While there would be some complications in implementing the system, Haqq-Misra said that the payback would be a funding model that, unlike much of science funding, is geared toward long-term success. If it takes several generations to find life, the bond holders could pass them down to their children or grandchildren. If individual bonds prove expensive, Haqq-Misra proposes that some of the money could be raised by crowdfunding.
The drawback, however, is that the United States does not have financial institutes that are authorized to engage in gaming and banking, which would force SETI to look at options such as offshore investment groups.
“There is evidence that lottery bonds are popular in some parts of the world, and further evidence that there is demand for such a product in the US,” Haqq-Misra added. “A SETI Lottery Bond is a further step toward long-term savings, and it could be a novel way to increase participation in science as well as financial savings.”