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SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has said any future economy on Mars could be cryptocurrency based.

The tech billionaire, who is one of the co-founders of online payments giant PayPal, hopes to send the first humans to Mars as early 2024, with the ultimate aim of setting up a “self-sustaining city on Mars as soon as possible".

Responding to a Twitter thread started by AI researcher Lex Fridman, Mr Musk agreed a “Mars economy will run on crypto”, suggesting it could be with the novelty cryptocurrency dogecoin or the fringe cryptocurrency Marscoin.

The Marscoin project was founded in 2014 and saw a brief surge in popularity during the cryptocurrency market bull run in late 2017 but has since drifted into obscurity. The altcoin currently has a market cap of less than $100,000, according to CoinMarketCap.

Dogecoin could be a more likely candidate, given it continues to be relatively popular and shares many of the same decentralised attributes as bitcoin.

The SpaceX founder has frequently spoken of his ambition to travel to Mars in his lifetime and earlier this year ordered employees to accelerate the development of the next-generation Starship rocket.

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A 12.5km flight test of a Starship prototype took place earlier this month, with plans to build a 1,000-strong fleet of the spacecraft – each one capable of carrying up to 100 people.

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According to the Terms of Service of SpaceX’s Starlink internet project, any future settlements on the Red Planet would “recognise Mars as a free planet”, adding that “no Earth-based government has authority or s...

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