Joke, scam or cult?

At the web site "timetravelfund" a funny proposal turned to all the timetravellers.

"Current scientific theory states that Time Travel may be possible, however the technology is a long way off, perhaps hundreds of years in the future. Now, assume it does become possible in say, 300 years.
As with any technology, Time Travel will get less expensive as time goes on. Just as the price of a VCR has dropped to less than $70 from the several hundred dollars it cost just ten years ago, Time Travel, once it becomes feasible, will initially be very expensive yet it will become more and more economical as time goes by.
The concept is that one day, it may be possible for people living far in the future to retrieve you from your current frame of reference (their past - your present) and bring you into the future (their present - your future.)
That is the purpose of the fund. The simple answer is, we pay them to bring you into the future.
We establish a fund in current time. You make a small contribution to the fund, and in a few hundred years that small amount grows to a very large amount. From that fund, moneys will be taken and used to retrieve you, perhaps seconds after you join, perhaps even moments before your recorded death, perhaps some other point in your lifetime. Further, the fund may even pay to have you "rejuvenated" medically (assuming this is scientifically possible at that time,) and support you financially for a number of years. (Note: Retrieving you just before the moment of death is just one possible scenario, but one that would avoid any Star Trek(TM) type paradoxes. There are an unlimited number of other possibilities, and we do not know what they will do, we can only make reasonably informed guesses.)
Our fee is only $10, of which a percentage is placed into the fund, to grow and earn interest, and the rest is used to pay for overhead in running the website, covering legal fees, paying for your certificate, and maintaining the database of members.
Compound interest. As long as the interest earned out paces inflation and taxes, the money will eventually build to where the costs of retrieving, rejuvenating and supporting you are fully covered.
For example, if you make a one-time only deposit of just a single dollar, at only 5% interest compounded yearly, in five hundred years that single dollar will grow to $39,323,261,827.22 (That's 39 BILLION with a "B" dollars!) Please note that we hope to earn 5% interest above taxes and inflation, which is very possible, even in today's economy (Tax lien certificates, for example, return 16% or better.) If we make 5% above taxes and inflation, then it would be like having $39 billion in today's money.
That's the magic of compound interest, taken to an extreme. If, taxes, fees, and inflation eat up half that much, that's still a "Wow" amount. If it were to earn a single percentage point more, or just 6%, that single dollar we invested jumps to $4,497,100,906,035.84 (that's four and a half TRILLION dollars!) If it costs ten billion dollars to bring you into the future, you'll still have enough left over to live on in comfort for a couple of centuries, and then some. (Note: The interest in the examples above is compounded yearly. If compounded monthly, or even daily, it grows even more!)
A percentage goes into the fund, in your name. The interest this percentage earns is earmarked for you, should we be successful. You also get a signed certificate on acid-free paper mailed to you, suitable for framing. Your name is maintained in a database, along with your current address. Should you move, you can update your address. Instructions will be included with your certificate. Further, you can put in your will to have the fund notified of the date, time and place of your death, to be entered into the database. Instructions are included with your certificate. We are also working to establish a "members only" section of the web site so you can see how the fund is doing at any time.
It's assumed you won't live for the 500 or more years it may take for the technology to be perfected, and for the fund to grow. If, as we assumed above, you are to be retrieved at or just before your time of death, they will need to know when and where to find you. This makes it easier.
You will not be retrieved if you die by suicide. Sorry, but we don't want your family blaming us for you killing yourself because you think you will get to the future sooner.
You will not be retrieved if you die by execution, or are killed in the process of, or the result of, committing a crime. You are responsible for your actions, and the fund is not an excuse for you to take your frustrations out on society.
There are no guarantees. None whatsoever. This is pure speculation, but it is a chance. Should something happen such as the people of the earth bombing themselves back to the stone age, you probably won't be retrieved. The fund is a chance to visit the future, not a guarantee. If you want a guarantee, go buy a savings bond and wait for seven years.
We don't know, however, it is logical to assume there will still be some form of currency used, although it will probably be electronic and not physical. We expect the fund to be converted into whatever form of currency is in use, just as all those different European currencies were turned into the Euro.
One provision built into the fund is that it must be not only technically feasible, it must be legal as well. A maintenance fund that part of your membership fee goes to can be used to pay whatever it is that passes as lawyers in the future to try and make it legal. Laws can be changed.
Our belief (without pointing to any one specific religion) is that if there is a Heaven, it has been around for thousands of years and will still be there waiting 500+ years in the future, just as if there is some kind of afterlife, it too will still be there waiting, 500+ years in the future.
By that we mean all moneys collected are going into an escrow account until the fund builds enough to open a conventional open-ended trust type fund. The minimum amount to open a fund of the type we are planning is $10,000. A better amount is $50,000. This is to offer the best legal protection and management possible for the fund. We are invested in the fund, too, and want to make sure our money is there waiting for us in the future. All funds will be fully accounted for, and open to scrutiny. You will get an annual statement by e-mail. Should something (like the government) happen to prevent us from actually establishing the fund the way we are working towards, your contribution towards the fund will be refunded.
It is not a joke, scam or cult. We are serious about this. If it were a scam we would be asking for a lot more than ten bucks. Ten bucks is enough to put you into the fund, print and mail your certificate, and cover our costs of maintaining the database and web site. We don't expect to get rich off this for at least five hundred years. It is also not a cult. Cults require you to do weird things like cut off body parts, give everything you own to the cult leader, worship flying saucers and generally change your entire life style. All we ask for is an open mind and ten bucks.
We don't know When will you be retrieved. There are several possible scenarios we can guess at, and possibly more we can't. As we said, we don't know, because there is no way to know what the technology is going to be like then. We do know the idea has been bounced around in many forms by many science fiction authors. Like the cell phone, fantasy is rapidly moving towards reality.
Here are a couple of possibilities:

