The recent boom in non-innate codes, or NFTs, has generated controversy and concern about the technology’s environmental impact due to the required processing power.

Of all the types of transactions on the blockchain, NFTs are among the most intense, as they often involve many complex transactions and the execution of smart contracts in the process of engraving, trading, selling and transferring. This is sometimes reflected in the fact that transaction costs are hundreds of times more than the cost of a single transaction.

In the past, concerns like these have had little impact, but in recent weeks, many artists and platforms have begun canceling NFT plans. Digital artist Joanie Lemercier reversed her second downfall for Nifty Gateway after learning of the environmental impact of platform sales:

“It turns out that my version of 6 CryptoArt Works has consumed 10 seconds more power than the entire studio in the past two years.”
The ArtStation art portfolio platform canceled NFT cuts by famous artists a few hours after it was announced due to NFT’s excessive impact on the environment.

However, the tangible numbers of NFT’s true carbon footprint are still a long way off.

In December 2020, artists and computer engineers developed the Memo Akten CryptoArt.wft platform, which calculates the energy consumption and CO emissions of any NFT in SuperRare, Nifty Gateway, or any single transaction in Ethereum.

According to the website, the aforementioned NFT used on SuperRare 421 kWh, which is equivalent to an EU citizen’s capacity for 1.5 months. On the website, Akten provided a link to her comprehensive analysis behind the calculations and added that the average NFT takes about 340 kWh.

Offsetra, a project that helps address cryptocurrency’s carbon footprint, uses the same approach as the law, but acknowledges that there are “blank holes” in the accounts. These numbers, although alarming, only apply to proof-of-work blockchains (which include Ethereum and Bitcoin) and use various assumptions.

Ofstra added: “We have now included a 20% buffer in our calculations to take into account both unknown mining pools and network inefficiencies that may lead to energy losses (for example, due to on-site thermal dumping).” This buffer has been removed. By 20% on March 8.

However, the emergence of a verification blockchain like Eth2 looms large. These are viable alternatives to NFT engraving, and use only a fraction of the processing power needed to secure transactions on them, the law says.

“ETH2, also known as Serenity, [uses] a Proof of Stake consensus (PoS) algorithm that is order by volume that is more computationally efficient.”
Nifty Gateway responded to artist Lemercier’s concerns by saying that Layer2’s sizing on Ethereum could be rolled out within weeks, thus: “We can reduce the impact today by 99%”.

SuperRare wrote an article answering some environmental questions, stating that calculating transaction costs for NFTs was a wrong approach, as the total cost of the blockchain was the same regardless of the number of transactions.

“In other words, if everyone took a break from using Ethereum apps and no transactions were sent during the day, then the carbon footprint on the network would be really the same.”
SuperRare explained that they, like many in the Ethereum community, are aware of the inefficiency of blockchains PoW and have pledged to donate money to help with ETH2 research while exploring alternative expansion options.

But what if the cryptocurrency was good for the planet?
With a non-intuitive approach, Delphi Digital co-founder and research director Medio DeMarco wrote a recent publication arguing that cryptocurrency mining could really help save the planet. He states that the grid is stimulating cheap energy, which now means clean energy.

Part of its area relates to miners who are using clean, unused electricity in some other way so that green energy farms can make money with their 100% production, not just a small fraction of it. This, in turn, may be enough to finance the new clean energy infrastructure. He argued:

“The impact on the bottom line could be the difference between financing the new solar energy infrastructure at the moment or waiting for the economy to improve.”

Source: CoinTelegraph