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Guests: Bruce Cahan & Bruce Pittman; Topics: Creating a space commodities future trading exchange to grow the space economy.
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We welcomed both Bruce Cahan and Bruce Pittman to the program for a two segment 90 minute discussion on why we should create a space commodities future trading exchange at this time. You can read their abstract from their paper from May 11, 2018 at https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/pdf/10.1089/space.2017.0047. The full title of the paper is "Space Commodities Futures Trading Exchange: Adapting Terrestrial Market Mechanisms to Grow a Sustainable Space Economy." In addition, note that Bruce Cahan is the driving force behind the Space Commodities Futures Trading Exchange. You can find out more about this project on his website, www.urbanlogic.org. Please note that we had audio difficulties and background noise with the line used by Mr. Cahan. We apologize for these issues.
We started the program with Mr. Cahan explaining the space commodities future trading exchange to us with details, the organizational structure, timelines and related substantive material. Bruce Pittman joined in the discussion with added material as to why the space commodities futures exchange was a good idea and why the timing was right to at least start the dialog to create this commercial space industry facilitating tool. Our guests talked about how it would work, the models it was based on vis a vis our terrestrial economy, associated risks and regulations, the regulatory environment and what it would potentially mean for stabilizing commercial space markets. We spent some time talking about various commercial space market stabilization sectors such as the launch and image markets. Also discussed were the challenges ahead to facilitate and support new and emerging markets and sectors and how that would work on the futures exchange. In addition, our guests talked about revenue creation and just how such an exchange would create revenue and who would benefit from that revenue. In this particular part of the discussion, the International Commodities Exchange was cited as an example with 54% of the revenue coming from data and listing, not the trades or sells on the exchange. Don't miss what was said about this and other aspects of the potential space exchange.
Listeners had many questions. For example, Helen wanted to know the impact on a space commodities exchange as a result of existing space regulations and treaties, specifically the OST and the Moon Treaty. Don't miss how our each of our guests responded to Helen's concerns. At this point our guest introduced the concept of space banking including banking regulatory and treaty concerns. They talked about creating a Board of Trade and the need to carefully define a space commodity. Don't miss these important comments. Other listener topics came up in this segment including the fact that commercial space was decentralized. That seemed to be an issue of concern for several listeners. Before the segment ended, Mr. Cahan said there was an Open Call at this time which you find out more about by visiting www.urbanlogic.org.
In the second segment we talked about how a new sector was added to the commodities list and market groups, the wording in the earlier NASA Authorization calling for the support of commercial space markets and more about the role of government, including seed financing and support for the markets much the way bonds have been used for other growth and development projects. Additional examples were provided including the Kelly Air Mail Act of 1925 and of course the referencing of the Transcontinental Railroad. Larry in Denver brought up the Space Force wondering if it would become necessary to start protecting US commercial interests in space with a new military force. Don't miss what our guests said about this. Constant mention was made of the need to keep space open and available to all commercial and general space users.
Timeline concerns again came up. Listen carefully to what our guests said about a timeline for getting the space commodities future exchange started. It may be closer at hand than we think! Both our guest said multiple times during our discussion that now was the time to get the discussion on creating the exchange underway. They then explained why the timing was right to begin those important discussions. Later in the segment, listeners wanted to know if there had been any outreach to industry leaders such as Musk, Bezos and others. Bruce Pittman talked about the need to reach non-technical people, explaining why that was important and how best to do it. Our guests were also asked if they had reached out to the National Space Council. The answer was no, not yet.
Bruce Pittman was asked what the futures exchange and commercial space industry might look like in 25 years. Don't miss what our guest said in responding to this question. Both our guests were then asked what the adverse risks might be for starting the space commodities exchange. Again, don't miss what was said in response to this question. Before the show ended, we asked our guests for concluding comments starting with Mr. Pittman. He said we needed to start the dialog now. Mr. Cahan supported what Bruce said along with the need to work with aerospace economics along with R&D economics and financial matters. Mr. Cahan reminded us to check out the Open Call information at https://urbanlogic.org/space-commodities-exchange.
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