PayPal takes one small step towards payments in space

PayPal takes one small step towards payments in space

Facing increasing competition here on earth, PayPal is planning to boldly go where no electronic payments service has gone before, Space.

As space tourism moves beyond the realms of science fiction and nears reality thanks to the likes of Virgin Galactic and Space X, PayPal has teamed up with members of the scientific community to explore the delivery of "payments outside of our planet".

The PayPal Galactic initiative will see the eBay unit work with groups including the SETI Institute and Space Tourism Society - as well as former astronaut, and second man on the moon, Buzz Aldrin - to prepare for the commercialisation of space.

John Spencer, president, Space Tourism Society, says: "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."

The programme will try to answer questions such as what will the standard currency look like in a cash-free interplanetary society, how will the banking systems have to adapt, how will risk and fraud management systems need to evolve, and what will regulations look like.

Says 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."

"Creating a secure and functional commerce system that can operate in space at scale will not be easy, but with the support of the scientific community, other technology companies and the public at large, we hope to find the solutions to address these challenges," adds PayPal president David Marcus.

However, as any Trekkie will tell Marcus, his efforts to bring commerce to space could prove futile, with money made redundant by the 24th century:

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