Some are calling the new craze for NFTs just crazy when you look at the amount of energy this area of the cryptosphere consumes. NFTs, which stand for Non Fungible Tokens, means every piece of work is absolutely unique to the holder, unlike a Bitcoin for example, where one can be exchanged for any other. There is no doubt that NFTs are shaking, not just the world of crypto, but gaining some real traction in the mainstream markets too. They are garnering more column space than traditional art, with traditional auction houses like Christie's hosting major NFT auctions and celebrities selling their own digital media as NFTs.
However at what cost does this come? The average NFT uses as much energy as your typical EU resident according to this site, which analyzes the carbon footprint of over 18,000 NFTs.
One artist, Joanie Lemercier’s pieces were held in an auction on a site called Nifty Gateway and they managed to sell out in just 10 seconds with earnings in the many thousands of dollars. This shows you just how desired NFTs can be. However, on the flip side of the coin is an energy bill for 8.7 megawatt- hours, this is as much as Lemercier’s studio usually uses in 2 years.
NFT Marketplaces Reconsider
There are now many marketplaces for NFTs launching regularly, with some more popular than others. One of these includes OpenSea, which has seen a massive influx of users as they pore through the NFTs available for purchase. OpenSea, which launched almost 4 years ago, has decided to do things a little bit differently to help save the cost implications on the planet of minting NFTs.
Ethereum as a blockchain comes with many obstacles, including the extremely high gas fees being charged by miners. These are the costs the miners charge for their processing charges and are passed on to the buyer. Ethereum’s current proof-of-work blockchain is extremely expensive in terms of its prohibitive costs. That’s why marketplaces like OpenSea have opted to use a proof-of-stake blockchain, such as Tezos, which is much more easy going on the energy it consumes.
OpenSea to Use Tezos Blockchain
According to OpenSea in a recent blog post:
"Tezos significantly lowers the coordination costs of executing network upgrades in a decentralized manner at scale. In November, the Delphi upgrade reduced gas consumption by ~75%, and the next upgrade, Edo, adds an experimental new feature called Tickets (read about it here), a native permissions primitive that enables safer composability."
They went on to say that "through its efficient upgrade process, Tezos is able to effectively incorporate innovative technologies and evolve over time. This is beginning to attract application developers and product users frustrated with the exorbitant fees on other blockchains."
So while NFTs have their moment and the artists decide whether their art is more important than the impact it is having on the plant, they are being offered another more viable way to create and sell digital art and that is through proof-of-stake blockchain technology.