Billionaire Peter Thiel signs up for cryonic program after his death

The businessman has chosen Alcor as the home of his sarcophagus.

Peter Thiel, a billionaire entrepreneur and investor in tech projects, is betting on a new life after death, saying in an Apple-hosted podcast early this month that he will have his body preserved in a cryonic chamber upon his passing away. 

Although the co-founder of PayPal and Palantir does not fully believe that a frozen body (meaning brain essentially) could be revived and does not expect the cryonic technology to work– according to his own words, yet he decided to try his chances, “just in case.”

"We haven't even tried. We should either conquer death or at least figure out why it's impossible," the businessman stated.

He has rented a cryonics sarcophagus at Alcor Life Extension Foundation, an American tech nonprofit suspected of unethical practices and yet benefiting from generous funding from a pleiades of super wealth individuals across the globe, including Thiel. 

Thiel is known for his enthusiasm about anti-aging and immortality, but also for his conservative views on immigration, border control, and foreign policy.

Other clients of cryonic programs are Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Russian-Israeli businessman Yuri Milner, who have financed Altos Labs, another immortality-seeking entity

The cryonics industry has attracted tens of billions of dollars for research and employs a handful of the best minds in biotechnology, including Nobel Prize winners.

At least 500 people are preserved in liquid nitrogen at present and an overwhelming majority are Americans, according to a 2022 report. Another 4,000 candidates are on the waiting lists of cryonic companies. 

A room with cryonic tubes at Alcor. Image: Alcor Life Extension Foundation.

Clients usually pay membership fees ranging from 40$ to 160$ a year or an upfront amount of several thousands to secure a cryo chamber. Upon death, the fee starts from 28,000 dollars to 200,000 USD and more, depending on whether they want the whole body or just the head to be preserved.

What are the odds?

Cryonics is treated with skepticism by the mainstream scientific community and many researchers in the rejuvenation business regard it as medical fraud, noting that preserving a brain’s structure does not mean preserving its functions. .

Despite a lack of evidence that dead people could one day be brought back to life, cryonicists remain optimistic, noting that tissues like sperm, embryo, and stem cells can be successfully cryopreserved and thawed right now.

Researchers at 21st Century Medicine, for instance, cryopreserved and thawed a rabbit brain in 2016 and a pig brain in 2018. There's also evidence of cryofreezing of small worms and rabbit kidneys.

Among the rich who are critical of cryonics is Elon Musk. The SpaceX and Tesla CEO famously said two years ago that this sort of science is even dangerous: "It is important for us to die because most of the time people don't change their mind, they just die. If you live forever, we might become a very ossified society where new ideas cannot succeed."