SpaceX claims it will accept dogecoin, a satirical but popular cryptocurrency, as payment for an upcoming mission.
Geometric Energy Corporation, a Canadian company, confirmed that it will pay SpaceX entirely in dogecoin to secure a spot for an 88-pound satellite on the Doge-1 mission, which is scheduled to launch in early 2022. According to a press release, the satellite will “obtain lunar-spatial intelligence from sensors and cameras.”
“This is not a joke,” said Samuel Reid, CEO of Geometric Energy Corporation, over the phone. He declined to comment further on the transaction.
Dogecoin, on the other hand, began as a joke: the digital currency was created in 2013 by two software engineers, and its value and popularity are inextricably linked to internet memes and viral social media posts. Nonetheless, dogecoin has risen to become one of the market’s most popular cryptocurrencies, with SpaceX CEO Elon Musk among its most ardent and vocal supporters. He frequently tweets dogecoin-related jokes and claims the cryptocurrency is “underappreciated.”
Musk’s announcement that his space company would accept dogecoin as payment came the day after the CEO’s appearance on “Saturday Night Live” appeared to cause a sell-off in the currency. During a segment on the show, Musk called the coin “a hustle,” and the coin’s trading price dropped by 40%. Nonetheless, the cryptocurrency has been on a tear this year, increasing by more than 12,000 percent since January and by 800 percent this month alone.
It’s unclear what prompted the dogecoin sell-off. Perhaps investors expected Musk to say something more in favor of cryptocurrency. But it’s more likely that traders used a “buy the rumor, sell the news” strategy, in which they buy an asset based on speculation ahead of an event and sell it after the event occurs.
Dogecoin traded so actively that the popular trading app Robinhood announced early Sunday morning that it was experiencing difficulties processing cryptocurrency trades and was working to resolve the issue.
SpaceX did not respond to requests for more information about its agreement with Geometric Energy Corporation or its planned moon mission. However, the company’s vice president of commercial sales, Tom Ochinero, stated in a statement that the mission will “demonstrate the application of cryptocurrency beyond Earth orbit and set the foundation for interplanetary commerce.”
“Indeed, through this very transaction, DOGE has proven to be a fast, reliable, and cryptographically secure digital currency that operates when traditional banks cannot and is sophisticated enough to finance a commercial Moon mission in full,” the press release reads. “It has been chosen as the unit of account for all lunar business between SpaceX and Geometric Energy Corporation and sets precedent for future missions to the Moon and Mars.”
According to its website, Geometric Space Corporation was founded in 2015 and is primarily an intellectual property, manufacturing, and logistics company focused on renewable energy. However, it has recently launched a new division, “Geometric Space Corporation,” which focuses on organizing rideshares to space for small satellites. For example, the company announced a separate agreement with SpaceX to send a group of satellites on a ride-share mission to low-Earth orbit in June 2022.