CNBC reported on Friday that Sir Richard Branson has permitted his space startup, Virgin Galactic, to accept Bitcoin as fare for a flight to space.
Branson made the announcement in a blog post at Virgin. "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."
"I have invested in some Bitcoins myself, and find it fascinating how a whole new global currency has been created," Branson added.
As popular as Bitcoins are now, Branson observed that their evolution followed a similar path as his company. "A few years ago many people had doubts about whether Virgin Galactic would ever get off the ground. Now we have gone supersonic," he said. "The days of carrying cash and coins could soon be over."
The first Bitcoin purchase of space tickets was by a flight attendant in Hawaii. As a Bitcoin enthusiast, Branson noted the woman is a successful investor in the Bitcoin market. "[She made] quite a lot of money getting into Bitcoin early on," he said.
As a forward-looking company, Virgin seeks to embrace Bitcoin as a new form of payment and perhaps as the future of currency exchange. "Sometime in the future, innovative payment models such as Square, Clinkle and Bitcoin will become serious challengers to traditional banks, which will spur more competition and give customers even more options," Branson wrote. "We would be delighted to welcome more of the Bitcoin community as future astronauts."
Branson sent a tweet out before he joined CNBC anchors to discuss the change:
— Richard Branson (@richardbranson) November 22, 2013
In the interview, Branson said, "Virgin Galactic is a bold entrepreneurial technology. It's driving a revolution. And Bitcoin is doing just the same when it comes to inventing a new currency."[Image via YouTube]