How do you make money in No Man's Sky? The space exploration game is full of things to see and do, but to get the most out of the adventure, you're going to need lots of Units and Nanites. You can get through the main story on the basics, but No Man's Sky is much more enjoyable when you can buy new ships, upgrade all your equipment, and cruise through the galaxy freely.
As part of our No Man's Sky guide, we're going to tell you the best method for how to make money and get rich quick. This is something a player of any level of skill or position in the game can do, and it'll ensure you can play how you want instead of struggling to afford the next upgrade. If you're looking for more general tips and advice, check out our main No Man's Sky guide, where you'll find help with all the basics as well as Trophies, settlements, expeditions, and much more. Confused about the difference between the game's various currencies? Read up through here: No Man's Sky: What Are Units, Nanites, and Quicksilver Currencies?
No Man's Sky: How to Make Money
If you're looking to make money fast in No Man's Sky, you want to be raking in millions of Units. This is the game's main currency that allows you to buy certain supplies and items, as well as new ships, freighters, and more. While you don't necessarily need to be swimming in Units to play the game, having lots of money does speed things up a lot and means you can upgrade to much better equipment.
We're going to give you one or two methods to make easy money, and the best part is that they can be done very early on in proceedings. However, the main method we're going to be talking about requires that you reach a certain point in the game first. You will need to get through the tutorial and up to the point of reaching the Space Anomaly, after which you'll be able to start setting up to farm Units quickly. For more information, see our guide: No Man's Sky: How to Find the Space Anomaly and Nada and Polo.
Once you've reached that position in the game, we can really get cooking, and line your pockets with enough Units that you never need to worry about it again.
No Man's Sky: How to Make Money As a Beginner
Before we get to the main method for farming Units, we wanted to bring up a few quick and easy ways for you to amass some money in the very early stages of No Man's Sky. Even if you've started a brand new game and are on your very first planet, you can find ways of making some quick space bucks.
Below, we go through some quick and simple ways to get some Units and set yourself up for success.
Scan and Analyse Everything
While you're still on the first planet you spawn on, one of the first things you'll need to do is repair your Multi-tool's scanner. However, you will also install an Analysis Visor — the game will tell you how to do this. Once you have, hold L2 to bring up the scanner view. This is a very useful feature for many reasons, but for a quick injection of Units, analyse the planet's flora and fauna. Find a living thing and hold R2 over it to analyse it. You'll be rewarded with a small number of Units for each new plant or animal species you find, and it can be an effective way to get some quick cash early on.
Look for Valuable Loot in Caves
Each planet in No Man's Sky is likely to have caves dotted around. Because every world is randomly generated, the frequency and size of caves will vary, but you're bound to see some, even in the very early game. Our advice is simply to have a look inside and around the outside of these caves. Sometimes, you might find certain rare objects and items that fetch a pretty penny when sold.
For example, Humming Sacs will contain Albumen Pearls, and these fetch roughly 9,000 Units each. Vortex Cubes can also occasionally be found in and around caves, and they sell for about 5,800 Units apiece. There are other items like this, so keep your eyes peeled. Odds are if you pick up something that looks interesting, it could be worth a few thousand Units or more.
Once you've progressed enough that you're able to fly into outer space, you'll notice there are a lot of asteroids floating around. These can all be mined using your starships mining laser or weapons. While you'll mainly receive Tritium, asteroids will often contain other, more valuable resources, such as Silver or Gold. These metals can be sold to make some quick cash.
Another fairly lucrative resource you can find early on is Salvaged Data. This item can be found in pods under a planet's surface. You can use your Scanner to locate them, and then your Multi-tool's Terrain Manipulator to dig down and retrieve them. Each one will sell for 50,000 Units, so they can be a great way to tot up your bank balance. Salvaged Data does have other uses, though; it's used to purchase Research Blueprints, which in turn allow you to learn recipes for new and better equipment. You'll also need a bunch of it in order to make much more money later. Still, for a decent income early on, this is one resource you can utilise.
No Man's Sky: How to Make Money Fast with Economy Crashing
By farming a common resource in No Man's Sky, you can take advantage of the in-game space trade economy to make a huge number of Units with relative ease. It takes some time to set up, but once you have everything in place, you'll have access to more Units than you'll ever need, able to buy whatever takes your fancy. We're going to explain how to perform economy crashing, step by step.
