NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are typically used for buying and selling digital art. By purchasing an NFT, the buyer is able to have ownership over something online, whether that’s a piece of unique artwork, a copy of art, a specific tweet, or something else. Once something is purchased, the buyer has ownership over it until they decide to sell it. Like artwork that can be found in a gallery or hung on the wall, NFTs can be bought or sold easily and can gain value with each transaction. A bonus for NFTs that may not be available with other types of art is the ability to know who has owned it previously.
Using NFTs Today
Today, there are tons of NFTs available to buy and sell, and anyone can make their own. There are platforms designed for the creation, display, and sale of NFTs, making it easy for developers to find potential buyers for any work done. Anyone can create an avatar, design digital art, or otherwise make an NFT that can be sold on these platforms and start making a little bit of money from home. Those who go viral may have the opportunity to make a significant sum from their creations.
The Technology Behind NFTs
NFTs are designed to be certified, so it’s easy to see who has ownership over it currently and who has owned it in the past. To do this, NFTs operate using blockchain technology, the same as cryptocurrency. The blockchain records all sales, making it easy to prove ownership. Users will use the specific cryptocurrency for the platform, typically Ethereum, and then receive the NFT as part of their wallet. There are service fees for this, but those are covered with the sales price in most cases. Once the sale is complete and the buyer has the NFT in their digital wallet, they can then display the art, keep it safe, or decide to sell it and make a little money.
Impacts on the Environment
If everything is digital, how do NFTs have an impact on the environment? It’s hard to pin down exactly what the impact is, but it is clear that NFTs have a negative impact on the environment due to how they’re bought and sold. Blockchain technology requires a significant amount of computer power to operate. All of those computers require power, and the electricity providing the power starts as gas or other sources that emit greenhouse gases and other pollutants. This has a negative impact on the environment, even if everything is done online. Blockchain technology works the same whether it’s for NFTs or for cryptocurrencies, so it is difficult to tell exactly how much of an impact the NFTs are having separate from cryptocurrencies.
Options Better for the Environment
Though the exact impact isn’t known, there is a push to make NFTs more environmentally friendly. Any little bit of change can help, and that’s why many people are looking into the new options that are available or could be available in the future. There are blockchain systems that use a new way of proving ownership, which doesn’t rely on cryptocurrencies and is far better for the environment because of reduced computer power.
Another option relies on renewable energy sources for mining instead of other types of energy, but that does still require a lot of energy use. A third option is to add another layer to the sales to minimize the number of transactions per day. Right now, companies process each transaction as they occur, adding the proof of sale to the blockchain. At the end of a specified period, like one 24-hour period, all of the transactions are processed at one time. This cuts down on how often things are processed, which can help reduce the energy used to do the processing.
NFTs are highly popular, but though they are completely digital, they’re still having an impact on the environment. Understanding the impact is key to finding new ways to allow NFTs to be bought and sold while decreasing the amount of damage done. Those who are interested in NFTs will want to stay on top of this topic and look into ways to use more renewable energy sources or cut down on the energy used to buy and sell NFTs.