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Entrepreneurs, Not Government, are Lowering the Cost of Space Travel

A connected world has ushered an age teeming with economic and social activity, as well as incredible scientific progress. Thus, many assume that humanity is invincible and that the solar system is our inevitable conquest.

Here’s a reality check: Humans are never more than one generation away from extinction: Posterity won’t exist if an asteroid crashes our blue planet and if we don’t have an alternative planetary habitat.

One consortium made up of cryptocurrency and fintech ventures is innovating a way for investors to allocate capital towards an initial exchange offering tied to the colonization of Mars and space exploration.

Cutting the Cost of Space Exploration

NASA (which has a $21 billion annual budget) has taken a lot of flack for its high cost of space exploration while not doing enough to send personnel and equipment throughout the solar system. The U.S. space agency recently said it would cost $50 million to travel to the International Space Station and $35,000 per night to stay. 

Critics further say that NASA’s funds are tied in a bloated bureaucracy that serves political, not scientific, interests.

Billionaire entrepreneurs like Richard Branson and Elon Musk have been working to cut costs: Virgin Galactic (Branson’s company) will charge just $250,000 to send passengers into suborbital flight nearly 50 years after the Apollo 11 mission. By 2023, Branson expects to generate $600 million in revenue after sending 1,562 customers on 270 flights.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX is also disrupting the industry through reusable Falcon 9 rockets that are the cheapest space-launch vehicles in the world. The California-based company is developing Starship, a reusable interplanetary transport system and space vehicle that can enable human colonization of Mars by 2035.

More investors are interested. (See below.)

Economic Interest in Space Travel

As any successful business owner knows, Richard Branson and Elon Musk show that it’s good designs that make a project successful. It’s not about the size of the budget (i.e., government bloat). Rather, it’s about smart deployment of capital and working with innovators who get results.

Capital formation is also important. This month, Unicorn Tokenization Corp. is launching the USPX token, where funds will be invested in direct or indirect economic interest of SpaceX. (There is no affiliation between the two.) “This token and similar projects could turn many people into stakeholders in the success of humanity,” says Valentin Preobrazhenskiy, CEO of LATOKEN, a digital asset exchange.

Crypto holders and Silicon Valley investors are supporting space-tech ventures, and it gives the industry a new source of liquidity. Billionaire Tim Draper, a big investor in Bitcoin as well as early backer of Skype and Tesla, has funded SpaceChain, an open-source network of satellites that’s powered by blockchain. 

Frictionless Pooling of Capital

The involvement of fintech firms is important for entrepreneurial ventures to succeed. Private capital is an alternative to less-efficient public-sector funding. Cryptocurrencies and digital-asset exchanges facilitate frictionless contributions to large causes or for-profit ventures whose cash-out timelines are far ahead in the future. These innovations were designed to make cross-border payments as painless as possible, as well as tap into a global base of support.

For example, digital exchanges can raise millions of dollars via their platforms in just a few minutes. Compare that to crowdfunding websites that raise the same amount of capital, but take weeks or months to do so. Secondly, tokenization of money allow global supporters to quickly send frictionless payments from anywhere.

“Given their position as aggregators of capital and their interest in building both traditional and crypto-native financial services, the exchanges are perfectly positioned to catalyze the adoption of Open Finance,” wrote Kyle Samani, managing partner at Multicoin Capital, in an Oct. 29 blog. “The exchanges aggregate capital, and they can strongly influence where and how that capital flows.”

A rational person would hope that more capital would be allocated towards innovations that give humanity a chance to explore and thrive on alternative habitats.

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