The Winklevoss Twins Score Virgin Galactic Tickets to Space, Paying With Bitcoin
The Winklevii boys' small step toward outer space is a giant leap into mainstream for the digital currency.
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The Winklevoss twins are going to space and it's no surprise that they paid for their $250,000 Virgin Galactic ticket entirely with Bitcoin, something they're rumored to have a massive stash of.
The adventurous venture capitalist brothers, perhaps best known for their legal wrangle with Mark Zuckerberg over HarvardConnection -- um, we mean Facebook -- announced today they're officially scheduled to hitch a suborbital ride aboard British billionaire Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo.
The early Bitcoin backers, who reportedly own about 40,000 bitcoins (a cool $27 million or so in U.S. dollars), could blast off by the end of the year. At least that's around when Branson says his pioneering private spaceflight company is expected to make its maiden tourist voyage into space.
While rocketing 60 miles above Earth at three times the speed of sound, the lucky brothers Winklevii will glimpse a killer view of our planet while experiencing weightlessness for a few minutes.
Yeah, we're pretty jealous, too. Maybe they'll even float for a hot second or a few alongside fellow famous Virgin Galactic ticket holders, like Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio.
The New York native former Olympic rower twins broke the big news, which is a welcome relief on an otherwise brutal news day for Bitcoin, on their own Winklevoss Capital blog today, complete with a celebratory "thumbs-up" pic of themselves bookending Branson.
"Cameron and I have decided to use our bitcoin to take the plunge, or rather propulsion, into space," the blog post reads. "Why? Because Bitcoin and Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic are two technologies that meaningfully represent our focus at Winklevoss Capital -- the reduction of pain-points and friction in an effort to build a better world."
Tyler Winklevoss later took to Twitter to humblebrag that he and his brother are officially Virgin Galactic "astronauts" 700 and 701.
In November of last year, Branson announced on his blog that Virgin Galactic, one of 400 Virgin Group companies, would begin accepting bitcoin payments for suborbital flights. A Virgin Galactic flight attendant was the first to purchase a ticket using BTC.
"Virgin Galactic is one of the universe's most exciting, futuristic companies," Branson wrote. "Bitcoin, the virtual currency, has really captured the imagination recently as one of the world's most innovative businesses looking to the future. So we think it is about time Virgin Galactic customers can choose to pay with bitcoins."
Late last month the twins launched the Winkdex, a blended Bitcoin price index similar to CoinDesk's Bitcoin Price Index. And, according to the Winkdex, as of 5:22 p.m. ET today, the price of the volatile virtual currency was $658.82.