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By Stergios Georgopoulos
Elon Musk confirms first SpaceX ocean spaceport is under construction
by Stergios Georgopoulos
Last year, SpaceX announced plans to build floating spaceports for space travel and hypersonic flights around the Earth. The floating launchpads, built on refurbished oil platforms, will serve as a launch and landing platform for the Starship rocket, a spacecraft that the company intends to use to fly astronauts to the Moon, as well as for the exploration and habitation of Mars in the coming years.
On Sunday, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted that Deimos, the first of the two platforms, is under construction and is expected to become operational next year. Both launchpads, the other one being Phobos, are named after Mars’ moons. The tweet was in response to a fan, who shared a rendered concept image of the offshore spaceport.
Earlier this month, the company performed a successful soft landing of the latest iteration of Starship, dubbed SN15, for the first time. Previous tests of older prototypes all saw the spacecraft blow up at landing and had varying degrees of success.
Clubhouse announces global launch of Android app this week
by Subir Kathuria
Clubhouse launched in March of 2020 as an invite-only social media app for iOS where users communicate in voice chat rooms that accommodate groups of up to 5,000 people. The audio-only app hosts live discussions, with opportunities to participate through speaking and listening.
After launching its Android app last week in beta, the social audio platform announced it will roll out to more countries in the coming week. The launch will be staggered one, starting with Brazil, Japan, and Russia on Tuesday, India, and Nigeria by Friday, and the rest of the world by end of the week.
Clubhouse was only available on iOS devices at launch and remains an invite-only social media platform. Despite this restriction, it has grown to over 10 million users in just a year since its launch. Its success has also prompted other dominant social media platforms like Twitter and Discord to introduce Clubhouse-like features in their apps. Twitter introduced Spaces and Discord has Stage Channels.
It is used by many famous celebrities like Oprah, Drake, Elon Musk, among others. Elon Musk even invited Russian President Vladimir Putin for a discussion on Clubhouse a few months ago, which apparently never happened. Having such high profile user base has led to the platform been valued at over $4 billion dollars after the latest round of funding.
Elon Musk is quite active on Clubhouse and keeps having discussions with celebrities. It was in one of his Clubhouse conversations where he had stated his support for Bitcoin, following which the prices of the cryptocurrency soared. Just recently Elon Musk announced that Tesla would stop accepting Bitcoin as a payment method which lead to the cryptocurrency losing almost 10% of its value overnight.
Source: Clubhouse via TechCrunch| Image source: Penplusbytes
SpaceX and Google Cloud join hands for Starlink internet connectivity
by Subir Kathuria
Google and SpaceX today announced that they have entered into a partnership that will allow Starlink to install terminals at Google’s cloud data centers around the world starting with the first one at New Albany, Ohio in a deal that could last seven years, according to people familiar with the matter.
Google said that the combined benefits of the partnership, which include secure data delivery to remote areas of the world, will be available to customers by the end of 2021. The Starlink satellite internet will rely on Google’s private fiber-optic network to quickly make connections to cloud services and deliver applications and data to customers.
This type of deal is a win-win for Google who is locked in a fierce battle with both Amazon and Microsoft in the cloud computing market. While Google’s cloud business grew 46%, Amazon's Web Services posted 32% revenue growth in the first quarter and Microsoft Azure which is under the “Intelligent Cloud” business grew by 23%. “Applications and services running in the cloud can be transformative for organizations, whether they’re operating in a highly networked or remote environment,” Urs Hölzle, senior vice president of infrastructure at Google Cloud, said in the press release.
As for SpaceX, it is in a race with Amazon's budding Kuiper Project which aims to launch more than 3,000 satellites in roughly the same orbit as Starlink to also provide global broadband internet.
Commenting on the partnership, SpaceX President and Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell said:
SpaceX has more than 1,500 satellites currently in orbit. A Starlink beta program started last year has at least 500,000 deposits of $99 placed by potential customers of the service across the US, Canada, and a few European countries.
Source: Google via The Verge & CNBC | Image credit: Cobrt-Archive
Tesla stops taking Bitcoin for vehicle purchases after just 49 days
by Subir Kathuria
Tesla started accepting bitcoin in late March. But 49 days later, the company has had a change of heart.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk says it would resume accepting bitcoin when the process of mining bitcoin “transitions to more sustainable energy." The company is also “looking at other cryptocurrencies that use <1% of Bitcoin’s energy/transaction.”
Musk has also stated that Tesla will not sell any more of the $1.5 billion of bitcoin it purchased at the start of this year. Tesla sold some of that bitcoin in the first quarter of 2021, which was done primarily to help the company’s quarterly profit figures.
Just a day before the Tesla CEO had posted a poll on Twitter asking if people want Tesla to accept Dogecoin, in which over 78% of respondents said yes to adding the cryptocurrency as a means of payment on the Tesla website.
According to one estimate Bitcoin uses up as much electricity annually as the Netherlands. All that energy comes with a huge carbon footprint. And it's not easy to fix because the blockchain that the cryptocurrency is built on is purposely energy inefficient. That clashes with Tesla’s mission to “accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.”
Musk has also hyped another cryptocurrency, Dogecoin. Musk has called Dogecoin, which was invented as a joke to satirize bitcoin, his favorite cryptocurrency and “the people’s crypto.” The cryptocurrency’s worth plunged after Musk called it a “hustle” on Saturday Night Live. Bitcoin’s value has similarly plunged about 8 percent after today’s Musk tweet according to Coindesk.
Elon Musk confirms that you can now use Bitcoin to buy a Tesla
by Anmol Mehrotra
Back in February, Tesla announced that it had made a $1.5 Billion investment into Bitcoin and is planning to add Bitcoin as a mode a payment. Now, the company has confirmed that customers can buy Tesla cars using Bitcoin.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk confirmed on Twitter that customers in the US can now book cars using Bitcoin. He further noted that the company plans to expand the ability to buy Tesla using Bitcoin to other countries later this year. Musk also confirmed that Tesla will operate the Bitcoin node directly and will not convert Bitcoin to fiat currency (like USD, EUR, etc).
Tesla has also published a FAQ page answering some of the basic questions regarding the announcement. The company has clarified that it will only accept Bitcoin and will not deal with other cryptocurrencies. According to the FAQ, once the customer initiates the transaction, a timer will begin, and the customer will have to complete the transaction before the timer ends or the transaction will expire. The timer is added to ensure that Tesla or the customer does not incur a loss due to price fluctuation especially during extreme volatility in the crytocurrency market. Tesla also recommends the customers to send the payment in one transaction to avoid any delays with the order.
Immediately after Elon's tweet, Bitcoin saw a spike in the price. Currently, Bitcoin is trading at $57,081, up 3.4% from yesterday's price of $54,350. Bitcoin has seen an increase in popularity recently with companies like Apple working with cryptocurrency companies to add support for cryptocurrency payments. PayPal, on the other hand, acquired Curv to improve its cryptocurrency expertise.
However, not everyone is excited about cryptocurrency boom as the Indian government is working on a new bill to penalise traders, miners, and digital asset holders.