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Climate Action

Your Cat Meme is making sea levels rise: NFTs and Climate Change

In order to understand this article, dear reader, you will first need to understand:

1. What NFTs are

2. What a Blockchain is

Now that you’re more or less familiar with these two things, lets dive in.

When I first heard about NFTs, my reaction was – Finally, humans are chasing something non-tangible, non-material. Turns out this something that does not even exist in the ‘real world’ is having very real consequences.

Most NFTs are traded on websites that use the blockchain Ethereum which has to make sure that all transactions being made through it are genuine. In order to do this, Ethereum uses a process called Mining, similar to that used to verify Bitcoin transactions – and this process uses massive amounts of energy.

How massive? Roughly, the average NFT has a carbon footprint equivalent to a person living in the EU for about two months. On a macro level, Ethereum’s carbon footprint can compare to that of an entire country like Libya or Serbia.

There are ways to green Ethereum of course, but as one man wisely said legislation often lags behind technology.

So what is it going to take to make the traders and the artists and the miners care enough? The beautiful part about NFTs is that it is driven by art, and a lot of artists have already spoken up about the unsustainable nature of trading NFTs.

Having said of all this, let me clarify though, that mining NFTs is a small part of what Ethereum does. So when you and I buy and sell NFTs, we are contributing to a small tiny part of the emissions.

Joseph Pallant, founder of the nonprofit Blockchain for Climate Foundation compares this to trying to calculate your part in the pollution generated by a commercial flight, by buying a ticket on it. If you hadn’t bought the ticket, someone else would have. The seat likely would not have gone empty.

The worrying part is not the fact that highly polluting digital assets and currency are becoming the norm. It is that those creating these assets and these systems rarely think about their impact on the environment, and legislation always lags behind.

By shally_sg

Self proclaimed Ecoholique

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