What is the Environmental Impact of NFTs?

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Non-fungible tokens are the latest trend in blockchain. However, there has been some resistance from the artistic community, which creates many of the NFT designs. There are still many people who are excited about the potential profit from these digital artworks. However, others have started to tell the story of an evil and destructive monster. NFTs are still considered the cutting-edge and possible future of digital art, regardless of whether they’re viewed as a financial rescue or an ecological disaster.

NFTs have a negative impact on the environment, especially in the age of climate change, carbon offset and the New Green Deal. Artists who are staunch environmentalists recently began to move away from NFTs even though it could potentially cost them millions in revenue. These artists argue that NFTs have a far too negative environmental impact.

We will be introducing you to digital art forms using NFT.

What’s an NFT?

A unique digital construct, also known as NFT or non-fungible token (or NFT ), has been registered on a blockchain ledger to indelibly track the ownership and authenticity of the construct. Artists can use NFTs to make sure their digital art is not copied. Digital artwork is susceptible to imitations, which can be difficult to find. It is therefore crucial to have the ability to prove ownership and authenticity.

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NFTs can be recorded as blockchain assets and are issued in the same manner as crypto tokens. Most NFTs currently are created on Ethereum. A unique entry in the blockchain ledger is created when an asset is minted. The asset’s ownership is permanently recorded on the blockchain whenever it is sold. Artists can also make a portion of each sale.

A digital artwork can be copied in this manner, but it cannot be distributed as a.jpg,.png, or.gif. However the NFT associated with it will always remain unique.

What’s the carbon footprint of an NFT?

Before we can discuss the carbon footprint for an NFT, we must first understand what a carbon footprint actually is. A carbon footprint is a measure of the amount of carbon emitted in the creation and consumption of a product. This process can vary depending on the product. What type of inputs are used to make a glass bottle? Are they using raw materials or recycled material? What kind of energy is used during the manufacturing process? How big is the bottle and how does it get to its destination? These factors will all have an impact on the carbon footprint for the glass bottle.

There are many variables involved in the carbon footprint so it is almost always necessary to estimate the carbon footprint for each item or person. It would be difficult to calculate the exact footprint, so it is helpful to use an estimate in order to understand the potential impact of an NFT on the environment.

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NFTs are unique because there are many steps involved in minting coins that do not have a carbon footprint. There are also few studies on the subject. Digiconomist, which examines the unintended effects of digital trends, created an Ethereum Energy Consumption Indicator (you can see it ). It estimates that a single Ethereum transaction will have a carbon footprint of 37.29kg CO2 (as at May 2021). This is equivalent to 6 215 hours of YouTube watching or 82 648 VISA transactions.

Energy Consumption by Country, Inc. Ethereum (Annualized MWh)

Others have also made predictions about the carbon footprint for NFTs. This is due to the fact that each NFT sold or minted creates another transaction on Ethereum’s blockchain. Artist Memo Akten suggested that a NFT with a carbon footprint of 48kg CO2 could be created. We can see that NFTs have a high carbon footprint and are likely to be rejected for creating digital artworks.

Many artists have decided to avoid NFTs even though it may mean losing significant income. This decision has been compared to avoiding plane flights, biking to work or eating meatless meals. These things aren’t necessary, so we can reduce our carbon footprints by removing them from our lives.

Beef, for example, has a carbon footprint roughly ten times larger than chicken. So removing beef from your diet can have a significant effect on your carbon footprint over years and decades. If avoiding beef is an effective way to reduce our carbon footprint, then avoiding the purchase or creation of NFTs is also a good idea.

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Climate Change Isn’t Due to Individual Choices

Some claim that individual decisions to reduce our carbon footprint are almost futile, as only 100 companies account for 71% the global carbon emissions. It can be difficult to reduce your carbon emissions by yourself. Are corporations and governments responsible for making the necessary changes to reduce our effect on the Earth’s environment?

Individuals collectively have greater control over their consumption decisions. This is evident in the increased use of sustainable products rather than single-use products. This is how consumers can influence how corporations behave. We can also avoid NFTs, which will send a message to the public that they aren’t valued and less NFTs will be minted.

