Elon Musk Initially Disses, Then Considers Using Bitcoin On Mars

Here are some of the major developments in the world of cryptocurrencies over the past few days.
Here are some of the major developments in the world of cryptocurrencies
Here are some of the major developments in the world of cryptocurrencies

Elon Musk's stance on utilizing Bitcoin as a currency on Mars has undergone a notable evolution from initial scepticism to cautious consideration. Initially resistant due to Bitcoin's prolonged transaction settlement time, Musk, in a Space on X conversation with ARK Invest CEO Cathie Wood, remarked, "It would make sense to use some kind of cryptocurrency on Mars; you couldn’t use Bitcoin because the reconciliation is too long." This scepticism is rooted in Musk's overarching vision of establishing a human colony on Mars by 2050, underlining the necessity for humanity to become a multi-planetary species.

However, Musk, known for his inventive thinking, later reflected on the possibility of employing Bitcoin on Mars after a solo brainstorming session. Despite acknowledging challenges, he suggested it might be feasible, considering the shorter communication lag between Earth and Mars compared to the sun. Musk highlighted potential obstacles and hinted at the need for a localized network on Mars to facilitate extensive Bitcoin use, stating, "Mars can be like twenty light minutes away. So, it is not easy, there would have to be a localized thing on Mars." Subsequently, he entertained the idea of addressing Bitcoin's slow transaction speed through a localized Lightning Network, aligning with Bitcoin core developer Matt Corallo's perspective. This discussion unfolded amidst debates over Bitcoin's current one-hour transaction confirmation time, requiring six blocks within 10-minute intervals on its blockchain. As Musk envisions transforming his platform, X, into an "everything app," speculation arises regarding the potential integration of cryptocurrencies, although Musk explicitly stated on X in August 2023 that he "never will" launch a crypto token on the platform.

Bitcoin ETF speculation engraved into the Bitcoin blockchain reflecting Satoshi's style

In a unique twist of creativity, a Bitcoin user recently encoded the anticipation surrounding a potential Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) approval by inscribing "SEC Chairman on the brink of second ETF approval" in a Bitcoin transaction's OP_RETURN field. Executed on Jan. 9 at 7:24 pm UTC, this symbolic act pays homage to Satoshi Nakamoto's iconic inclusion of "Chancellor on the brink of second bailout for banks" in the genesis block, solidifying the sentiment within the immutable realm of the blockchain.

Despite the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) yet to greenlight a single spot Bitcoin ETF, the reference to a "second ETF approval" hints at the prior approval of a Bitcoin futures ETF in October 2021. This context offers insight into the choice of language, where the term "second" may echo Nakamoto's original inscription. Intriguingly, just before this occurrence, a false message from the SEC's official account claimed the approval of all spot Bitcoin ETFs, leading to a swift correction by SEC Chair Gary Gensler, who attributed the misinformation to a compromised account. This incident has since prompted three U.S. senators to call for an investigation into the security breach.

SEC says it’s coordinating with FBI to investigate 'compromised' ETF tweet

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has disclosed its collaboration with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to probe a tweet released from its X (previously Twitter) account on January 9. The tweet, asserting the approval of spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) in the U.S., was labelled "unauthorized" and not originating from SEC officials, as clarified in a statement on January 10. SEC Chair Gary Gensler posted on X, indicating that the official SEC account had been "compromised" by an unidentified entity, prompting an investigation jointly conducted by the SEC, FBI, and the commission’s Office of the Inspector General.

The SEC cautioned the public against relying on the tweet and affirmed that any official approval of a rule change enabling the listing and trading of a spot Bitcoin ETF would be formally communicated through its website. Following this clarification, the SEC indeed published the pertinent information. Notably, various spot Bitcoin ETF offerings from companies such as ARK 21Shares, Invesco Galaxy, VanEck, WisdomTree, Fidelity, Valkyrie, BlackRock, Grayscale, Bitwise, Hashdex, and Franklin Templeton were subsequently eligible for listing on U.S. exchanges. Gensler emphasized that the commission's approval pertained to the exchange-traded products and did not constitute an endorsement or approval of Bitcoin itself.

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