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Updated January 11th, 2024 at 13:34 IST

Elon Musk considers using Bitcoin on Mars

Musk shared the challenges posed by Bitcoin's current transaction speed, which can take up to one hour for confirmation.

Business Desk
Elon Musk
Elon Musk | Image:Republic
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Bitcoin on Mars: Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and founder of SpaceX, has expressed a nuanced stance on the feasibility of using Bitcoin as a form of currency for potential human colonies on Mars. This development emerged during a discussion on Space on X, formerly known as Twitter, where Musk engaged with Cathie Wood, the CEO of ARK Invest.

While initially sceptical about the applicability of Bitcoin due to the long time required for transaction settlements, Musk reconsidered the idea. He shared the challenges posed by Bitcoin's current transaction speed, which can take up to one hour for confirmation due to its 10-minute block assembly requirement. Musk contended that the significant time lapse between Earth and Mars—approximately 12 light minutes—would necessitate a more localised network on Mars to facilitate efficient transactions.

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Using localised Lightening Network

However, Musk later entertained the possibility of using Bitcoin with the implementation of a localised Lightning Network. This perspective aligns with insights provided by Bitcoin core developer Matt Corallo, who also acknowledged the potential of a Lightning Network to mitigate transaction speed issues. In contrast, Adam Back, the CEO of Blockstream, expressed optimism, asserting that the 10-minute block intervals would suffice even with the 12-22 light-minute distance between Earth and Mars.

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Recent data from Glassnode highlighted the increasing efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the Bitcoin Lightning Network. As per Glassnode's findings from April 2023, the Lightning Network offers a significantly lower cost structure, approximately 1,000 times cheaper than conventional payment processors like Mastercard or Visa.

Amid these discussions, speculation has arisen regarding Musk's plans for incorporating cryptocurrency features into X, his envisioned "everything app." While reports from January 2023 suggested potential crypto integration within X's payment functionalities, Musk clarified in August 2023 that he had no intentions of launching a proprietary crypto token on the platform.

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Published January 11th, 2024 at 13:34 IST

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