The bitcoin logo could soon be seen soaring over the Himalayas as gliding competition pilot Sebastian Kawa has confirmed it will appear on his glider during a trip to Mt. Everest next month.
The nine times winner of the World Gliding Championships is aiming to raise €50,000 ($67,745) by 30th November to fund his attempt to be the first person to glide to the top of the world's highest mountains. The Everest Gliding Project is accepting donations in both fiat currency and bitcoins.
The Polish national said he first heard about bitcoin about a year ago, but thought it was too complicated to get involved in. He continued to follow the progression of digital currency and decided it was worth using, but he hasn't invested large sums of money in bitcoin. He explained:
"Usually if I buy some currency it is just enough for my travel or a particular purchase. It is the same with bitcoin for me, so if I need it in a particular shop, I'll use it."
The 42-year-old is not yet sure where the bitcoin logo will be placed on the glider, as it depends which spaces are filled by the logos of corporate sponsors.
"What is complicating things is that the glider cannot be plastered all over with sponsors' logos. If a significant portion of the surface is not white, the glider warms up in the sun, the structure fails and we repeat the Icarus (mis)adventure," Kawa said.
Kawa explained that the flight will be extremely challenging as the glider's wing will be flying in difficult and so far unexplored conditions. He added:
"For this project the goal is to climb up to the highest peaks in the Himalayas using no engine, only the powers of nature – wind and thermal up currents."
Tomasz Szast, chief executive officer of Bitcoin.Travel, which is based in Poland, has donated to the Everest Gliding Project and said he believes digital currency has a lot in common with this mission, as both are attempting to push boundaries.
He thinks it's fantastic that the bitcoin community can rally around projects to take them from concept to reality, such as homeless charity Sean's Outpost's Satoshi Forest.
Sean's Outpost has huge support within the bitcoin community and the charity is now using donations to pay $600 per month in bitcoins to the owner of nine acres of wooded land in Pensacola, Florida, which is used as a homeless sanctuary.
Szast believes the bitcoin community could get behind the Everest Gliding Project in the same way. He also thinks bitcoin would benefit from having its logo on the glider – it would give the currency and the whole ecosystem some good press. He explained:
"Bitcoin has had a lot of bad press. It seems like every bitcoin article is about drugs, money laundering, hacks, extortion and anything else that seems like an enticing headline."
Showing that bitcoin can be used to help people break records and achieve their goals could start to change public perception of digital currency, Szast suggested.
Image credits: Piotr Szafranski