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We've reached the "finance our asteroid mining startup" phase of NFTs

Exploration Laboratories LLC swears this is only a "side project" to its sci-fi plans

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We’d love to close our eyes and miss this thing.
We’d love to close our eyes and miss this thing.
Screenshot: YouTube (Fair Use)

Non-fungible tokens, better known as “NFTs” or “digital Pogs but somehow less useful,” are still very much a thing people are choosing to spend their money on during an era of ongoing pandemics, potential nuclear war, and economic inflation. Actually, now that we think about it, people were spending their money on actual Pogs during a very similar era... but at least Pogs never strained our enjoyment of Bill Murray.

In any case, there are at least enough secondhand stories of NFT proselytizers making huge piles of cash from glorified .JPEG images that a number of businesses, non-profits, and startups have announced their own various blockchain-based fundraising efforts—most often from guys trying to be the next Elon Musk, an objectively horrid life goal.

The latest to pop up is from Exploration Laboratories LLC, or ExLabs, a company hoping to get in on asteroid mining, an industry that makes NFTs look like safe 401k investment opportunity.

Yesterday, ExLabs announced its own NFT collection plans to help raise funds to eventually (and totally plausibly) fire mining equipment into deep space where it will land on asteroids, extract precious resources, and scoot ‘em on back to Earth. Easy peasy.


Those who ante up a currently unspecified amount of money converted into “Exploration” tokens will be rewarded not only with NFTs, but potential job opportunities, too. “The whole point of embarking on this side project is to be able to scale our engineering. And so, if talent exists within the community, specifically to contribute to the project on a significant level, we want to speak with those individuals directly,” ExLabs chief engineer Miguel Pascual explained to Motherboard on Monday.

Future NFT rewards include “launching the holder’s name into space, advising on future company designs and community decisions, placing art on next-generation task vehicles, and possible ownership of actual asteroid fragments,” ExLab’s official press release adds.


It’s not that we don’t want to see asteroid mining become a thing—our terrestrial resources seem to be dwindling at a rather alarming rate, after all—but it’s hard to envision that sort of monumental engineering and aerospace feat being even partially accomplished within the same economic ecosystem as a bunch of hideous cartoon apes that are also reminiscent of already existing, far more impressive animated simians.

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