NFTs are world known but unique cryptographic assets stored on blockchain using unique identification codes and metadata so as to distinguish them from each other.
NFT ecosystem can possibly create a democratic landscape for everyone to trade their collectibles. Therefore, within the domain of NFTs, world is one’s dominion.
But preserving this dominion becomes a greatest responsibility.
And here the narrative surrounding the impact of different sorts of blockchains on the environment finds relevance.
According to World Economic Forum data, most of the energy used i.e. 78% for functioning cryptos come from the renewable sources.
A major part of this is derived from the “excess electricity”, which helps significantly in preventing wastage of unused renewable energy.
A new series of energy-efficient blockchain is beginning to release eco-friendly NFT collection focused on reducing carbon emissions.
Or the upcoming Carbon Offset vIRL NFTs which aim to ensure planting of a tree saplings to offset carbon emissions i.e., for every dollar spent in NFT redemption, National Forest Foundation will plant a sapling.
Each of these saplings will offset approximately a tonne of CO2 over their lifetime.
There are even varieties available to be chosen, ranging from four pack sizes, five tree designs including six rare species.
A pack being offered will host cards loaded with a specific dollar value from $1 to $100, where a $1 card would mean a single tree to be planted and a $100 version would ensure 100 trees get planted.
This has enabled NFT Companies to link these virtual assets to the very physical assets and services like ecosystem, plants etc.
Unlike other available NFTs in the market, these vIRL NFTs launched in 2018 are unlimited but compostable.
They give their collectors the legibility to buy packs 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Also, they could be collected, traded, and gifted cards in any possible way as they like once the purchase is made.
According to the statement made by brand (WAX, Worldwide Asset eXchange) that pioneered in issuing these NFTs: “We are setting higher standards for responsibility across the blockchain. We’ve been working tirelessly to ensure our blockchain is both energy efficient and inspires our community to act”.
And once redeemed, the card can be composted, it will cease to have any existence as such.
The carbon offsetting NFT project states: “The only way for the industry to thrive is for us all to take responsibility together. This includes innovating smarter technologies, curbing emissions, and investing in plant life for clean, oxygen-rich air.”
Criticism surrounding the Green NFTs:
Different artists who seem to have benefited from the craze think it’s a problem but can be easily solved.
ArtStation going into NFT and saying “but don’t worry! We’ll pay for carbon offsets” is the equivalent of setting a house on fire then placing a single potted plant on the burned property as “compensation”
— BleachedRainbows (@Bleeeach) March 9, 2021
The crypto art involving non-fungible tokens (NFTs), can be termed as bleakly responsible for the millions of tons of planet warming GHG emissions generated by the cryptocurrencies which is also used to buy and sell them.
For instance, earlier Ethereum (and many others), which is based on the “proof of work” security system, is rather energy intensive.
This system leads people to solve complex puzzles using huge processing engines which lets users, or “miners,” to add a new “block” ascertaining the verified transactions to the blockchain. This yields new tokens or transaction fees as a reward.
Some digital artists e.g., Beeple are believers in a more sustainable future for NFTs.
There are several alternatives to this functioning like ‘proof of stake’ method or opening private networks on the ‘second’ layer and taking transactions to ‘off-chain’ operations or limiting the number of transactions or even sourcing from the Renewable energy can help.
Lightning Network bitcoin launched in 2018 is a relevant example.
When alternatives are available and contributors are pressing for the change towards efficient NFTs, it becomes an imperative to ensure that there lies no other additional reason for planet to burn, let alone our craze.
Because with the climate change impacts being more pronounced, we are beginning to realize now that we cannot eat or breathe money.