At this point, while space tourism is slowly moving forward, it isn’t obvious if we’ll ever make it to Mars, given just how pricey a trip it’ll be. But what if NASA figures out how to raise all of the money needed, and then decides that we have to actually be on Mars before any money can change hands? What do we do then?
If that sounds like a stupid problem, it’s because it is, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t already a solution for it. The Paypal Galactic initiative will begin on Thursday, aiming to put some of the space industry’s top thinkers together in order to figure out the proper way to commercialize space. I guess they didn’t take into consideration that commercializing space isn’t entirely necessary, or that they’re Paypal and they can barely function at full capacity when handling money down here on Earth. And anyway, we just found out how to convert money into sci-fi denominations, so why should we trust these guys?
“We are the only company currently poised to deliver payments outside of our planet,” writes Paypal president David Marcus. “We want to be not only the world’s most loved way to pay but also the preferred money transfer system off earth — in space and between space and Earth.” I wonder if Paypal’s own employees even love to use Paypal.
The initiative launched Thursday night from the SETI Institute, with help from Buzz Aldrin, Frank Drake John Spencer and Margaret Race. You can watch highlights on the Paypal Glactic website. The questions Paypal asks when it comes to their goals are things like “What will our standard currency look like in a truly cash-free interplanetary society?” and “How will risk and fraud management systems need to evolve?” While these are no doubt important question to be asking, I can’t help but feel like Paypal is trying to capitalize on something that doesn’t even need to exist yet. It’s like me clearing out space on a shelf for a book that hasn’t even been written yet. It’s always good to plan ahead, sure, but not when you’re something of a monopoly.
They should be testing it out on the people whose experiment has them living on fake Mars for four months. That way, when those guys end up getting into fist fights over hidden fees and limited spending capabilities, we can toss this initiative in the trash pile.