With New Initiative ‘Galactic,’ PayPal Wants To Own Payments And Commerce In Space

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In a slightly bizarre announcement today, PayPal is debuting PayPal Galactic, an initiative to own universal payments and commerce in space. Yes, outer space.

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, and develop the galaxy’s first money transfer platform. PayPal is looking to address and solve the problems of what the standard currency looks like in a cash-free interplanetary society, and how banking, risk and fraud management systems will adapt to this. The payments giant is also exploring regulatory issues (ie what regulations, at this point).

The company says that there is already the need for a galactic payment system. 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.

In an interview with TechCrunch, PayPal president David Marcus explained that the creation of the space economy through flights, hotels and more will require a currency. “This initiative is designed to raise awareness and bring everyone around the table, ” he says. “We’re excited about this because there are no boundaries from old school payments.”

This move is a little outlandish for PayPal, but this isn’t the first time the talk of a space currency has come up. Back in 2007, scientists came up with the Quasi Universal Intergalactic Denomination to be the de facto physical currency. It’s clear that Marcus sees potential for space travel to be commercialized and wants to make sure that PayPal is the potential go-to currency if this happens.

Separate from the space venture, there’s also the question of if and how PayPal is going to integrate Bitcoin. We know Marcus is definitely bullish on the P2P currency, but we haven’t seen any movement from PayPal yet.

Photo Credit/Flick/Kabsik Park