The Pittsburg, PA-based Astrobotic was awarded $79.5 million by NASA to deliver the payloads on the lunar lander in July, 2021.
The 28 payloads represent 8 different countries, according to the company, and they include “resource development, scientific investigation, technology demonstration, exploration, marketing, arts, and entertainment.”
Commenting on the agreement with NASA, Astrobotic CEO John Thornton said: “Today is a historic day for Astrobotic and the commercial lunar market.”
“NASA’s confidence in our services is a testament to the hard work of the Astrobotic team…we are proud to join NASA in returning America to the Moon.”
BitMEX is a Seychelles-based cryptocurrency and derivatives platform. The exchange handles prices in BTC only. BitMEX was recently in the news for pledging to be carbon neutral, starting with offsetting emissions related to withdrawals by donating “at least $0.0026 for every $1 of blockchain fees.”
In 2019, the CFTC started investigating BitMEX about allowing U.S. traders to use the exchange. The exchange can’t do so without registering with the CFTC. In October 2020, BitMEX founder Arthur Hayes and two other executives – Benjamin Delo and Samuel Reed – were charged by the DoJ with violating the Bank Secrecy Act and conspiracy to violate the act. The three will face trial in the U.S. this coming March.
While it isn't expected to be carrying any minted Dogecoins on it, the DOGE-1 Mission does have a strong cryptocurrency involvement: it's the first-ever commercial lunar payload to be paid completely with the cryptocurrency. The mission will use SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket to take a 40 kg cubesat – developed by Alberta, CAN-based GEC – as rideshare to obtain lunar data.