In late 2017, ICOs — the now-infamous Initial Coin Offers — were all the rage as people jumped on the crypto craze in the wake of Bitcoin’s $US20,000 peak.

Suspicious regulators and a series of failures later and the shine was well and truly off the ICO.

But now they’re back wearing a new hat and fancy coat: the Initial Exchange Offering or IEO.

The IEO is a cryptocoin that’s offered and administered by an exchange platform on behalf of the outfit wanting to raise money.

The latest to come across the Stockhead desk is from Asteroid Australia, an outfit that wants to set up an ICANN-like (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) system for people wanting to stake an ownership claim on — yep — an asteroid.

It has launched a cryptocoin dubbed ASTRcoin on Russian exchange Latoken.

“Asteroid is building a decentralised database whereby private individuals, corporations and nation states can register claims on mining rights to over 600,000 identified asteroids in our near celestial orbit using a smart contract and proprietary BlockClaim mechanism,” the whitepaper said.

Asteroid CEO Corneliu Bodnar told Stockhead the cost of listing on one of the better known exchanges was too high and “one might even say [they are] built for quick profits without concern for longevity”.

The cost of buying a piece of asteroid? One ASTRcoin, valid for a single claim worth, according to Asteroid Australia, $1m.

That figure is based on a NASA estimate that all of the known asteroids could hold $US700 quintillion worth of minerals.

More than 750,000 asteroids have been identified so far but most are too far away to think about as a theoretical mining target, as they orbit between Mars and Jupiter.

The ASTRcoin itself was sold for about $US0.23, but once trading actually hit $US1.20 and now, according to Bodnar, are trading between $US0.64 to $US0.70 cent. Bodnar says the market cap is $US120m.

Mining the potential mineral wealth of asteroids is occupying the minds of several billionaires and countries today — just look at the UK’s Asteroid Mining Corporation — but is still only theoretical because we don’t yet have the technology to get to them, let alone mine them.

Asteroid Australia is also in tricky legal territory — if you can’t physically protect your claim, or even monitor what’s happening on your asteroid, you don’t for all practical purposes have a real claim, so your ASTRcoin isn’t worth much.

The ASTRcoin white paper notes that under current international law, legally no one and no state can claim or own any part of space, yet.