Just like bitcoins, the NFTs also are cryptocurrencies. However, when the individual bitcoins possess the same value, NFTs are more complicated and uncertain. NFT’s each token has a specific different value, and the NFT’s owner can’t use them to buy and collect things. They exist as digital representations of songs, films, artworks, and games, including various other things. NFTs have accelerated the use of blockchain and helped it to push to the point where it is now. But, it is not the only thing that NFTs have been speeding up. There is one other thing, as well as one thing of concern, which is climate change. NFTs leave a high amount of carbon footprint, which is harmful to nature.
This guide will try to explore all the carbon footprints of the NFTs, their impacts, calculators, and the significant solutions. So, let’s get started.
NFT Carbon Footprint And Emission- Explained
NFTs use a lot of energy depending on the blockchain they are on. Most NFT creators use the Ethereum blockchain. Ethereum functions through the proof-of-work system, which involves an energy-intensive method and computer functions widely known as “mining”.
“Minors” or the specialists that mine the NFTs, take turns to find the combination to a digital lock. A digital lock is a long string of random digits which needs to be guessed to provide the rewards. These rewards are then in turn paid in the cryptocurrency known as the “Ether.” Minors have to use fast and efficient computers to crack the digital lock as the digital lock resets every 15 seconds to keep the competition on.
It is a great thing of work as the high technologies and experts are involved, but that is also where the problem relies on. Ethereum uses roughly about 31 terawatt per hour, an estimated amount of electricity. This amount of electricity is enough to power Nigeria for an entire year. This use of electricity yields a great amount of concern for artists around the world.
Joanie Lemercier, a French digital artist, recently canceled the sale of six projects after determining the affiliated energy costs. The sale consumes enough electricity in 10 seconds to electricity the artist’s entire studio for twenty months and leave nft carbon footprint.
ArtStation, a website where digital artists can showcase their work, has recently launched an NFT marketplace. However, just hours after announcing the planned launch, universal criticism on social media compelled ArtStation to cancel the project.
Despite the concerns, it is challenging to calculate the responsibility of the NFT industry for carbon emissions. But the everyday increasing demand for digital art makes it liable for energy use.
Till now the readers can guess the NFTs do not impact the environment on their own, but they do while the process of minting as Ethereum uses the “Proof-of-Work” method that results in these environmental consequences. To understand more about the NFT carbon emissions, let’s take a brief proof of work method. Understanding the proof-of-work method helps to know the different stages of energy use when processing NFTs.
Before minting the NFTs, it is usually listed in an NFT marketplace like OpenSea. While listing an NFT does not require much energy, the location of the listing determines the energy requirement for the minting process. Choosing an NFT marketplace, which hosts the Ethereum platform that employs proof of work, implies that the minting procedure will use more energy, at least for the time being.
Purchasing the NFTs ultimately results in mining. Whenever someone purchases the NFT, the miners compete to solve complex mathematical problems as quickly as possible to win the right to mint the NFT. Minors do it by solving computing resources using proof of work. And as mentioned before, mining is an energy-intensive process, requiring specialized computing hardware that consumes massive amounts of electricity.
Storing And Transferring The NFTs-
After completing the NFT purchase, users can store it or trade or transfer it. During the transfer process, NFT goes through the same energy-intensive process as mining. But it only happens when transferring the NFTs to another proof of work platform. However, storing an NFT consumes no energy.
NFT Carbon Footprint Calculator
The NFTs are going nowhere. So, the world is looking forward to less intensive solutions. But till everyone has a perfect solution, it’s the individual artist’s responsibility to determine how much of the energy their NFTs are using. And the best way to do this is to use the NFT carbon footprint calculator.
There are various calculators that one can use to calculate the individual carbon emission:
One of the most popular and widely used tools to calculate is this. It can check the individual carbon emission through the website and also have separate calculators for individuals, small businesses, and more. This specific calculator offers the users granular types of controls. The users can check the country-wise carbon emission footprint.
Energy Efficient Solutions
Should everyone stop using the NFTs, if it’s harmful to nature? Well stopping using the NFTs will not help as it’s not this digital art that creates the issue, but it is Ethereum’s proof-of-work method. So, alternative technologies do exist to produce the NFTs without emitting NFTs carbon footprint and using the highest amount of energy.
The solution to the proof-of-work method is the proof-of-stake method. This alternative method to the proof-of-work method is much more sustainable and effective.
The positive effects of this method even lead ETH to switch to the proof-of-stake model. This model uses the assets of the blockchain in question.
As a result, unlike Proof-of-Work, this is not possible to easily plug in and begin mining (PoW). Users must either buy it or earn it in some other way. As a result, PoS blockchains always begin with a fundraising campaign to make a perfect way to start native assets.
Holders of the resource in question have the option of putting part or all of their capital into escrow with the goal of complete application in the validation of the blocks or voting for someone according to the system’s implementations. So, the NFTs can be greener than ever and can become good for the planet.
The carbon footprint NFT has become a topic of great concern for many. The current model that is used to mine the NFTs, Proof-of-work, uses more energy than can power an entire small neighborhood. So, it is a great amount of energy to spend on digital art.
However, there are both solutions and prevention for the issue. When solutions are not so obvious, anyone can prevent the individual NFTs carbon emission, using the NFTs carbon calculator.
Despite these issues, the NFTs are here to stay, so the world has now focused on the more sustainable solutions, proof-of-stake. So, now it is a matter of high hope, where the world can go.