Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, bitcoin investors and villains of "The Social Network," have signed on to be the 700th and 701st passengers on Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo rocket plane. And in keeping with their evangelism for the virtual currency, the twins paid their fare in bitcoins.
"Cameron and I contemplate our tickets into space — as seed capital supporting a new technology that may forever change the way we travel," Tyler Winklevoss wrote in a blog post, "purchased with a new technology that may forever change the way we transact."
Depending on when the bitcoins where traded or cashed out, it would have cost the Winklevii (as they are inevitably referred to) somewhere around 450 coins per seat. Unfortunately, they can't have cashed out via BitInstant, the exchange in which they invested $1.5 million. That was shut down last July, and its CEO was arrested in January.
However they managed it, both the company and the air will be rarefied up there: Between Ashton Kutcher, Brad Pitt, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and of course Stephen Hawking, Virgin Galactic's passengers are a veritable who's who of planet Earth. Spaceflights could begin as early as this year, and the going rate for a seat is $250,000.
The two gained notoriety in the public eye after being portrayed in the movie "The Social Network" as vengeful early collaborators on what would later become Facebook, and suing Mark Zuckerberg over the issue. The film, although successful, has been criticized by some for historical inaccuracies. Since then, Cameron and Tyler have entered the venture capital space.
The Winklevii might make history as the first twins to visit space together — though not the first twins in space ever. That honor belongs to Mark and Scott Kelly, who have both left the planet, just never at the same time.
NBCUniversal has established a multi-platform partnership with Virgin Galactic to track the development of SpaceShipTwo and televise its inaugural commercial spaceflight.