PayPal Galactic Takes Online Commerce Into Space

| 28 Jun 2013 15:07

PayPal has teamed with the SETI Institute to make it easy to buy all the things you need on Risa and beyond!

So let's say you're in space, and suddenly you realize, whoa, I left my deodorant at home. You pull into Tau Ceti IV, grab some Speed Stick and hand the guy at the counter a 20 - but he tells you they only take buckazoids, and all the currency conversion places are closed because it's a holiday. What do you do?

Use PayPal, of course! Which you'll actually (maybe someday) be able to do thanks to a new program that I am totally not making up called PayPal Galactic, a collaboration between PayPal and the SETI Institute, the not-for-profit organization that's searching for extra-terrestrial intelligence.

"As space tourism programs are opening space travel to 'the rest of us,' this drives questions about the commercialization of space. We are launching PayPal Galactic, in conjunction with leaders in the scientific community, to increase public awareness of the important questions that need to be addressed," PayPal President David Marcus said. "We may not answer these questions today or even this year, but one thing is clear, we won't be using cash in space."

"Trips to Mars, the moon, even orbit will require we provide astronauts and astro-tourists with as many comforts from home as possible, including how to pay each other," added astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the second human to walk on the moon. "I think humans will reach Mars, and I would like to see it happen in my lifetime. When that happens I won't be surprised if people use PayPal Galactic for the little things and the big ones."

PayPal has also launched a crowdfunding campaign for the SETI Institute called the Curiosity Movement, which will support "new ventures and projects that are beyond the domain or scale of the core federally funded research and education projects at the SETI Institute."

At this early stage, PayPal Galactic is just beginning to look at some of the questions involved in the commercialization of space, including the nature of a standard currency in a cash-free interplanetary society, the evolution of risk and fraud management systems, banking system adaptations and more. It sounds like an incredibly niche (and nerdy) sci-fi sub-genre but as a serious topic of conversation, it's actually quite fascinating, and while it's obviously very long term (barring the discovery of mass effect technology on Mars), it is something we'll have to deal with sooner or later.

Source: PayPal Galactic

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