Gods On The Moon

Gods On The Moon

Geometric Energy Corporation is “transforming civilization,” according to its website.

It’s also going to the moon. And it’s taking Dogecoin with it.

That’s not a joke. Or, actually, it is a joke, because it’s undeniably funny. But according to a press release, it’s as real as crypto isn’t (get it?).

“The DOGE-1 Mission to the Moon—the first-ever commercial lunar payload in history paid entirely with DOGE—will launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket,” the company declared, in the course of providing some sparse details about the mission. Apparently, one of the company’s mini-satellites will hitch a ride with SpaceX to the moon, where it will “obtain lunar-spatial intelligence from sensors and cameras on-board.”

Elon Musk, fresh off hosting Saturday Night Live, provided additional color. “SpaceX [is] launching satellite DOGE-1 to the moon next year,” he said, confirming that the mission was “paid for in Doge,” which will be the “first crypto in space” and also “the first meme in space.” (That’s assuming nobody puts a disk they bought at GameStop into orbit between now and then.)

Doge’s fan club didn’t seem particularly amused with Musk’s characterization of the digital coin as a “hustle” on SNL’s famed “Weekend Update” segment, during which he played “Lloyd Ostertag,” a financial analyst.

Musk also called himself the “Dogefather” on national television, a reference to Snoop Dogg’s second (and last) album on Death Row Records. Snoop (and other celebrities) have joined Musk in feeding the Dogecoin mania.

As ever, it’s impossible to know how to characterize this situation. You can’t satirize it. It’s immune to satire for two reasons.

First, it’s already satire. And everyone involved readily admits as much.

Second, it’s not clear that it’s entirely a joke anymore. Musk has (nearly) succeeded in turning Dogecoin into something that’s “viable.”

To be clear, I’m not even sure what “viable” means in this context, but the most important takeaway (from my perspective) is that Musk, like Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg, can shape reality. I’ve mentioned this countless times previous. He’s become a god of sorts.

Read more:

Gods Gone Wild: Musk, Putin And Dogecoin

It’s astounding to juxtapose Musk’s Dogecoin theatrics, his space ambitions and the interplay between Bitcoin and Tesla’s finances with the comparatively staid commentary one finds when flipping through financial television, parsing earnings calls from traditional companies and scanning the daily analyst color and desk chatter.

In short: We’re all becoming obsolete. In a hurry.

I have no idea whether the “DOGE-1” mission is even real (I assume it is), but there’s no reason why it can’t be, and that’s really the point. Musk can go to the moon (vicariously, for now) using a rocket he built on a mission paid for by a token he singlehandedly legitimized. And he can move the price of Bitcoin with his tweets which means that, all accounting stipulations aside, he can manipulate Tesla’s financial position at will.

This isn’t about crypto. It’s about recognizing the first manifestations of humans becoming gods in the 21st century. The irony is that capitalism made this endeavor possible by allowing folks like Musk to accumulate enough wealth denominated in traditional assets and currencies to transcend them entirely.

I’m fond of harkening back to an article from August called “Gods.” In it, I wrote that “when one combines the exponential nature of wealth creation in a capitalist system with modern market structure, the read-through is that a few fortunes will become so large, so fast, that the people associated with them will become gods,” beholden to no one — not regulators, not presidents, not nations.

We’re witnessing just that.

Consider that even crypto adherents are quickly finding themselves woefully behind Musk’s curve. Oh, you added Bitcoin to your balance sheet? That’s cute. Musk is funding a lunar mission with Dogecoin because… well, let’s face it, solely because he can. Which raises a whole host of other questions. He’s propelled a joke token to 75 cents on the dollar. Who’s to say he can’t propel it to $10 or $10,000? Dollars are inherently worthless, after all. And so is gold, by the way.

A recent Bloomberg headline read: “Crypto Pros Are Getting Tired of $79 Billion Dogecoin Joke.” Oh, well. They have no say in the matter.

In the same press release linked above, Geometric Energy said the DOGE-1 mission “will demonstrate the application of cryptocurrency beyond Earth orbit and set the foundation for interplanetary commerce.” That’s an actual quote. And so is this:

Indeed, through this very transaction, DOGE has proven to be a fast, reliable, and cryptographically secure digital currency that operates when traditional banks cannot and is sophisticated enough to finance a commercial Moon mission in full. It has been chosen as the unit of account for all lunar business between SpaceX and Geometric Energy Corporation and sets precedent for future missions to the Moon and Mars.

Again: I assume this is real, but I can’t be sure. Reached by The New York Times, a company representative confirmed to DealBook that the project was not a joke, “but declined to explain further.”

