Sir Richard Branson: Bitcoin is Working

Nermin Hajdarbegovic
Sep 11, 2014 at 12:08 UTC
Updated Sep 22, 2014 at 15:04 UTC

Sir Richard Branson has revealed further support for bitcoin as a functional, albeit volatile, currency.

Asked in an interview with Bloomberg News whether the cryptocurrency will eventually work, the Virgin Group billionaire said that bitcoin is already working:

“I think it is working. There will be other currencies like it that may be even better, but in the meantime there’s a big industry around bitcoin. You know, people have made fortunes out of bitcoin, some people have lost money out of bitcoin.”

Making money on volatility

While Branson admitted that bitcoin remains volatile, he added that this is not necessarily a bad thing. “It is quite volatile, but in volatility people can make money,” he said.

The entrepreneur also reflected on Virgin Galactic’s decision to start accepting bitcoin payments last November:

“I am not foolish, if people have got lots of bitcoins and they want to go to space, I would much rather they spend that money on our spaceship […] a Virgin Galactic spaceship than on, you know […] Elon [Musk] will be sending people to space one day on Elon’s spaceships, so we’ll grab the money while it’s there.”

Earlier this year Branson said that Virgin Galactic had already received payment in bitcoin from six different customers.

SpaceShipTwo ready in early 2015

Virgin Galactic has been testing much of its hardware in recent months, but Branson admits building the infrastructure for commercial spaceflights has been hard. He told Bloomberg that Virgin’s rockets are still undergoing flight tests, but the rest of the infrastructure is already ready.

“Early next year we will finally be up and away,” said Branson.

Virgin’s goal is to fly tourists to space in suborbital flights, using its SpaceShipTwo craft.

In addition to Virgin Galactic’s decision to accept bitcoin payments, Branson has also made his mark in the wider bitcoin industry by investing in BitPay.

Branson took part in a $30m Series A funding round for the payment processor, along with Index Ventures, AME Cloud Ventures, Founders Fund, RRE Ventures and others. At the time it was the largest-ever funding round for a bitcoin company.

Watch the interview in full below:

Disclaimer: CoinDesk founder Shakil Khan is an investor in BitPay.

Image via Bloomberg