250,000 US Dollars or 297 Bitcoins (at 840$/BTC). This is what a space travel costs with Virgin Galactic, Virgin Group’s company that is specialized in space tourism.
The price is visible on Virgin Calactic’s website and also mentioned by Virgin’s founder, billionaire businessman Richard Branson, in an interview for CNBC, stating he invested in Bitcoin in the past..
This news coincides with the creation of BTCTrip and an announcement by CheapAir, another travel agency that is already long in business, both now accept Bitcoin for flight and hotel bookings. So, currently one can travel around the world by air and space and pay with Bitcoin. And one day, who knows, also land; if another of Branson’s companies, like Virgin Trains, will accept it as a currency.
Branson doesn’t hide his enthusiasm for Bitcoin and other payment systems like Clinkle. According to him, they “will become serious challengers to traditional banks, which will spur more competition and give customers even more options” and, like the market sector that Bitcoin overtook, he adds, become more open to technological innovations and to the future in general.
Branson says he is aware of Bitcoin’s volatility: two years ago, the currency was trading just at US $10, but he doesn’t worry because he trusts on its upward trajectory. This trajectory opened (and opens) new doors for people who have relied early on Bitcoin, for they may now be able to access this service for initial figures considerably lower than the US$ 250,000 current tour price.
“Virgin Galactic is the future of travel. It’s time we let future astronauts pay with a futuristic currency.” – Richard Branson
According to Virgin, they have a first customer: A flight attendant from Hawaii who acquired her ticket with Bitcoins. The company has exchanged those for dollars immediately to have no risk to comply with their refund policy.
An enterprise like Virgin accepting Bitcoin for one of its branches is a big push in the process of monetization of Bitcoin. In this particular case – if it were adopted among the Virgin Group holding – it could also be the entering of this currency into daily life businesses like groceries, telecommunications, energy, hospitality, music or transport.
Branson envisions Virgin Galactic entering the international flights market, which could lead to Bitcoin’s entry in another brand new market. A flight from New York to Singapur, normally taking sixteen hours, would only last one hour.