Quids in!

I stumbled across this quite a while ago, and only remembered it recently. I know it was just some kind of marketing prank pulled by Travelex, but I quite like the idea of space money.

QUID is a proposed form of cash for space tourists and stands for Quasi Universal Intergalactic Denomination (although in my humble opinion, “interplanetary” would’ve been a better choice). Also, as you may or may not know, “quid” is British slang for Pounds Sterling. I think it comes from the latin, quid pro quo

But anyway, so the concept is actually quite interesting when you think about it. Rounded plastic “coins” would certainly be less hazardous in orbit than metallic coins, and paper money could potentially be sucked into an air duct. The designs (or the size and colour, anyway) are based on the 8 major planets, varying in size and colour, and each is embedded with a unique serial number to prevent counterfeiting. It actually doesn’t sound like a bad idea. Admittedly, maybe not an entirely practical idea yet — at least until the ISS gets a Coke machine.

More comical though, was the great outcry on the internet from people talking about how useless and nonsensical it was. Honestly… Some people have no sense of fun. And it’s us scientists who are supposedly the dry and boring ones!

In any case, if space tourism ever does take off, some kind of currency will probably be necessary. Admittedly, it may not take the form of small perspex coins, but at least someone’s brave enough to come up with “nonsense” ideas like this!

About Invader Xan

Molecular astrophysicist, usually found writing frenziedly, staring at the sky, or drinking mojitos.
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6 Responses to Quids in!

  1. invaderxan says:

    Re: Yay! I get a chance to use this icon!
    That’s true… I’ve got a £5 coin somewhere. I could spend it in a shop legally, but even if anywhere would actually accept it, its actual value is probably a lot more than £5!
    There’s a lot to be said for actual coins. It definitely feels the most “real” in a strange way.

  2. Re: Yay! I get a chance to use this icon!
    Some do. But, it is more popular for coins that are actual legal tender. Although, sometimes that “legal tender” status is largely a formality. The former Vatican lira and the current Vatican Euro coins are a particularly good example. While technically legal tender (alongside, formerly, the Italian lira), they were almost never actually used, and Italian currency was used instead. A lot of countries also produce special commemorative coins that aren’t used in general circulation. Liberia is especially notorious for this, producing coins that are quite obviously targeted to foreign collectors, such as coins honoring U.S. presidents and other public figures! :-)
    I rather like the idea of using coins rather than bills myself. Almost quaintly old-fashioned, like it was before 20th century inflation made low-value banknotes. (Heck, Britain’s smallest bill pre-WWI was £5 – at a time when the pound was over 60 times its present value! – everything smaller than that was coins)

  3. invaderxan says:

    Re: Yay! I get a chance to use this icon!
    Oh, that’s a very good point. I hadn’t even considered these things as collectibles… Though do coin collectors collect coins that have never actually been accepted as currency?

  4. invaderxan says:

    Or you could use them as poker chips or board game pieces…

  5. Yay! I get a chance to use this icon!
    Even if it doesn’t succeed as a common currency, plenty of small nations on Earth make significant money from coin-collectors. Coins from space would be quite an interesting thing for many coin-collectors!

  6. helen99 says:

    And anyway, if it didn’t take off as money, it could be sold as jewelry, aquarium decorations, coat buttons, gaming pieces, or potted plant substrate…

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