HOLBROOK, NEW YORK – In 2010, ATC Memes admin ‘LO’ charged Purdue students 5-10 bitcoin for him to custom design FSX aircraft. At the time, it was nearly worthless.
“I would design like, really stupid airplanes for people in FSX, literally it would take an hour, and I’d sell them for like, you know 5 bitcoin. 10 bitcoin. At the time, it was worthless stuff. In fact I forgot about it,” he said.
“I also used to play World of Warcraft, and my mom told me I would pretty much always be a virgin. Well, at the time, she was right, but I also sold all sorts of items in the game for 2, 3, 4 bitcoin each. Again, I forgot about most of them.”
That all changed in December 2017, when the 144 bitcoin he had was worth almost $2.5 million.
“I was pretty shocked. I knew I had sold some in 2013, but I had a bunch left I didn’t even remember. I mean, that’s not really even that much money,” he said, reluctantly admitting though, that his new side project, inspired by the incredible gains, BitcoinAir, would be really taking off.
BitcoinAir aims to remove the worst part of flying: the US dollar.
Passengers bid on flights using their available bitcoin. We interviewed some of the passengers who participated in the initial flight tests. Nearly all of them mentioned the notorious volatility of the current cryptocurrency market.
“Well, I mean, I purchased a ticket to Detroit for .01 bitcoin, which was like $200 after tax, you know. Pretty reasonable, if you ask me. Well, I didn’t know this airline uses what is called ‘dynamic pricing readjustment’, which basically means, your contract of pricing isn’t solidified until you’re off the aircraft at your destination. So like, literally, you can owe more (or less) on your ticket as you’re flying. And during the flight, they came around collecting more money because I guess the price had soared so much,” said one passenger, who wish to go unnamed. “I was literally forced to sign up for a credit card, simply because I didn’t have a high enough line of credit to pay off the difference. When all was said and done, I think I owed like $120,000.”
Still, some passengers tell stories of being delayed on the tarmac due to air traffic control, and receiving significant sums of money back.
“The flight attendants on the ground in Baltimore were literally like throwing us $100 bills. It was like a cut scene from ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’. I think I made almost $90,000 on a flight I paid $160 for.”
Still, others were more outspoken on the financial turbulence such a cryptocurrency rendered.
“By the time the flight landed, I think I paid over $10000. It was complete fucking bullshit!”
Passengers ‘bid’ on flights in
the terminal of the airport. In some cases, prices can change over 1,000 times before boarding. In one instance, it only cost a couple $1.21 to go on their honeymoon in Hawaii. In other, it cost a single father and his son over $10 million to fly to Atlanta from Chicago.
“I mean, we are at the mercy of the market here,” LO said.
“Some people can’t handle the risk. These Millennials especially. They think they are all bold and risk taking. Bullshit. Most people are afraid to even leave their apartments. Starting an airline is a huge risk, and I took it one step further and said, let’s fuel it with the world’s most volatile and chaotic currency. I still don’t know if it was a good idea, to be honest. But that’s why we have credit cards. This is America, after all!”
BitcoinAir has a fleet of 10 Airbus A319s, an one 787 (that’s mostly used as a drinking hangout) completely paid for by the investments into cryptocurrencies. Some days, LO admits he can purchase over 100 new airliners in cash, and other days, he is faced with perpetual bankruptcy.
Even how the planes are fueled is powered by bitcoin.
“We fuel each plane with 10 bitcoin worth of fuel. Back in 2010, we could only fly about 200-300 miles in our A319s. Now we can cross the Atlantic 94.3 times with that amount.”
Still, the trickle-down pricing effect is not all rainbows and butterflies.
“I ordered a Coke, and it was 2 bitcoin. Well, the fucking flight attendant forgot about me, and by the time she got back to my seat with the can, I had to take out a home-equity loan on my home because I owed her over $30,000. What is this shit? I have two kids in college. How am I supposed to tell them to take out even more student loans?!”
The crew of BitcoinAir is equally as pumped up about the volatility of such a project.
“Last month, I was paid a salary of 30 bitcoin, which was about $4.20 after taxes. It was pretty disheartening. But this month, that equates to about $480,000, or about $120,000 a week, so you know, not that bad,” said Ryan Davidson, a 1st year pilot who just graduated from Embry-Riddle
“At that rate, I should be able to pay off my student loans in about 35 years.”
“I don’t see how this is any different than any other regular US airline,” said business analyst Mark Jacobs. “They basically make a lot of money, and then they go bankrupt for no apparent reason in about a matter of seconds,” he added. “I’m sure they’ll blame foreign airliners or regulations, according to my studies.”
Bitcoin isn’t the only currency fueling this new airline.
“I have about 1,000 Litecoin (LTC), as well. But, we’ll see where it goes. It is a small investment; I bought it for about $2000. I think I’ll buy a nice condo in Miami or something, but not start another airline. I’ve lost enough sleep already.”
LOs smartphone began beeping.
“Holy shit, my account just went negative.”