The sustainability controversy swirling around NFTs
Before one answer this question, we must understand the need for this very question. How can sustainability be a concern related to something that exists solely in the digital sphere?
Emerging technologies such as blockchain represent a part of the wave of innovation in the past few years that has changed our digital world. This wave, otherwise known as Web3, represents an emerging group of ideas and technologies that seek to decentralize the internet.
On the internet, nobody owns anything. That is the nature of the internet we use, as digital elements can be copied, stored, and transferred without any permanent restriction, giving the creator any benefits of their work. NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, provide that unassailable proof of ownership using the technology of blockchain, which makes a digital item unique and one of a kind. That is what makes NFTs a unique digital collectible, and the true reason for their adoption.
Though NFT art is not yet fully accepted both by the artists and their audience, amongst numerous concerns, the question of pollution is a dominant one. Blockchain technologies require large amounts of computational power, which, like any other device, produces greenhouse gases that contribute to a changing global climate.
So, this is where our question comes in, Can NFTs become sustainable? Yes, it can. There are groups, spearheaded by Ethereum, that seek to develop environmentally-minded projects that upgrade the existing mediums and make them less polluting. For this initiative, Ethereum hopes to persuade us that NFTs can indeed change the way we perceive the digital world. Imagine an imaginary transportation conglomerate with a quarter of the global market share replacing fuel engineers with zero-emission engines; this is the analogy one can use to get a sense of Ethereum’s initiative.
Things are looking up. But there is a long road to walk, to make these digital technologies truly environmentally friendly and accepted by different communities. Such technologies (Web3) and NFTs stand to reshape our perception of the digital world and improve our interactions. These changes stand to optimize a growing NFT market, open a new avenue of creative expression, and encourage a consumerbased economy while retaining and bettering ownership guarantees over digital assets.
Imagine an imaginary transportation conglomerate with a quarter of the global market share replacing fuel engineers with zero-emission engines.