Virgin's Richard Branson, Chase to Build First Bank on Moon

An astronaut walking on the moon, rear view, low section
Caspar Benson/fStop Images
By Christina Lavingia

With billions at your disposal, what on Earth is worth buying? The answer might lie more than 238,000 miles away. With a global venture capital conglomerate, multinational banking corporation and Caribbean island between them, Sir Richard Branson and Chase Bank are making headlines for their new partnership to build the first bank on the moon.

Citing the lack of access astronauts visiting the international space station have to their bank accounts -- not to mention the abysmally small ATM network in space -- Branson and Chase are partnering to build a financial institution that will only be increasingly in demand as space exploration advances.

Warren Buffett Casts Doubt on Moonshot Idea

"As an entrepreneur, I've always wanted to adventure into new terrain," Branson told The Associated Press. "I already own an island, I have $5.1 billion to my name. ... I'm not in this for the money. I'm looking for the next way to connect people."

Fellow billionaire and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Warren Buffett was not as optimistic. "I believe in investing in things I understand," Buffett said. "The sheer cost and technology required for this venture, the huge risk -- it's admirable, sure. But it's a risk I'd rather someone else takes. What's the proven return on an extraterrestrial bank? Nothing."

According to Branson, the moon bank is an estimated $150 million investment, covering $100 million to get to the moon, $1.3 million to build the branch and $49 million dedicated to staffing it and providing essential resources. Experts, however, say the whole production could cost 10 times that amount, given the many possible things that could go wrong while building a Chase bank in outer space.

Branson is undeterred by skeptics. "It's like pitching the Internet in the 1800s," he told The AP. "This idea is too far from the current reality to invest in for most, but at Virgin Group we've never followed the norm. We're innovative." Between Branson's reported $5.1 billion net worth and JPMorgan Chase's estimated $98 billion in annual revenue, the backers have a lot to throw at innovation.

Moon Bank to Feature All Earth Currencies

Of the circulating currencies on Earth, Chase Bank's moon branch will feature everything from Kuwaiti dollars (currently worth 3.5 U.S. dollars) to the Iranian rial (28,000 to the dollar) and the even the Canadian dollar (sometimes more than a U.S. dollar, sometimes less -- it's kind of loonie, isn't it?).

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon told The AP he was practically giddy about the lack of regulation in space. "We'll hold a monopoly over a region with no set rules," he said. "The risk is there of course, but the payoff could be unimaginable if we can provide the only service 100,000 miles."

Rumors are flying over what the bank will be called -- never fear, the most popular guess, Outer Chase Bank, already has its own Twitter account. The bank is expected to offer its full range of services by December 2017, in time for that year's expected supermoon.

This is a satirical article for April Fool's Day. Sir. Branson will not, as far as we know, be launching any outer space ventures in the immediate future, whether or not they're backed by Chase. As of 2015, there is no place you can easily obtain the Canadian dollar in outer space. Warren Buffett was not reached for comment, though we feel certain he would disapprove of extraterrestrial banking, as he hasn't even wrapped his head around Bitcoin yet. If Jaime Dimon is giddy, we don't know why.
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