Before we get into it, we should say that you don't have to do this in order to have lots of money in No Man's Sky. This is just a surefire way to ensure you never need to worry about Units ever again. Some might see this method as a cheat, but there's nothing stopping you from not claiming the resources back once you sell them, if your moral compass points that way.
Mine Some Cobalt
This can be done at any time during the process (up to a point), but you will need to find some Cobalt along the way. Cobalt is a relatively common mineral that can be gathered from large deposits on some planets, or can be retrieved by mining the stalactites and stalagmites you find in caves. This is the best way to get it as it won't cost you anything. You can check whether a planet has Cobalt deposits on it by performing a scan on the planet from space — the summary will tell you which mineral deposits are on the surface.
Alternatively, you can commonly buy Cobalt from trade terminals in space stations. It doesn't really matter how much Cobalt you gather, but a decent stack of it — a few hundred or so — will be fine.
Acquire the Medium Refiner from the Space Anomaly
To do this method, you'll need to play through the opening hours of No Man's Sky and make your way to the Space Anomaly, a scripted event you can't miss. You'll know it when it happens: a large, spherical structure will appear in space, and you'll receive a call, summoning you to the Space Anomaly. You can learn more about reaching this location here: No Man's Sky: How to Find the Space Anomaly and Nada and Polo.
Before you get there, you'll want to have accrued at least 10 Salvaged Data and a few hundred Nanites. As mentioned above, Salvaged Data can be found underground on each planet by using your Scanner, and dug up using the Terrain Manipulator. Keep 10 of them in your inventory, as you'll need them to purchase something important.
Aboard the Space Anomaly, find Priest Entity Nada and talk to them. Once you're done, you'll need to talk to a couple of other characters too, but eventually you'll be able to roam around the Anomaly freely. Next, you need to head to the back room — it's a circular room with various terminals lining the walls. In here, you're looking to pick up a few things that'll help you in your money-gathering mission.
First, on the left-most terminal, talk to Iteration: Hyperion and get the Economy Scanner blueprint for your starship. It costs 150 Nanites. You may also need to buy the Teleport Receiver first, which also costs 150 Nanites. For more on Nanites, see our guide: No Man's Sky: How to Farm Nanites. Anyway, you want the Economy Scanner because it allows you to find the wealthiest star systems when viewing the galaxy map — this will come into play later.
Optionally, you can talk to Iteration: Selene and pick up the Personal Refiner exosuit upgrade, which is useful but not strictly necessary. Buying this blueprint will set you back 360 Nanites.
Next, go to the Construction Research Station. Tab over until you find Technology Modules, and locate the Medium Refiner. This is what you're saving all that Salvaged Data for: this device costs 10 Salvaged Data, but will be the key to you earning all the Units you'll ever need. If you happen to have another 10 Salvaged Data, you can also pick up the Large Refiner, but it's not necessary. For more info about these devices, read up here: No Man's Sky: How to Refine Materials.
Gather Supplies and Prepare a Base
What you need to do now is gather all the Oxygen you can find. The easiest and fastest way to do this is buying as much as you can from trade terminals and from pilots who come in to land at space stations, and you'll get more from three-star systems. You can always scout planets and harvest the Oxygen yourself. You also need to gather the materials necessary to install the technologies mentioned in the step above:
Economy Scanner: 5 Microprocessors, 1 Wiring Loom. Both can be purchased from trade terminals.
Personal Refiner: 150 Oxygen, 100 Chromatic Metal. Oxygen can be bought or gathered on-planet, Chromatic Metal can be refined from Copper, Cadmium, Emeril, or Indium.
Medium Refiner: 100 Magnetised Ferrite, 5 Di-Hydrogen Jelly. Magnetised Ferrite can be refined from Pure Ferrite, which is refined from Ferrite Dust. Di-Hydrogen Jelly can be crafted with 40 Di-Hydrogen, or refined from 30 Di-Hydrogen. You can also commonly buy Di-Hydrogen Jelly at trade terminals.
Your next step will be to launch in your starship and access the Economy Scanner with the quick menu (Down on d-pad). In Utilities, select Scan for Trade Outpost. You should then get a marker indicating a trade post — fly over to it and land there. Ideally you want to be in a three-star system when you do this. To check the economy rating for star systems, open the galaxy map and look at the description box for each system. There is a vertical star rating that tells you how wealthy a system is; the higher the number of stars, the more Oxygen you can buy at once, which will make this process a little faster. If you're not in a three-star system, consider warping to one before you go further.
