A brand new year is here, and we've got a gift guide for all the tech enthusiasts out there. If you have loved ones who are into tech and futurism (or even sci-fi), we may have some suggestions for you. But we’re warning you — they are not cheap.
1. One Bitcoin
Bitcoin is one of the most popular digital currencies nowadays. It was presented in a white paper in 2008 and officially released in 2009, being the first decentralized cryptocurrency that the world has known of.
At the time, it had a price of zero, which increased to $0.09 in 2010. Almost twelve years later, it is worth somewhere around $40,000 with peaks of +$60,000 through mid-2020.
Although transactions in Bitcoin have been banned or heavily regulated in places like China, Turkey, and Bolivia, it has become an official currency in El Salvador last September, and even Russian President Vladimir Putin is considering accepting cryptocurrencies in future transactions.
Bitcoin is often criticized because of its volatility, but if your friends or family like investing, they will love it as a Christmas gift. And the best part is that Bitcoin is easy to obtain — you can even buy it at Walmart, and you don't have to buy an entire Bitcoin — you can buy a fraction share as well, making it more affordable.
2. A space trip
If your loved ones love space and traveling, you can mix the two and gift them a space trip. There are a few spaceflight companies willing to sell tickets for a ride to the Earth’s orbit.
Last July, Amazon founder and billionaire Jeff Bezos flew 100 km (62 miles) up in the sky along with his brother, Mark Bezos, American aviator Wally Funk (who is 82 years old), and an 18-year-old student from the Netherlands, Oliver Daemen.
The crew used the rocket ship named New Shepard, built by Jeff Bezos’ space company Blue Origin and designed specifically for space tourism.
Although it is known that Jeff Bezos spent 5.5 billion dollars on this ride — which lasted only 10 minutes — there isn’t an official price for a seat on his reusable rocket. As far as we know, Oliver Daemen’s father paid 28 million dollars in an auction for the seat, then gave it to his son so he could become the youngest "astronaut" in history.
A second space trip onboard the New Shepard included actor William Shatner, who played Captain Kirk in the original Star Trek. A third trip took place on December 9th, 2021, with Good Morning America's Laura Shepard Churchley — the daughter of legendary astronaut Alan Shepard — on board.
Again, it is not known how much these people paid for this ride, but we know it’s not for everyone. In August, Richard Branson’s space tourism firm Virgin Galactic was charging $450,000 for a single seat aboard one of their suborbital spaceplanes.
If this is still not affordable for you, you can always buy Jeff Bezos' New Shepard rocket miniature at $69.99.
3. A passenger drone
If you can’t afford to take your loved ones to space, maybe you can take at least one of them at once for a ride to the sky in a passenger drone.
Have you ever wanted to fit into a drone? Swedish company Jetson made it possible through Jetson ONE, a single-passenger drone, or eVTOL, made of aluminum and carbon fiber that is powered by eight electric motors and a Tesla battery.
Controlled by a 3-axis joystick and a throttle lever, ONE promises to make flying accessible to everybody because you certainly don’t need to be a pilot to drive it.
But you need to be rich, or at least have some savings ready to be spent on this. The manufacturer asks for a $22,000 deposit to reserve a build slot. After that, you’ll receive a partially assembled kit to complete at home.
The final price of the single-passenger drone is estimated at $92,000. However, this won't work as a last-minute present for this year. Jetson is all sold out for 2022, but you may still be able to order one for 2023, if you’re quick.
4. A clone of your pet
If your loved ones have a very loved pet that they want to keep forever, maybe they’ll like to receive a clone of it — provided that they don’t care that it won’t recognize them (because you know, we can clone bodies, but not minds, yet).
Even if memories and personalities are not included in the process, consumer cat cloning is already a real thing, and it costs approximately $35,400 USD. The same biotechnology company charges $53,550 USD for a clone of a dog.
But even if you have the money, the main problem is probably the ethics behind the procedure. To clone a pet, the scientists need to take tissue samples or cells from the original animal and implant them into a surrogate mother (who is prepared for pregnancy with hormonal treatments and kept in a sterile environment for the sole purpose of breeding).
This way, you can get a genetically identical cat or dog — as long as the embryo is accepted by the mother’s body, something that may not happen the first or the second time.
The first cloned dog, Snuppy, was born in 2005 out of more than 1,000 extracted eggs implanted in 123 surrogates. Only two of the puppies, Snuppy and one that died a few weeks after birth, made it to term.
Of course, the techniques have been improved since 2005, but although the clone is an identical twin of the former pet, environmental factors and differences in how they are born and raised mean it won't necessarily look or act like the original. Essentially, all these companies are promising is the same genome as your old cat or dog.
5. A $6000 smart toilet
Your loved ones are surely not expecting you to give them a toilet as a present. But this is not just any toilet —it’s Kohler’s NUMI Toilet, a smart bathroom device that was first revealed at CES 2018.
While the original product is discontinued, the company is working on an improved 2.0 version of the smart toilet that will be available soon.
Integrated with Alexa, the toilet can be controlled with voice commands that let you flush, open and close the cover and the seat, and activate bidet functions like front and rear cleansing sprays, and more — all hands-free. It also has UV sanitation, an option for ambient lighting, and a sound system with music streaming. An accompanying app lets you create personalized presets for each person in the household.
Last but not least, the toilet has a deodorizer fan that you can turn on and off opportunely, and in the winter, it can heat up the seat for you.