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Buy your way into space with Bitcoins

Virgin boss Richard Branson has given peer-to-peer currency Bitcoin a boost in its claims to legitimacy, by telling reporters from CNBC on Friday that his space travel firm, Virgin Galactic, will accept Bitcoins as payment for seats on its sub-orbital flights – and indeed has. Tickets for a trip on a Virgin Galactic ship – which includes around six minutes of weightlessness – cost $250 000 (R2.5m), and an unnamed air stewardess bought on in BTC earlier this year.

We often get asked what you can actually buy with Bitcoins. Now we know.

The rise in value of cryto-currency Bitcoin has been spectacular in the last couple of weeks, with coins more than quadrupling in their worth since the start of the month. Mt Gox, the best-known Bitcoin exchange, was tracking Bitcoin at $176 a pop on November 1st, and is now showing them as exchanging hands for $840 each.

Branson was, apparently, an early investor in Bitcoin, which was trading for just $10 at the start of the year. The mogul told CNBC that he believes accepting Bitcoins carries little risk for his company.

In other Bitcoin-related news, researchers in Isreal believe that they’ve discovered a link between Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto and the now closed online drug market The Silk Road.

Given that the cost of a ticket on Virgin Galactic works out to less than 300 BTC at the moment, spare a thought for the guy who, in 2010, bought two pizza for 50 000 BTC each. Today that would get him 166 000km from Earth at Virgin rates (Space Ship 2 will fly to 100km when it launches for real) or just under halfway to the moon. Alternatively, with R400m in the bank, he could buy almost two Nkandlas.

(Image VSS Enterprise from Virgin Atlantic)

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