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.
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.