Star Trek envisions a world where humanity has branched out past the confines of our home planet in the name of exploration and peace. LunarCrush, a crypto and NFT stock trading platform founded in 2018, has chosen a more prosaic motivation: cold hard cash.
A stash of 62 Bitcoin, currently worth approximately $1.5 million (although who knows how long that will last), is to be sent to the surface of the moon, the company announced recently – where it will wait to be claimed by anybody who happens to make it up there first.
To obtain the lunar millions, the prospective crypto hunter will need to locate a specific private key – a code that is planned to be etched onto a MAPP Rover provided by commercial space startup Lunar Outpost.
After receiving the code, the craft will then be launched into space via a SpaceX rocket in the latter quarter of this year. When exactly that’s going to happen is yet to be confirmed, however – an omission that LunarCrush puts down to “security reasons”.
Whatever those reasons, the delay is likely welcome: as it stands, the digital treasure chest is sitting pretty empty. LunarCrush is hoping to fund the prize by selling a collection of Bitcoin-secured NFTs, priced at $250. Of that, they say, one-fourth will go into the lunar stash; the same amount again will fund a “Community Marketing Wallet” dedicated to funding Bitcoin core development and STEM education-related causes (the destination of the other half of the total is left to our imaginations).
It's arguably something of a gamble to count on NFTs – a medium that is equally as famous for its flops and failures as its successes at this point. Worldwide interest in the once-Zeitgeisty tech has pretty much never been lower, with the average price dropping by close to 90 percent last year to well below the $250 price tag asked by LunarCrush.
While $1.5 million may sound like an enticing bounty, it pales in comparison to what a jaunt to the moon would likely cost, at least using current tech. It was less than a year ago that NASA boasted of how cheap its upcoming CAPSTONE moon mission was set to be – a trifle at just under $10 million. Even at that price tag, NASA isn't sending up any astronauts or rovers – just a single, microwave-oven-sized robotic probe that is only designed to orbit.
Of course, the teams behind the Bitcoin campaign refuse to let a simple thing like the limits of current human progress cow their aspirations: “When you put out a seemingly unachievable goal, the innovation that happens can be incredible,” said Joe Vezzani, CEO of LunarCrush, in a statement for PR Newswire.
“Our goal is to inspire people to build communities that will unlock a new era of exploration,” he said. “We envision classrooms, groups, companies, and even DAOs [decentralized autonomous organizations, referring to an organization running on blockchain] coming together to reach the Moon and split the treasure chest's rewards. It's like Willy Wonka's ‘golden ticket’ for the Web3 era, and we couldn't be more excited to see how it all unfolds.”
It's a surprising comparison: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is pretty famously a rags-to-riches story about how the purity of heart can triumph over greed and determination. Should anybody end up winning the stash of Bitcoin, on the other hand, they’ll need to be the kind of person or group able to drop at least seven figures on a pet project that will, perhaps, earn them back 10 percent of their spend.
So, less Charlie, more Veruca Salt. And we all know how that ended up, don’t we?