Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, recently entertained the idea of using Bitcoin on Mars, despite initial skepticism due to its transaction settlement time. Speaking in a Space on Twitter titled “ARK 21Shares Bitcoin ETF (ARKB) Approved,” with ARK Invest CEO Cathie Wood, Musk initially doubted Bitcoin’s viability on Mars, citing the lengthy reconciliation process as a hindrance.
Musk’s consideration aligns with his vision of establishing a human colony on Mars by 2050, advocating for humanity’s expansion beyond Earth for survival. He mused that while Mars is about 12 light minutes away from the sun, compared to Earth’s 8, using Bitcoin there could still be challenging due to the distance.
However, after further contemplation, Musk acknowledged the possibility of using Bitcoin on Mars, albeit with limitations. He suggested the need for a localized network on Mars, considering the planet can be up to twenty light minutes away. This led to a discussion about the potential of a localized Lightning Network on Mars to address Bitcoin’s slow transaction speeds.
Bitcoin currently requires up to one hour for transaction confirmation due to its 10-minute block assembly and a six-block confirmation process. Blockstream CEO Adam Back joined the conversation, expressing optimism that Bitcoin could work on Mars with or without a localized Lightning Network, given the 12-22 light minutes distance and 10-minute blocks.
Glassnode data from April 2023 highlighted that the Bitcoin Lightning Network is significantly cheaper than traditional payment methods, with transaction costs at 0.0029%, roughly 1,000 times cheaper than Mastercard or Visa.
Speculation also surrounds Musk’s plans for Twitter, with reports in January 2023 indicating that its payments feature might accommodate cryptocurrencies. However, Musk clarified in August 2023 that he has no intention of launching a crypto token on the platform.