SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has decided to send the first humans to Mars as early 2024 and hopes to set up a self-sustained colony on the Red Planet. But recently he said that any future economy on that planet could be cryptocurrency-based.

Responding to a recent Twitter thread started by AI researcher Lex Fridman, the tech billionaire, who is one of the co-founders of online payments giant PayPal, agreed that a Mars economy will run on cryptocurrency. He suggested that it could be Dogecoin, or Marscoin, which "is dedicated to supporting the colonization of Mars and other space-related projects intended to get humans living and thriving off of planet earth."

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Planetary Cryptocurrency

In 2014, the Marscoin project with the help of its volunteers split 800,000 donations of Marscoins between The Mars Society, which is the world's largest and most influential space advocacy organization dedicated to the human exploration and settlement of the Red Planet, and MarsOne, which aims to establish a permanent human settlement on the planet and its crew will be going to live, explore, and create a second home for humanity on Mars.

"With your help – by adopting/utilizing/trading/donating Marscoin – we will be able to help fund mankind's first colony on Mars simply by kickstarting the financial system of the future Martian colony," said the Marscoin website.

Mars Mission
The new nuclear-powered rocket can take humans to Mars in just three months (artist's impression of humans on Mars) Wikimedia Commons

However, Dogecoin could be a more likely candidate as it is relatively more popular than Marscoin and shares many of the same decentralized attributes as Bitcoin. Last week, after Musk changed his Twitter bio to "Former CEO of Dogecoin" and wrote on the social media platform, "One word: Doge", the price of the cryptocurrency surged by more than a third. On Christmas day, Musk tweeted, "Merry Christmas & happy holidays!" attaching an image which included the dogecoin's logo, Shiba Inu dog.

Mars Colony Establishment

Earlier this year, Musk ordered SpaceX employees to accelerate the development of the next-generation Starship rocket, which will take humans to Mars. In October, SpaceX triggered a controversy after it said that it would not recognize international law on the Red Planet. According to the terms of service of SpaceX's Starlink internet project, "Disputes will be settled through self-governing principles, established in good faith, at the time of Martian settlement."

Musk hinted during a 2016 interview that his preference for a Martian government would be one based on direct democracy and said that "it would be people voting directly on issues".