Lifestyle brand SpaceOne Industries plans to sell non-fungible token (NFT) space patches minted on the International Space Station (ISS).
In the coming days, a limited edition of 4,000 NFT digital mission patches will be minted through the Artemis Space Network, a division of Artemis Music Entertainment, which is devoted to connecting artists, producers, creators and communities to space exploration. You can purchase the NFTs on SpaceOne’s website.
“The APIs were flown to space on Feb. 16, which was facilitated through Artemis. The API is the software that will activate the minting,” a SpaceOne representative told Space.com.
SpaceOne founder Nick Graham, who says his space experience includes marketing Virgin Galactic space tourism flights back in 2006, started this new venture to get more people involved in space exploration, especially those who are interested in the coming virtual world known as the metaverse.
“The way I look at it, though, we are all astronauts,” Graham told Space.com. “We are on a planet right now going 67,000 miles an hour [108,000 kph].”
The NFT project is backed by Ethereum, a major blockchain. SpaceOne will mint the NFT space patches on the ISS, using computer space that Artemis Space Network brokered via commercial space services company Nanoracks.
Some of the proceeds will benefit the Planetary Society, a nonprofit organization that advocates for greater space exploration. The partnership continues a years-long collaboration between Graham and Planetary Society CEO (and former TV “Science Guy”) Bill Nye on various projects.
“We’re really delighted to be brought into this because, as a space exploration nonprofit, we’re expected to be forward leaning, and tech leaning, in what we do in all things,” Richard Chute, the Planetary Society’s chief development officer, told Space.com. “That includes fundraising.”
Chute said the society has spent the last 18 months or so learning about NFTs and cryptocurrencies to stay current in the donation scene. NFTs are units of data, stored in a digital registry called a blockchain, that represent unique assets. Selling NFTs may be done through minting, which requires publishing a token on the blockchain to allow purchase.
To do so, sellers require access to a crypto blockchain, as well as an NFT marketplace. The risk of buying an NFT, however, is that it operates independently of traditional financial systems and its value is therefore less predictable.
SpaceOne terms this debut launch of digital items MetaMission 1, which it says will be the first of a large set of events catering to space fans. Future events, the company promises, will highlight big space science and exploration milestones, including the launch of NASA’s moonbound Artemis 1 mission and the first operational images of the James Webb Space Telescope, both of which are set to take place later in 2022.
Events will be both in-person and in a metaverse called Decentraland, although few details are available yet. Decentraland allows people (through avatars) to purchase blockchain-backed virtual land and to sport special outfits while doing so. SpaceOne’s packages for sale will include assets exclusive to Decentraland, said Graham, a designer who founded the underwear brand Joe Boxer.
Two MetaMission 1 packages will be for sale through SpaceOne, according to the company. The Pilot package, worth 0.1 Ethereum (roughly $305 USD at the moment), includes a few assets. Besides the minted-from-space Pilot mission patch, users can sport a polygon “Spacewalker sneaker” for Decentraland, a commemorative certificate and a token for future events put on by SpaceOne.
Users willing to pay 0.5 Ethereum (roughly $1515 USD) will not only receive all the assets of the Pilot package but also a Commander package. The Commander set of assets includes a Decentraland “Moon” jacket and a golden boarding pass including a token for pages, events and a Shopify store link.
A limited number will be available for an exclusive presale to Decentral Games players, which will drop on Wednesday at 8 p.m. EST and be available until 11:59 p.m. EST on Saturday (April 23), company representatives said. The public sale will open on Sunday (April 24) at 12 a.m. EST and run until 11:59 p.m. EST on Tuesday (April 26) or while supplies last.
If you open the Shopify link, Graham said, it will show a real-life jacket, fashioned in black. “It has a QR code that activates augmented reality, so you can walk in space in your jacket,” Graham explained.
SpaceOne is not the first space venture for Graham. For example, he got involved with Virgin Galactic in 2006, selling tickets to suborbital space “15 years too early,” as he joked about the situation (given that the company’s first fully crewed spaceflight occurred in July 2021).
And in 2014, Graham launched his eponymous menswear fashion line, which he says includes the iconic bowties for the Planetary Society’s Nye. Nye and Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin modeled the Nick Graham menswear collection in a virtual Martian landscape during New York Fashion Week in 2017.
“They just have this really authentic connection,” Chute said of the Nye-Graham dynamic. Chute added that the Plantary Society is interested in participating in SpaceOne’s forthcoming events, whether in virtual or physical form.
Chute said the advantage of being present in a digital environment is that more young people will be there. That gives the society the chance to augment its support base, which currently includes many older folks who lived through the transformative and inspiring Apollo era.
This is by no means the first time that the Planetary Society has used tech to generate interest in space; the nonprofit has a significant member population in Seattle (the home region of Microsoft) and also many supporters in the Bay Area who have tech backgrounds.
Best yet, the NFT donations will be unrestricted, allowing the society to put the money into important basic functions such as paying for electricity. Chute said this situation will allow the society to then plow more resources into promoting its core mandate, “which is to empower the world’s citizens to advance space science and exploration.”
This story was updated at 11:20 a.m. EDT Monday based on new information provided to Space.com by SpaceOne Industries.