Paypal is looking to the stars for their next project. No, that’s not a joke at all. The company is planning to hash out a proper currency or payment system for making purchases while in space.
In a recent interview with CNNMoney, PayPal president David Marcus talked about the new project.
“We don’t have all the answers right now, but it’s clear we won’t be using cash when we’re in space. We feel it’s time now — not next year, not when [space tourism] starts to happen — to start figuring out what this looks like.”
The project has been dubbed the Paypal Galactic Initiative and it’s all set to kick off in full swing after a press conference, with an appearance by none other than Buzz Aldrin.
Why is Paypal so intent on creating a proper payment system for space? As the company President said, parties like Virgin Galactic and Space X already exist making space travel more of a real concept than ever. As such, they’ve partnered up with the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) and Space Tourism Society to come up with some ideas, together they hope to answer “the big questions around the commercialization of space.”
“It’s easy to perceive this as kind of gee-whiz, even silly, if you just read the headline, but these are real, difficult, important problems that need to be sorted out.”
Marcus is referring directly to the idea of turning open space into a sort of business, of course. SETI Institute chairwoman Jill Tarter seems to thing Marcus is spot on, because according to her, casual space traveler is right around the corner.
“When you talk to the space community — the people who are actually making this happen — it doesn’t feel pie-in-the-sky to them at all. Within a few years we are going to have more people off the surface of this planet more often, and we’ll have to determine value in that new environment.”
Paypal has also launched a crowdfunding campaign via FundRazr in order to collect money for the SETI Institute and the related research. It appears they’re dead serious and dead set on making this a reality.
What do you make of all this? Personally, I just hope Paypal doesn’t come up with a currency that involves oxygen.