It might seem premature, but PayPal wants to capitalize on the future of space currency. In a presentation that seemed more like science fiction than reality, the e-commerce provider announced its plans for PayPal Galactic. To bring the concept to fruition, PayPal has teamed up with non-profit SETI Institute, and is also working alongside the Silicon Valley Space Center and the Space Tourism Society.
David Marcus, PayPal’s president is clearly serious about the initiative. Rather than explaining how the system will work, he simply wants to start a conversation that addresses certain concerns. “As space tourism programs are opening space travel to 'the rest of us' this drives questions about the commercialization of space," Marcus added. "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."
Marcus is adamant that current monetary methods are ill suited for space. The use of cash is out of the question, but most would agree that a credit card is an easy alternative. After all, as long as there’s an internet connection and a tiny amount of bandwidth, transactions are completely hassle-free. That being said, the real problems have to do with regulating the currency, taxation laws, and jurisdiction. PayPal hopes to bring awareness to these topics and then start proposing solutions.
Interestingly, PayPal already has strong ties to space. Elon Musk, one of the company’s founders, is also the CEO of a space transport company called SpaceX. Furthermore, James Doohan who played the role of Scotty on Star Trek, served as PayPal’s spokesperson during its official launch in 1999.
PayPal released a short video describing the Galactic Program, shown below. Marcus explains that his company is ready to tackle the space-payment industry, saying, “PayPal has already pushed payments into the Internet, onto phones and across terrestrial borders. We look forward to pushing payments from our world to the next, and beyond."