A Small Step for a Man, One Giant Leap for Cryptokind

The world’s first cryptonaut, Victor Correa Hespanha, gets a high five as he emerges from the New Shepard capsule after his spaceflight. (Credit: Blue Origin)

There’s a new space agency and category of space explorer. Earth and space will never be the same.

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

First, there were astronauts. Then billionauts and millionauts. And now, there’s…cryptonauts!?

A 28-year old civil production engineer from Brazil named Victor Correa Hespanha claimed the title of the first cryptonaut when he flew to space aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard vehicle last Saturday. Although his time above the Karman line lasted mere minutes, Victor was able to claim to be the second Brazilian to reach space.

To reach space, Hespanha bought a non-fungible token (NFT) as part of a fly to space competition run by the Crypto Space Agency. The organization told SpaceNews that it sold about 300 NFTs at a cost of approximately $450 apiece before selecting Hespanha to go to space. The income didn’t cover the cost of the flight due to the small number of NFTs sold and a sharp decline in value of the cryptocurrency in general.

CSA (not to be confused with the Canadian Space Agency) said it plans to send more NFT buyers into space in the months and years ahead. The company’s other goals are, in order listed on the company’s website:

  • seek first contact with extra-terrestrial intelligence
  • protect the planet from catastrophic asteroid impacts
  • explore unknown off-world opportunities.

Ambitious goals, all. First contact with ET would be historic. I wonder if aliens use crypto.

Not to be outdone, the Space Coin Project has launched a similar project to launch cryptonauts into space with even more soaring rhetoric.

Jason Chang (CEO, Space Coin Project), when asked about the motivation behind the creation of the all-new governance token said, “Our mission is to create a social movement with a decentralized organization at its core to represent the community of space enthusiasts around the world.” He further stated that the Space Coin Project aims to solve most of the major challenges associated with space travel by creating a decentralized system that gives everyone in the community a chance to purchase a ticket on a space flight.

The Space Coin Project strives to create a fair indexable market value for the cost of a trip to space and to open the opportunity for space travel to everyone using a model of collective purchasing power similar to Groupon.

Well, good luck with that. It’s doubtful that prices will come down any time soon. Blue Origin, SpaceX and Virgin Galactic have spent far too much developing their systems. And there’s no shortage of wealthy people who want to fly.

And is Groupon still even a thing?