The carbon footprint of airlines is huge. Why is this OK but not for NFTs?

It might appear that NFTs are unfairly targeted because they are new. But, the truth is that there has been a significant push for global decarbonization for a while. This is what the Paris Accord was all about. Industries have come up with innovative ways to reduce carbon emissions to help reverse climate change and prevent a crisis.

We can all take the necessary steps to increase sustainability. The real question is how acceptable an activity or product is, given its cost, like an NFT.

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NFTs Can Make You Wealthy

People still prefer to fly and eat beef because they see more value than the activism required to combat climate change. They might reconsider their decision later if there is more evidence that their actions are harming the planet. If the push for decarbonization causes beef and airline tickets to be too expensive, that could lead to a dramatic reduction in their use.

NFTs are no different. Participation in the NFT ecosystem is up to you. You will also have to consider the choices available to you. What are these options?

There are many options to reduce our carbon footprint

Carbon Offsets

Carbon offsets are payments that help to lower carbon dioxide emissions or eliminate it from the atmosphere. It is believed that offsets can be purchased by individuals, corporations, and governments to match their carbon emissions. This would cancel out any emissions. Although this may seem like an ideal solution to large carbon footprints problems, experts warn that carbon offsets should not be used if there are better options.

This warning is due to the fact that carbon offsets can also cause new, more carbon-intensive activities to be started just because they are available. This is a fallacious approach at a time where the world should be seeking ways to reduce its emissions. Carbon offset programs are not always as reliable as they should be. It can take years to offset the carbon released. In other cases, the carbon saved is just released into the atmosphere later, which provides no long-term benefit.

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What is the deal with low carbon NFTs?

To verify that transactions are valid and store data, the Ethereum blockchain used to mint NFTs uses Proof-of-Work (PoW). This PoW mechanism is what causes the extremely high energy consumption of the Ethereum network. There are other mechanisms, like Proof-of-Stake (PoS), that are much less energy-intensive. Many blockchains that support NFTs, such as Polygon and Tezos, already use the PoS mechanism. They also have a lower energy consumption than Ethereum. Tezos, for example, has an annual energy consumption of 0.00006Twh compared to Ethereum’s 33.57Twh.

Ethereum is moving to the PoS mechanism. Staking has begun for Ethereum. While there is no date set for the complete move to PoS, the Ethereum.org website states that it will occur in 2021 or 222. This will greatly reduce the carbon footprint for NFTs.

Others have suggested that PoW blockchains might be acceptable if they are powered by a renewable energy source like solar or wind. According to , 39% of PoW blockchains’ energy is actually renewable energy. This was according to a 2020 study by Cambridge University. Researchers also suggested that this number could rise in the future.

It is important to remember that the total electricity consumed by any blockchain is only one factor in the overall carbon footprint and environmental impact. The number of stakers and miners will increase as cryptocurrencies become more mainstream and popular. This will lead to more cryptocurrency-related hardware being put into service. However, this hardware has its own carbon footprint due to the manufacturing and extraction process. The carbon footprint of NFTs has been estimated to be higher than originally thought. It could even remain high on PoS blockchains.

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In conclusion

The energy used for NFTs makes up a small fraction of global emissions. Even a fraction of all the energy used in blockchains is being consumed for NFTs. Yet, our actions in NFT will reflect the mindset required to reverse climate change.

Good news is that NFTs have many potential solutions to carbon emissions issues. They are being implemented in many cases, but they need more widespread adoption. This is true for the entire carbon neutral movement. While a solution is not yet in sight, there are many artists and environmentalists who believe that NFTs will be a viable option. They predict that emissions will be non-issue in the NFT space within the next year.

Artists are the ones who have been most vocal in calling for change. They have the power and the NFT marketplaces could fail to meet their demands.

Already some artists are offering bounties for those who find new ways of improving the sustainability and carbon footprints of NFTs. This is a great example of how the community can tackle the problem themselves, rather than waiting for someone else to solve it.

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