These packages may be found scattered about the Von Braun, on bodies, in containers, or in people’s effects. These nanites are collected in a specific slot in the player's inventory, viewed in the lower left display of the MFD.
They are used to purchase or replicate certain objects at Replicators or to gain access to areas around both the Von Braun and UNN Rickenbacker. They are also used to perform certain tasks, like hacking, weapon modifications and repairs, since their production capability is required to reroute and replace electronic components. When any of these tasks are performed, the number of nanites required will be displayed.
The Soldier can find nanites just about everywhere, whether more commonly on dead crew members or in storage crates, but he can also gain them by using the Recycler item and the Molecular Transmutation Psi Power. Winning the OverWorld Zero minigame also gives a nanite bonus.
Nanite technology was first developed at Masala University in 2078. By 2082, it had become the official UNN currency.
Efficient nanite-based technology was introduced after a series of radical experiments at the University of Masala in 2078. Nanites are sub-atomic machines that are capable of being programmed to perform a nearly infinite variety of tasks, from forming themselves in a replication grid to "create" arbitrary objects, to fighting bacteria and viruses in the human bloodstream. In other words, nanites (combined with replication tech) created the "every material."
The UNN Currency Redefinition Act of 2082 opened up the door for moving financial transactions to a strict nanite basis.