It’s called the PayPal Galactic Initiative, and its apparently a real thing that they are serious about. I suppose it makes some measure of sense; space tourism is inevitably coming, and the whole “not being in any particular country because you’re in space” thing makes the issue of currency difficult. This is not even the first attempt to corner that space cash market. Way back in the 2007 the British foreign exchange firm Travelex developed the QUID, a form of hard currency to be traded for space goods in the future. QUID stands for Quasi Universal Intergalactic Denomination, because everything in the future is acronyms, and it looks like a Nerf toy from 1996. It didn’t really catch on.
But Travelex didn’t have Buzz Aldrin. Via The Week:
“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,” Aldrin says in a statement. “Whether it’s paying a bill, even helping a family member on Earth, we’ll need access to money.”
PayPal is convinced that while Travelex may have had a good idea, the QUID has a fatal flaw. “One thing is clear,” says PayPal President David Marcus: “We won’t be using cash in space.” Normal credit cards won’t do either, he says. The idea is to get a bunch of engineers, scientists, financial experts, and even other payment companies and come up with something new. “If we were creating a new payment system, I doubt it would look anything like the one that exists today,” says Marcus.
The first space hotel is set to open in 2016, so Buzz and crew are already hard at work transcending Earth economics. According to PayPal communications director Anuj Nayar, they’re in the process of working out the details, from space tax to space fraud. In the meantime, check out the official video unveiling of the Galactic Initiative.