Elon Musk sees bitcoin as having a long-term purpose, but “I don’t think it’s the second coming of the Messiah,” he stated this week at the Code Conference. The Tesla CEO said that ” It is not possible to destroy Crypto ”.
Bitcoin, according to the SpaceX and Tesla CEO, is primarily aimed at lowering the power of a centralized government, which irritates authoritarian countries like China, where cryptocurrency mining and trading was just declared banned.
According to Musk, any kind of money should be viewed as a type of information, and he is optimistic about crypto in part because he understands how money works in the actual world, as opposed to economic theory. Except for PayPal (which he co-founded) and a few others, the existing system relies on a variety of heterogeneous databases that aren’t real-time.
According to Musk, this causes latency and jitter, as well as security issues with the Automated Clearing House (ACH). He believes that cryptography will reduce the existing system’s errors and slowness, resulting in a more equitable system. Governments then won’t be able to “stick their hand in the cat jar,” he explained. “While it is impossible to eliminate cryptography, governments may slow it down.”
Musk, who holds the title of Tesla’s Technoking and Chief Engineer at SpaceX, was interviewed by Code producer Kara Swisher and discussed a wide range of topics, although space dominated their chat. When asked why he hasn’t launched himself into space yet, Musk stated that his goal is to open up space for humanity and eventually assist us in becoming a multi-planetary species.
At the moment, SpaceX provides orbital space flight as well as cargo and crew transport to the International Space Station. Furthermore, it enables Starlink, a global internet service provider with a focus on rural areas with limited broadband access. Starlink currently has 1,500 satellites in orbit, with a goal of 30,000 in the future. This will allow for high bandwidth and minimal latency, but it will necessitate a large number of low-Earth-orbiting satellites. He stressed that this is not a danger to 5G or terrestrial fiber, but rather well-suited to low-to-medium density areas on Earth, serving the least-served 5% of the planet.
Musk claims that the SpaceX launch industry generates $3 to $4 billion in revenue. However, 3% of worldwide internet revenue is $30 billion, and SpaceX plans to use the money to develop technology that would allow humanity to travel to Mars and other parts of the solar system, he said.
Musk also talks about SpaceX’s next-generation rocket, Starship. He pointed out that the present Falcon 9 is essentially reusable, but that the upper stage, which is the size of a small jet plane, must be discarded. In the best-case scenario, SpaceX is still “squandering $15 million” per trip. Due to the degree of reusability, this is still half to a third of the cost of alternatives. The goal of Starship is to make only 1% of the rocket non-reusable, allowing it to launch 100 to 150 tonnes for $1 million, delivering 10 times the payload for 15 times the cost. Musk is trying to figure out how to make a self-sustaining facility on Mars and the moon economically viable.
The Starship is a multi-purpose transport system with a propulsive lander that can land anywhere with a solid surface and is built for orbital refueling. When asked about a possible moonbase, Musk stated that “there is a lot we could learn scientifically if we had a laboratory on the moon, and it would be just frigging great,” adding that “it would be just frigging cool.” While only a few people were sent to the moon as part of the Apollo program, “we all went with them vicariously,” he said, and it inspired children all across the world.
Musk was disdainful of suborbital flights, such as the one done by Jeff Bezos recently. He pointed out that getting to orbit required 100 times more energy than getting to sub-orbit, and returning requires a unique heat shield. “You can’t sue your way to the moon,” Musk said of Bezos’ Blue Origin suing NASA over how it awarded a lunar lander contract to SpaceX.
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