The latest blockchain hype is non-fungible tokens, better known as NFTs, but there is some resistance from the artistic community developing many of the NFT designs. While there are still many who are excited about the profit potential of these new digital works of art, there are others who have started telling the story of an earth-devastating monster. But whether thought of as a financial savior or an ecological disaster, many still consider NFTs to be the frontrunner and possibly the future when it comes to digital art.

The ongoing problem is the environmental impact of NFTs, especially in the age of climate change, carbon offsetting and the New Green Deal. Artists who are also staunch environmentalists have recently started moving away from NFTs, even though it could potentially cost them millions of dollars in revenue. These artists claim that the environmental impact of NFTs is just too great.

For those just getting started with this digital art form, we’ll explore what an NFT is and how we can decide whether or not its environmental impact is justified.

What are NFTs?

A non-fungible token, or NFT, is a unique digital construct that has been registered on a blockchain ledger to indelibly record the construct’s authenticity and ownership. NFTs were created to give artists the ability to ensure that their digital art cannot be counterfeited. This ability to prove authenticity and ownership is critical to digital artwork because replicas are so easy to make and so difficult to detect.

Since NFTs are recorded as blockchain assets, they are minted in the same way as cryptocurrency tokens. Currently, most of the NFTs are created on the Ethereum blockchain. When embossing, a unique entry is created in the blockchain ledger that identifies the asset created. With every sale, the asset transfer is also recorded on the blockchain, meaning that ownership of the asset is always known and publicly available. This also allows the artist to make a percentage of the sale price not only on the first sale, but on each subsequent sale of the NFT as well.

When a digital work of art is embossed in this way, it can be copied and distributed as usual as .jpg or .png or .gif, but the associated NFT always remains unique.

What is the carbon footprint of NFTs?

Before we talk about the carbon footprint of an NFT, we need to know what exactly a carbon footprint is. A carbon footprint is an estimate of the total carbon emitted during the manufacturing process and consumption of a product. Depending on what product it is, this process can vary dramatically. For example, what kind of input is used in making a glass bottle? Are they raw materials or recycled materials? What energy is used in the manufacturing process? What does the bottle contain and how is it transported to its final destination? All of these things will affect the glass bottle’s carbon footprint.

Because carbon footprint has so many variables in it, we almost always need to estimate carbon footprint for each item or person. Because calculating the exact footprint would be so complex, using an estimate can be extremely useful in understanding the environmental impact of an item, such as an NFT.

The environmental impact of NFTs

The latest blockchain hype is non-fungible tokens, better known as NFTs, but there is some resistance from the artistic community developing many of the NFT designs. While there are still many who are excited about the profit potential of these new digital works of art, there are others who have started telling the story of an earth-devastating monster. But whether thought of as a financial savior or an ecological disaster, many still consider NFTs to be the frontrunner and possibly the future when it comes to digital art.

The ongoing problem is the environmental impact of NFTs, especially in the age of climate change, carbon offsetting and the New Green Deal. Artists who are also staunch environmentalists have recently started moving away from NFTs, even though it could potentially cost them millions of dollars in revenue. These artists claim that the environmental impact of NFTs is just too great.

For those just getting started with this digital art form, we’ll explore what an NFT is and how we can decide whether or not its environmental impact is justified.

Categories: NFT

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