A group of enterprising players have created a No Man's Sky cryptocurrency, but don't worry: it isn't terrible. The Hub Coin currency is intended to give players something to do at endgame; it's awarded for fun activities and can be exchanged for in-game items or merch from a notable No Man's Sky fan organization.
What is the No Man's Sky cryptocurrency?
Generally speaking, cryptocurrency has a pretty bad reputation in the gaming community. Notably, Valve has banned cryptocurrency games on Steam, and NFTs (which are crypto-adjacent) have been called a scam by Itch.io and abandoned by companies like Team17. However, it might not all be bad. A group of enterprising No Man's Sky fans known as The Galactic Hub have created Hub Coin, a No Man's Sky cryptocurrency which is intended to address the lack of an endgame economy in the game.
As Galactic Hub member CasualLunatic19420 told Vice Waypoint, the goal of Hub Coin is to circumvent the usual pay-to-earn nonsense and to allow players simply to "have fun playing a video game". It's entirely run by the community and there's no developer intervention whatsoever, which, according to Hub treasury member 7101334, is what sets it apart from paid currencies available in other games. Hub Coin cannot be bought or sold for real money, and it runs entirely on a "testnet", which is essentially a testing environment for cryptocurrency. If it helps, you can think of testnets as the Monopoly money version of cryptocurrency; transactions can still go ahead, but they aren't actually worth anything in real life.
Galactic Hub treasury secretary Kaboom told Waypoint that the environmental impact of cryptocurrency, which has been flagged up by developers like Bungie and called out by organizations like the IGDA, was "our biggest concern". However, the testnet that Hub Coin uses, which is called Goerli, has limited environmental impact due to its use of proof-of-authority authentication. Proof-of-authority uses a lot less energy but requires more trust on the part of the users involved, which makes it perfect for a cryptocurrency with no real-world value. Players are working out the value of Hub Coin amongst themselves and agreeing to stick to that value; because it's entirely profit-free, there's really no motivation for involved players to lie or inflate it, so it's all done on a community basis. Inflation is still a worry for The Galactic Hub, with member Gizmokhan conceding that it is "the biggest concern for our future-proofing department". However, so far, Gizmokhan says the Hub has managed to avoid it due to a universal agreement among players to "use it and back its value".
No Man's Sky's remarkable transformation
This is all part of No Man's Sky's remarkable transformation from universal (no pun intended) gaming community pariah to success story. When the game was originally released in 2016, it was almost instantly derided by many, with its lack of content and perceived dishonesty in terms of promised features being at the forefront of gamers' complaints. Instead of abandoning the project, developer Hello Games knuckled down and got to work, releasing update after update over subsequent years, all for free. Eventually, the game's reputation began to turn around; as promised features were slowly added, No Man's Sky began to resemble more the game that was promised in its hype trailers. The game's reputation then grew to the point that fans hired out a public billboard near Hello Games' offices, thanking the studio for its hard work on the game.
The No Man's Sky cryptocurrency idea is more proof that the game's community remains solid in 2022. The Galactic Hub has been around almost since No Man's Sky's inception, and its mission has always been to help players to find a way to have fun within the game, even if they were disillusioned with the reality of No Man's Sky. It makes sense for the Hub to be behind a cryptocurrency that's intended to give players something to do when they've exhausted all of No Man's Sky's content, but it's still neat to see cryptocurrency being used for good instead of the relentless barrage of cheap grift that appears to be at its core, in the gaming industry at least. We'll bring you more on this when we get it.