Virgin Group founder and the richest man in the UK Sir Richard Branson expressed his support of digital currency while giving an interview to Bloomberg News. The entrepreneur called bitcoin a finctional, still volatile, currency.
The billionaire told Bloomberg News that bitcoin is already working. He said: “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.”
Although Branson stated that bitcoin is volatile, he added that it is not too bad. “It is quite volatile, but in volatility people can make money,” he said.
The entrepreneur also reminded that Virgin Galactic began accepting payments in cryptocurrency in November 2013.
Mr. Branson said: “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.”
In January, Branson revealed that “six or seven” people paid in bitcoin for their place on board of the Virgin Galactic spaceship.
Over the recent months, Virgin Galactic has carried out a lot of tests of its hardware. However, Branson says that setting up an infrastructure for commercial spaceflights has been rather difficult. Although Virgin Galactic’s rockets are being tested now, the remained infrastructure is already built.
“Early next year we will finally be up and away,” he said. Virgin Galactic is aimed at flying tourists to space using its SpaceShipTwo craft, a vehicle designed to fly to the edge of space.
It has passed three test flights already, with the craft reaching 71,000 feet. Partially, the vehicle is based on the technology of SpaceShipOne, the craft that finished the first manned private spaceflight in 2004.
Besides decision to accept digital currency, Branson made another step to enter the bitcoin community by making investments in BitPay payment processor.
He participated in Series A funding round for BitPay that raised $30 million. Such companies as Index Ventures, AME Cloud Ventures, Founders Fund, RRE Ventures and other firms took part in the funding round. Until now, it is the largest sum raised for a bitcoin company.
Brason’s comments about the digital currency is good for bitcoin as it can make people more interested in digital currency.