  • You could be retrieved seconds before your recorded point of death. This brings up several points: By retrieving you right before your recorded "death" it reduces the chance of any Star Trek[tm] type paradoxes. Perhaps a "clone" of your body will be grown and inserted back in time to your point of death to take your place for the funeral. This possibility also assumes that by then medical science will have advanced to the point where you can be revived, and your body rebuilt to a younger, stronger state. Just think, you may one day wake up 1000 years in the future, a young, healthy and physically 18 years old, with several hundred years of life ahead of you.
  • You are retrieved, given the grand tour, and then put back to when you were retrieved, either with or without your memories of the future intact. This may or may not be desirable to you.
  • You are retrieved, and live a normal life in the future. Back at the time of retrieval, your disappearance is treated as an unsolved mystery.
  • However unless you take care to set it up right, your heirs would be able to go to court and take it anytime after your death. Our fund is set up to avoid this problem. To break the fund, they would have to take on a large number of people and families, not just one or two. Strength in numbers. If you want to set up your own fund, then by all means go ahead. You might want to hedge your bets by joining ours too, just in case.
    We are putting our own money in, but the biggest chance of success depends on putting a lot of money in. By sharing the costs with others, we can create a larger base to build upon. Try opening up an account with ten bucks, and telling whoever you have the account with you want them to maintain if for 500 years or more, and see how far you get. Do the same thing with $50,000, and you will get a lot farther. The strength in this comes from large numbers of participants.
    The fund is not just limited to the living; you can contribute for a deceased loved one. They could be retrieved moments before their recorded death, just in the scenario above, or some other point in their lifetimes, and you meet them again in the future. The beauty of Time Travel used in this way is that it doesn't matter if they have already died or not. It's all relative.
    You can pay for a membership for someone who is already deceased. We have, however, placed a few restrictions on this:
  • The other person must be a close family member. Sorry, but we don't want you bringing Adolf Hitler or someone else evil like him back.
  • The people doing the retrieval get to make the decisions as to who a relative is. (Note: Once you have been retrieved, you could conceivably convince them to retrieve someone else.)
  • The person must have not stated in their will that they do not want to be brought back. Further, you can include in your instructions that you be retrieved only when your loved one is also retrieved, so you can be together again."
    For more information ...