Launch of private moon rover this year will kick off lunar Bitcoin treasure hunt

Lunar Outpost's MAPP Rover
A prototype of Lunar Outpost's MAPP rover. (Image credit: Lunar Outpost)

Cryptocurrency is going to the moon.

Partnering with the planetary mobility firm Lunar Outpost, the California-based social intelligence company LunarCrush plans to deliver a treasure chest of 62 Bitcoins currently worth about $1.5 million to the surface of the moon.

"The Bitcoin bounty, dubbed Nakamoto_1, will be unlocked by the first space traveler to reach the moon and obtain the wallet's private key, which will be etched onto a Lunar Outpost MAPP rover launching into space later this year," a press release about the project states.

Related: How blockchain can change the space industry

Animation studio Golden Wolf, along with Bitcoin developer tools company Hiro, has collaborated with LunarCrush to conduct this extreme treasure hunt. These partners will sell an exclusive NFT collection to generate the money needed for the Bitcoin bounty, which is intended to inspire the next generation of interplanetary exploration. The sale began March 28 at

"When you put out a seemingly unachievable goal, the innovation that happens can be incredible. Our goal is to inspire people to build communities that will unlock a new era of exploration," LunarCrush CEO Joe Vezzani said in the press release. 

"We envision classrooms, groups, companies and even DAOs [decentralized autonomous organizations] coming together to reach the moon and split the treasure chest's rewards," Vezzani added. "It's like Willy Wonka's 'golden ticket' for the Web3 era, and we couldn't be more excited to see how it all unfolds."

Lunar Outpost's MAPP is scheduled to launch late this year atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The rover will touch down near the moon's south pole aboard Intuitive Machines' Nova-C lander.

After MAPP hits the gray dirt, any ambitious citizen on Earth can devise a mission to reach it and unlock the golden reward. 

"What may sound outlandish to some will open new frontiers that haven't been explored outside the mind in a long time. Future generations will look to us as pioneers of interplanetary exploration and adventure," Forrest Meyen, co-founder and chief strategy officer at Lunar Outpost, said in the press release.

"LunarCrush is using modern blockchain technology to deliver a treasure instead of organizing a prize committee. This structure incentivizes exploration while unlocking the best of human ingenuity," Meyen added. "Lunar Outpost is proud to provide our first-in-history commercial lunar surface transportation to innovative projects like Nakamoto_1."

Per the press release, 25% of each NFT sale ($250 each) will be applied toward funding the moon-bound treasure chest, and another 25% of the proceeds will help fund a general "community marketing wallet" to aid future Bitcoin core development and causes related to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education.

Global animation and design studio Golden Wolf was contracted to conceive the NFTs and special imagery that range from static images to heavily animated collectibles to set the proper outer space tone.

"We loved the idea that the art could inspire a new generation of young people to look to the stars, like a contemporary version of an Apollo 11 poster on a bedroom wall," Ingi Erlingsson, founder and CEO of Golden Wolf, said in the press release. "We wanted the aesthetic to feel modern and unique, with a hint of vintage sci-fi art."

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Jeff Spry
Contributing Writer

Jeff Spry is an award-winning screenwriter and veteran freelance journalist covering TV, movies, video games, books, and comics. His work has appeared at SYFY Wire, Inverse, Collider, Bleeding Cool and elsewhere. Jeff lives in beautiful Bend, Oregon amid the ponderosa pines, classic muscle cars, a crypt of collector horror comics, and two loyal English Setters.