Why NFTs are Bad, and Why You Should Avoid Them

Non-fungible tokens, often known as NFTs, are a type of digital asset that may represent things like works of art, songs, or in-game goods.

These things are increasingly sought after by collectors, yet there is rising worry over the damage they have on the environment.

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs), also known as individual works of crypto art, are at least largely to blame for the millions of tons of carbon dioxide emissions that were produced when cryptocurrencies were used to acquire and trade NFTs.

These emissions are contributing to global warming. Some artists, including those who have already benefitted from the craze, believe that it is an issue that can simply be remedied.

However, some people have the opinion that the offered remedies are wishful thinking.

The cryptocurrency market is a muddle. The astounding amount of energy that is necessary to develop and maintain its records is matched only by the staggering quantity of CO2 that is generated annually by the Bitcoin mining process alone, which is around 37 million tons.

It has a carbon footprint that is comparable in size to that of whole nations due to its massive scale.

In this article, we will be looking at NFTs, their impact to the art industry, and their impact to the environment.


What is an NFT?

NFTs are Bad - NFT

Anything digital, such as pictures, movies, or even music, might be considered a non-tangible digital asset (NFT).

The purchasing and selling of these tokens takes place using cryptocurrency, which is a sort of digital money that is not subject to the same restrictions and levels of centralization as other currencies like the US Dollar.

Ethereum is by far the most popular cryptocurrency used for NFTs, however other digital monies can also be utilized. The blockchain technology that Ethereum employs is the same technology that is used to transmit cryptocurrency from one owner to another while also preserving a record of transactions.

This technology is responsible for registering the NFT as belonging to a certain owner.

In a nutshell, unique works of digital art known as NFTs may primarily be acquired through the use of the cryptocurrency known as Ethereum.

However, why are these tokens being sold at such a high price? The answer lays in the same rationale for why real art may sell for such a high price. People that have a lot of money are willing to spend it on something that is one of a kind.

The practice of “NFT flipping,” in which an individual purchases a token at one price and then resells it at a greater price at a later time, is still another cause.

What are the Environmental Repercussions of NFTs?

The sale of assets in a digital format can be accomplished through the use of NFTs by creators. The word “non-fungible” refers to the fact that each NFT is its own distinct asset.

According to CNBC, the market for NFTs surpassed $10 billion in revenues in late 2021, indicating that it has been a successful company for a small amount of time.

The NFTs are not good for the environment in any way. The majority of NFT trades take place on the Ethereum network. This indicates that a mining procedure is used for each transaction in order to confirm the trade and the transaction.

Many people are concerned about the energy that is used in mining because they believe that it can contribute to carbon emissions if dirty energy sources are employed.

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Are there alternatives to Ethereum?

There are alternative methods available for maintaining the safety of a blockchain that might not be as taxing on the environment. The “proof of stake” approach is now the most widely used alternative to the proof of work protocol.

The Flow blockchain is an example of a blockchain that runs on the proof-of-stake model and is considered to be an example of a more centralized blockchain. The proof-of-stake approach is used by NBA’s Top Shot, a marketplace where basketball fans can buy NBA highlights as NFTs.

To prevent users from engaging in risky conduct, this system demands that they have some stake in the outcome of the game. To “prove” that they have “a stake” in maintaining the accuracy of the ledger, however, they are required to “lock up” some of their own cryptocurrency tokens within the network rather than having to pay for large amounts of electricity in order to participate in the game.

They will be forced to give up those tokens as a punishment if they are detected engaging in any kind of shady behavior. This eliminates the need for computers, which in turn eliminates the requirement for emissions to be produced by those computers.

Since its inception, Ethereum has maintained that at some point in the future, it would migrate to a proof-of-stake system. Optimists in the field of crypto art are holding out hope for just this outcome.

Private blockchains do exist, and some of them, like Flow, are entirely committed to NFT transactions. This gives them the ability to circumvent some of the problems that are associated with cryptocurrencies like Ethereum.

However, these sorts of blockchains go away from what cryptocurrencies were designed to achieve in the first place, which is build a decentralized network where anybody can perform transactions without the scrutiny of a single organization. This was the original goal of cryptocurrencies.

Are There Ways to Make NFTs Sustainable?

The first approach is to promote the use of alternative and renewable energy sources in blockchain mining. Reducing the impact of carbon-generated electricity can be accomplished by removing mining from the conventional grid and replacing it with clean energy.

Using renewable energy like the sun or the wind to power mining operations is one possibility. This would isolate the mining operations from the regular power grid, which would result in fewer emissions of carbon.

Batching transactions is one strategy that a number of NFT markets are considering using in order to cut down on their overall energy usage. Adding another step to the purchasing process is one way to accomplish this goal.

Buyers would conduct transactions independently of the blockchain, which would then be processed in bulk all at once, resulting in a reduction in the amount of energy required. At the moment, the Bitcoin Lightning Network implements a strategy with two layers similar to this one.

Can NFTs Go Green at Some Point?

NFTs are Bad - Green NFTs

As individuals work to iron out the bugs in each of these potential solutions to the climate catastrophe, the situation is becoming steadily more grave by the day.

All of the feasible solutions to the problem of climate pollution caused by NFTs are now being developed to varied degrees; nevertheless, they have not yet been implemented on a widespread scale.

Despite this, there are a significant number of artists and even some environmentalists that are positive about crypto art.

In the end, it is artists who are the most active proponents of social change. If the existing marketplaces for NFTs do not start to match the artists’ needs, the artists may start minting their own NFTs on the existing marketplaces utilizing cryptocurrencies with a lower level of transaction fees.

There is currently an initiative being led by artists to generate funds in order to provide incentives for those who discover innovative ways to make crypto art more financially viable.

If you want to show your support for those artists by purchasing their work, you may follow them as they relocate to platforms that produce less pollution, or you could just buy a physical copy of their work instead.

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Final Verdict – NFTs

NFTs are not a blessing in disguise for low-income artists. They are a pestilence that makes art theft easier to commit.

A great number of content producers are having their work taken without their permission, prompting some artists to express their outrage publicly and make their Twitter accounts private in an effort to put a stop to the heartless free-for-all.

NFTs are examples of unbridled capitalism. They are the hideous product of a destructive drive to own things that don’t need to be owned just for the purpose of owning them, and the urge to own these things for their own sake alone.

They are crystallized, digitized, and commercialized expressions of pure, unadulterated ego.

We don’t need NFTs. NFTs do not provide any benefits to us. Only the capacity to genuinely claim, “I possess this NFT,” which is a phrase with so little meaning that it is hilarious, is the meager value that may be obtained by acquiring a non-fungible token (NFT).

NFTs are harming the earth and everyone living on it in order to deliver a privilege that is little, pointless, and revolting.

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