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Exploding Kittens becomes the latest board game maker to get into NFTs

Sounds fishy.

Apparently not content with removing one of the best parts of Happy Salmon in its recent re-release of the limb-slapping party game, publisher Exploding Kittens has decided to sully the game’s legacy further with the release of Happy Salmon NFTs.

Exploding Kittens, which is also behind the eponymous combustible kitty card game, food-fight hit Throw Throw Burrito and games with deeply witty titles like You’ve Got Crabs, announced that it would give away 10 Happy Salmon NFTs via a social media competition.

According to Exploding Kittens, the Happy Salmon NFTs created by Glowforge are the “world’s first laser-printable NFTs”, allowing their owners to print the digital collectibles into a physical form if they so choose.

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Each Happy Salmon NFT will include a 3D-printed box design for the party game, marked with its unique number out of 10. Owners of the NFTs can ask for their box to be printed by Glowforge, but each box can only be printed once - even if the NFT itself is later resold - as the code will be permanently deleted afterwards.

If you’ve read this far wondering “What’s an NFT again?”, here’s a brief reminder. NFT stands for non-fungible token, and represents ownership of a unique digital item - which can be anything from an image or video to files used in 3D printing. Crucially, an NFT doesn’t stop anyone else from saving or sharing the original file - the NFT solely represents ownership of the original file. People can still freely right-click, save and share the image like any other file on the internet. Think of it like a digital certificate of ownership, rather than the object itself.

NFTs are tracked via the blockchain, the technology behind cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin, which securely records who owns what. The blockchain - and its related technologies, including NFTs - has been the subject of much criticism related to its devastating environmental impact, the risk of scams and money laundering enabled by its anonymous nature, the ethical questions surrounding compensation of original artists, and the increasingly eye-watering amounts of money traded for NFTs by buyers and celebrities who appear to misunderstand exactly what it is they’re buying.

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Exploding Kittens isn’t the first name from the world of tabletop gaming to make a move into NFTs. Zombicide and Blood Rage studio CMON joined forces with NFT startup Monsoon to announce an “NFT trading platform” last autumn, while Hasbro confirmed it is looking into the “substantial” potential for Magic: The Gathering NFTs. Kickstarter’s announcement last month of a planned move onto the blockchain in 2022 was met with a scathing backlash from creators and backers alike, with many subsequently looking into alternatives to the crowdfunding giant.

Exploding Kittens appears to have pre-empted the expected backlash to its NFT announcement by stating that it will partner with carbon offsetting company Aerial to offset 10 times the carbon emissions generated by the Happy Salmon NFTs. However, as many have pointed out, offsetting carbon isn’t the same as not using it in the first place.

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