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- The ultra-wealthy are dropping tens of thousands of dollars on preventative measures and treatments meant to help them live forever — or at least, as long as possible.
- "Young blood" transfusions, cryonic preservation, and "apocalypse insurance" are a few of the ways billionaires and Silicon Valley tech moguls are investing in their futures.
- Billionaire venture capitalist Peter Thiel is one of the major public supporters of research to extend the human lifespan.
- "There are all these people who say that death is natural, it’s just part of life, and I think that nothing can be further from the truth," Thiel said back in 2012.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
They say money can’t buy happiness, but perhaps it can buy immortality — or at least, a longer lifespan than most people.
That seems to be the thinking, at least, of the ultra-wealthy Americans spending thousands on "young blood" transfusions, preserving their bodies through cryonics, and colonizing space in case Earth becomes uninhabitable.
Commercial finance experts ABC Finance investigated various ways the wealthy are investing in trying to extend their lifespans as much as possible.
Here are five ways the rich are investing in trying to live forever.
1. The ultra-wealthy are paying thousands for "young blood" transfusions meant to slow down the aging process.
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A controversial startup called Ambrosia charges thousands to fill your veins with the blood of young people, which is meant to slow aging by rejuvenating the body’s organs, as Business Insider’s Erin Brodwin previously reported.
Another company, The Young Blood Institute, was charging $285,000 for trials of young blood transfusion, STAT reported in 2018.
Alkahest also studies the link between aging and young blood, but instead of opening up centers for young blood transfusions, the company aims to develop drugs for age-related diseases, inspired by their work with plasma.
Billionaire venture capitalist Peter Thiel has expressed interest in the procedure, as well as other medical research on extending the human lifespan.
"There are all these people who say that death is natural, it’s just part of life, and I think that nothing can be further from the truth," Thiel said back in 2012.
Researchers who study blood transfusions have called such procedures potentially dangerous.
"It is well known in the medical community — and this is also the reason we don’t do transfusions frequently — that in 50% of patients there are very bad side effects," Irina Conboy, a University of California at Berkeley researcher who has published research on young blood transfusions in mice, told Business Insider. "You are being infused with somebody else’s blood and it doesn’t match. That unleashes a strong immune reaction."
2. They’re spending up to $200,000 to have their brains and bodies preserved after they die.
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Thiel and other billionaires have also invested in cryonic preservation, or the freezing of a human body, in hopes that future scientific advancements may allow for the body to be resuscitated.
Alcor charges a minimum of $80,000 for preservation of the brain and $200,000 for whole-body cryonic preservation.
Thiel has said he’s a member of Alcor, according to The New York Times. "Cryonics only seems disturbing because it challenges our complacency about death," he said.
According to Forbes, Canadian electronics billionaire Robert Miller is also a supporter of Alcor.
3. They’re paying thousands for the possibility of uploading their brains to "digital consciousness."
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In a similar vein of cryonics is the idea of preserving your brain for a possible digital consciousness in the future.
A company called Nectome charges $10,000 to preserve your brain after death using a high-tech embalming process in the hopes that future scientists will be able to "scan your bricked brain and turn it into a computer simulation," according to the MIT Technology Review.
Nectome was awarded more than $915,000 in research funding from the US National Institutes of Mental Health.
Sam Altman, who announced in March that he’d be stepping down as president of Silicon Valley tech incubator Y Combinator, has said he signed up with Nectome.
"I assume my brain will be uploaded to the cloud," Altman told MIT Technology Review.
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