Once you've settled on a Trade Outpost, you'll need to put down a Base Computer on the platform to establish it as a base. Once this is done, you can start placing down Medium Refiners, as many as you like, but at least two would be good. Finally, build a Base Teleport Module and a Biofuel Reactor to power it. This will give you quick access to space stations you've been to so you can keep stocking yourself up with Oxygen or any other resources you might need.
Farm That Cobalt
Now, you're ready to start the process of making serious Units. Assuming you have a batch of Cobalt at the ready, open up a Medium Refiner, place it in, and begin processing it into Ionised Cobalt. Once this is done, pick up the Ionised Cobalt and put it in one of the input slots. Then, place all that lovely Oxygen you have into the second slot, and fire it up. What this does is multiplies your supply of Ionised Cobalt six-fold. For example, if you have 100 Ionised Cobalt, this process will turn it into 600.
Essentially what we're doing is duplicating the Ionised Cobalt as much as we dare, and this means you'll need a boat-load of Oxygen, hence why we encouraged you to pick as much of it up as possible earlier. This process is repetitive but doesn't take too long in the grand scheme of things. Just process the Ionised Cobalt and Oxygen together, pick up the resulting larger stack, add that to the input, and watch your supply grow.
It's sort of up to you how much Ionised Cobalt you make, but we would suggest making at least three or four full stacks, which translates to roughly 30k - 40k. You can keep going as much as you want, provided you can supply enough Oxygen to keep the procedure going and you have ample inventory space. If you need more inventory slots, check out this guide: No Man's Sky: How to Upgrade Your Exosuit, Multitool, and Starship.
Once you have a huge amount of Ionised Cobalt, pop it back in the Medium Refiners on its own, and this will convert it back into regular Cobalt, which gives you twice as much. You'll need a few empty inventory slots for this. When you have bundles and bundles of Cobalt, you're finally ready to convert it into cash.
Crash Economies Like There's No Tomorrow
The process to get here takes a good few hours, but all the effort is worth it — now, you can make millions of Units in seconds. What's more, you can keep adding millions to those millions with each new trade terminal you visit.
With all that Cobalt in tow, head to the space station of a three-star system (if you can find one). Find the trade terminal, then select Sell from the top left of the menu. Find your enormous Cobalt supply, and note it'll sell for millions of Units. Sell it all. Hey presto, you now have a bulging space-wallet.
But we're not done yet! What you've just done is essentially crashed the economy. Because you've supplied an inordinate amount of Cobalt, the demand for that material plummets, which drives the purchase price of Cobalt down dramatically. So, go back to the Buy tab, then buy back all that Cobalt. It will cost you a fraction of what you sold it for, and you'll walk away with not only a huge profit, but also your full supply of Cobalt, which you can then sell and buy over and over again, as many times as you want.
It's best to do this in three-star systems, because these will have a higher base stock of materials. So, what will happen is this: you'll sell all your Cobalt for millions, which gets added to the quantity the trade terminal already has, and when you buy it all back, you get your original supply plus whatever they had in stock to start with. You'll receive more Cobalt every time you do this trick, meaning you make more and more Units every time you do it. Congrats, you now have effectively infinite money.
It's worth quickly noting that you can perform this same method with Ionised Cobalt (or Chlorine, which is refined from Salt). However, Cobalt is sold in every system in the game, while the rarer materials are not. They'll give you more money, but it's luck of the draw whether the terminals you visit will buy your stock. Cobalt works best because it's bought and sold everywhere.
Live Your Best No Man's Sky Life
Suddenly, all your money worries in No Man's Sky are over. You can crash economies as often as you want or need to, as long as you keep hold of that stock of Cobalt. You can buy far superior starships, freighters, and other vehicles to your heart's content. You can purchase the majority of materials you need from trade posts instead of mining planets like before. It's pretty amazing.
Of course, there's much more to the game than just having a hefty bank balance, so once you're satisfied with your Units packet, do enjoy the game's various quest lines, explore its colourful worlds, and have fun. There's a tonne to see and do.
Phew! So, that's how to make money and get lots of Units quickly in No Man's Sky. It takes a bit of setup, but once you're going, you need never fret about Units again. Have you made a bundle in No Man's Sky? Share more money-making tips in the comments section below, and check out our No Man's Sky guide for much more.
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