The paper “Marscoin: Trustless-Ledger Technology Implications for a Martian Society” by Lennart Lopin, James Burk, and Philipp Puaschunder presents a compelling vision for the use of blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies in future Martian colonies. It argues that the logistical and environmental challenges of Mars make traditional monetary systems impractical, proposing instead a digital, trustless ledger system embodied by “Marscoin.” This proposed cryptocurrency would not only facilitate economic transactions, property rights, and governance in a transparent and efficient manner but also introduce incentive structures to encourage energy efficiency, innovation, and the communal pooling of resources for the colony’s development. The implementation of Marscoin, starting from Earth and evolving with the Martian colony, is envisioned as a key driver for a self-sustaining, innovative society on Mars, leveraging the unique opportunities of blockchain technology to leapfrog traditional financial systems and establish a new model for space colonization.

Below a few quotes from the paper. For the full Whitepaper, click here.


“It stands to reason that early settlers on Mars will be disinclined to fell their few precious trees and turn them into pulp to print little pieces of paper representing monetary value. We can instead expect them to utilize the breakthrough in computer networking and digital ledger technology known as “blockchains” to efficiently and transparently foster economic development, build trade among themselves and Earth, and leapfrog Earth’s financial system…

Two factors prevent Bitcoin from ever playing a direct role on Mars: the speed of light in communication with planet Earth and the network effect of being “first.” Delay between the planets (“light speed penalty”) encourages a restart of Bitcoin on Mars: A “Marscoin”. 

The process is fairly easy: The first colonists will already bring with them some computing infrastructure that will very quickly replicate a local network of computers and most likely start out using the same TCP/IP protocol known on Earth (perhaps with some modifications). 

The decisions of the first few settlers will most likely determine their favorite ledger technology, but once a software client has been selected or perhaps even brought from Earth, nothing much remains to be done than to run mining nodes and allow colonists to keep a record of their “coins” with personal wallets. Over time, new features might be added to the blockchain or programs developed that interact with the blockchain via side-chains or as decentralized apps or as simple hash values anchoring external data into the immutable main Martian ledger.

This network ledger will operate with the speed of light on Mars and lend itself to a wide range of uses, for instance:

  • Keep track of sales
  • Property transfers
  • Permanent receipts
  • Votes
  • Immutable record of ideas/innovations
  • Immutable Record of data from factories, sensors, production

Similar to Bitcoin, the early Marscoin network “coins” will not be very valuable as such, but as scarce limited digital entities, they allow parties to “keep score” and account for transactions needed to fulfill a wider human social credit system.A Marscoin ledger functioning like Bitcoin immediately creates an interesting virtuous incentive: Those who come first, who decide to move to the colony and risk more as “early adopters,” gain the benefit of mining the currency when the number of participants is still low and the issuance of coins greater. A digital “gold rush” scenario. Tying this Marscoin network into a property-allocation system further increases the incentive to join the colony and pool resources into it…