PayPal Galactic arrives to address the pressing issue of paying in space

Space tourism is coming, and it ain't gonna be cheap. The question is, how are the rich folks aboard such craft going to pay for... stuff? Since weighty cash is a non-starter, Paypal has unveiled the PayPal Galactic initiative with SETI and the Space Tourism Society to prepare for the future of extra-planetary commerce. It'll be launched today at noon EST via livestream (see the More Coverage link) by none other than astronaut Buzz Aldrin, who said that future trips to the moon or Mars will require "as many comforts from home as possible, including how to pay each other." PayPal worked with SETI to hatch the project, which will address meaty issues like a standard space currency, the risk of space fraud and dealing with customer support issues. (Sorry, space customer support issues.) We're pretty sure the conversation won't involve how to pay aliens, but as part of the Galactic launch, PayPal will also announce a new crowdfunding campaign on FundRazr to aid SETI. That'll help the ET-seeking outfit with its astrobiology and radio astronomy research and, hopefully, keep its dishes pointed skyward, so maybe one day we can horse-trade with the Ferengi.

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PayPal, SETI Institute, Buzz Aldrin & Space Leaders Launch PayPal Galactic

Initiative will address the issues to help make universal space payments a reality

Launch Event with Buzz Aldrin will be available LIVE at www.paypal-galactic.com from 4pm GMT June 27

SETI INSTITUTE, Mountain View, CA – June 27, 2013 – PayPal today announced the launch of PayPal Galactic, an initiative that addresses the issues to help make universal space payments a reality. PayPal Galactic brings together leaders in the scientific community, including the SETI Institute and Space Tourism Society, to prepare and support the future of space commerce.

The announcement with PayPal President David Marcus and Astronaut and author Buzz Aldrin takes place June 27 at 4pm GMT at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California. The event will be live streamed at www.paypal-galactic.com and will be available on demand on the same day at the same location. A video explaining the initiative is available in HD and standard definition for downloading and sharing immediately at www.paypal-galactic.com

"As space tourism programs are opening space travel to 'the rest of us' this drives questions about the commercialisation 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," said David Marcus, PayPal's President. "We may not answer these questions today or even this year, but one thing is clear, we won't be using cash in space. 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."

"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," said Astronaut and author Buzz Aldrin. "Whether it's paying a bill, even helping a family member on Earth, we'll need access to money. 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."

This visionary program, spearheaded by PayPal, working with the SETI Institute, aims to bring together leaders in the space industry to work on the big questions around the commercialisation of space. These include:

  • What will our standard currency look like in a truly cash-free interplanetary society?
  • How will the banking systems have to adapt?
  • How will risk and fraud management systems need to evolve?
  • What regulations will we have to conform with?
  • How will our customer support need to develop?

To support the SETI Institute and its mission to improving the understanding of life on Earth, and the search for life beyond it, PayPal is launching a crowdfunding campaign powered by FundRazr. The SETI Institute's scientists play an active role in some of the world's most advanced scientific ventures, including groundbreaking studies in astrobiology and radio astronomical research with the Allen Telescope Array. Donations to support SETI Institute and the science of space can be made at www.seti.org/curiositymovement

"PayPal and the SETI Institute are well-matched to work on PayPal Galactic because together we can create a recipe for innovation," said Jill Tarter, the Bernard M. Oliver Chair for the SETI Institute. "PayPal envisions exploring possibilities in space the way that we do, breaking boundaries to make real progress. When the SETI Institute succeeds in its exploration of the universe, and as we find our place among the stars, PayPal will be there to facilitate commerce, so people can get what they need, and want, to live outside of our planet."

Already the need for a galactic payment system exists. Astronauts inhabiting space stations still need to pay for life's necessities-from their bills back on Earth to their entertainment, like music and e-books, while in space.

"Within five to ten years the earliest types of 'space hotels' and orbital and lunar commerce will be operational and in need of a payment system," said John Spencer, founder and president of the Space Tourism Society.

The launch of PayPal Galactic commences in conjunction with the celebration of PayPal's 15th Anniversary. Founded in 1998, the company has since grown its service of a faster, safer way to pay and get paid online to more than 128 million active accounts in 193 markets.

Video of the press conference, the 90-second PKG, and the PKG script can be found at video at www.paypal-galactic.com from 4pm GMT.