The fact that we’re left to wonder is just further evidence to support the contention that the joke’s on me. And on you. And on the Times. And on Bloomberg’s “crypto pros.” And on damn near everyone who hasn’t recently been imbued with godlike powers thanks to the rise of centibillionaires.

“To the mooooonnn!!,” Musk tweeted, announcing the mission.

He’ll probably tweet the same thing when the proverbial asteroid is hurtling towards Earth. How many of us will he take with him?


Addendum (and this is the kind of esoteric tangent fusing business and pop culture you’ll only get in these pages)

Those steeped in hip hop history will forever harbor mixed feelings about the Snoop Dogg album referenced by Musk on SNL. By most accounts, it was recorded under duress. Snoop has, of course, morphed into a beloved pop culture icon over the past two decades, but that stage in his career was marred by a harrowing effort to grab a life boat off Suge Knight’s Titanic, which was fast approaching the iceberg. The Death Row story would make for an interesting and highly engaging case study for business students. Knight is remembered mostly for his Corleone-esque extortion tactics, but he also knew his way around contract law. His company was a powerhouse among powerhouses in the mid-nineties. Retrospectives and documentaries understandably focus entirely on the music and a series of tragic outcomes, but from a business perspective, one of the most interesting things about Knight was his ability to strong-arm corporations. There are many explanations for the decline of organized crime in America, but one that’s often overlooked is the rise of multinationals and the decline of labor’s influence. Hackers can extort faceless multinational entities, but Paulie Walnuts can’t. Knight was able to fuse business acumen with mob tactics to exercise an incredible amount of influence over companies and people who shouldn’t have been amenable to bullying. In any case, for any business school profs or students reading, there’s an idea for a case study.


9 thoughts on “Gods On The Moon

  1. And some people “decided” Christo was a great artist!

    I choose to live my life in a parallel universe to Elon Musk, who can afford a 100% loss on all of his crypto and write it off as a fun adventure…..That’s just how my brain works!

  2. In my 40 year career as a business prof, I wrote more than 60 case studies, most co-authored with my wife, also a prof. In the last ten years there have been so many great potential cases out there — Tesla, Auto industry bankruptcies and consolidations, the 2008 mess (I did serve as a reviewer for one truly amazing case on Goldman. Then, of course, the rise of Google and Amazon. The conundrum of the future for Intel. The Boeing MAX mess would make a great case. So many great cases could be added to the literature for future students. I ran out of the energy to do any more myself but I do still review 10 or 15 a year new ones for three publishers. Sadly, nobody I can see has tackled anything as big as Musk yet (many cases possible for Musk’s career).

    As an aside. One of the courses I taught for many years was an MBA financial strategy seminar. One day before class the WSJ had published a front page article on the management prowess of the mob. In my class that nite I mentioned the article and then talked about some of the financial challenges faced by organized crime. Took a cigarette break halfway through the 3 hour class and when I came back there was a very believable note tucked into my copy of the course text suggesting that the mob topic really ought not to come up again. In those days many rising young leaders of crime families were getting MBAs quietly to deal with exactly the sorts of complexities I was talking about and I decided that while apparently having one of these guys in my class was interesting, special training was probably a bad idea.

    1. “Someday, Musk too … will grow old”

      You sure? And if so, are you sure his kids will? Because I can promise you that at some point over the next 50 or so years, there will be some serious advances in our understanding of mortality and how to beat it. Obviously, no one will be completely invulnerable (you could always die in a plane crash or a tsunami, etc.) but death of “natural causes” isn’t a certainty. It’s a technical problem. One day, we’ll overcome it. The folks with the money to invest in figuring out how, will be the ones who don’t, in fact, “grow old.”

      1. This is a serious point. Even in the most pessimistic case where we don’t solve biological aging… imagine a hologram of Musk with a GPT3 powered database of all his past thoughts and writings just being handed the keys to TESLA and SPACEX. We have algo traders… why not algo CEO’s?

  3. well if Doge goes higher than $1… just remember it takes about $1 of electricity to mine a Dogecoin on a normal PC so at $10,000 we’re all printing presses. Could it happen? Maybe? But I think beyond $1 we all just start the presses and the value cools rapidly or stabilizes around $1.

    Unlike BTC which takes about $10k or electricity to mine and a ton of hard to get hardware upfront to start trying makes the price tag a little easier to understand. There is no such crazy barrier to Doge.

    I suppose that is an argument for Doge being the next stablecoin. No need to even have an account on an exchange, just mine it at home and send it through wallets. Unlike centralized stables like Tether.

  4. And so , even if man succeeds to “beat” mortality …. the beauty and precious-ness of life does not lie in “lifespan inflation”

    “In time” starring Justin Timberlake has given us one Hollywood perspective at Immortality

    May I recommend.. Tao Te Ching by Lao Tze for bedtime readings

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