Dennis Hope has made over $9,000,000 since 1980, by selling land on the Moon by the acre.
He claims to have sold land to 4.25 million people, including Barbara Walters, George Lucas, Ronald Reagan, George Bush Senior. He said he can do so due to a loophole in the 1967 United Nations Outer Space Treaty, which says that no single nation owns the Moon. He says that it does not ban individual holders.
Hope says, "It was unowned land. For private property claims, 197 countries at one time or another had a basis by which private citizens could make claims on land and not make payment. There are no standardized rules. I own about 95 different planetary bodies. The total amount of property I currently own is about 7 trillion acres. The value of that property is about $100 trillion. And that doesn’t even include mineral rights."
However, there are problems. Ram Jakhu, law professor at the Institute of Air and Space Law at McGill University in Toronto and a director of the International Institute for Space Law said, "I don’t see a loophole. The moon is a common property of the international community, so individuals and states cannot own it. That’s very clear in the U.N. treaty. Individuals’ rights cannot prevail over the rights and obligations of a state." He also said that historically, "the ownership of private property has been a major cause of war. No one owns the moon. No one can own any property in outer space."
Problems may rise up in the future, due to plans by both the USA and Japan to build colonies on the Moon.