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The environmental cost of NFT? Why are NFTs bad for the environment

The environmental cost of NFT? Why are NFTs bad for the environment

Hype is the word that can be justified in the crypto community. Everyone has started to create the NFTs from big influencers to small artists. 

So, it will be fair to say that now everyone wants to collect their own NFTs in an attempt to jump aboard the ship, and cut through the NFT wave and make some money.

NFTs not only digitalize assets, but they also create a platform on which we can transact in a trustable and transparent manner with anyone, anywhere, and at any time of day, while also proving ownership via the blockchain.

15+ Tool to Know Which NFT To Buy

Yet, that is not the only reason why the NFTs are the talk of the town. The other reason why these NFTs are famous is because of their impact of nft on the environment. But how do they affect the environment: Is it good or bad? That is exactly what this guide will look into. So, let’s start!

diagram for the environmental cost of nft

The NFT Environment Impact And Cost

If you have heard something about NFTs and how they impact the environment, you know how confusing the topic is. But just to be clear for you, NFTs themselves do not cause any environmental impact. Like- what a digital asset can do to the world? Well, that’s not directly the NFT art that does all the damage, but it is their making process. 

NFTs are created in an extremely energy-intensive manner. Most NFTs are created using the proof-of-work operating method, which requires a lot of electricity. However, any power process or crypto-related process, or otherwise, can indirectly or directly take part in carbon dioxide emission in the environment. So, to understand how NFT imbricates the atmosphere, you need to understand the procedure of making this digital art.

Undertaking The NFTs

Elaborating the proof of work method of NFT takes these steps below. The process can help the users look through how NFTs take so much energy generated. 

Making The NFTs An Visible Entity In The Digital Marketplace 

The first starts with listing the NFTs in the digital marketplace. NFT is listed in a NFT marketplace: Usually, before an NFT is typical, create a list of an NFT in a marketplace like OpenSea before minting them. 

While listing an NFT does not require much energy, the location of the listing will play a crucial part in the energy consumption for the minting process. Choosing an NFT marketplace, which hosts the Ethereum platform that uses proof of work, means that creators will have an automated process, which makes a much more energy-efficient way at least for now. It’s the best example of an ethereum smart contract.

Buying The NFTs To Have Ownership Of This Entity

Buying the NFT takes the users one step ahead of minting the NFTs. Once bought, the cryptocurrency miners who control vast computing resources using proof of work mint the NFT. Mining takes a lot of energy-requiring specialized computing hardware that consumes massive amounts of electricity. Miners compete to solve complex math problems as quickly as possible to earn the right to mint the NFT.

Storing Or Transfering The NFT

Once the user has completed the NFT purchase, they can store the NFT or, if they wish, they can also transfer it to another person. However, If the NFT is transferred to another NFT marketplace that uses proof of work, the marketplace will repeat the same energy-intensive process used to mint the NFT. On the other hand, simply storing an NFT consumes no energy.

Now you may be wondering how minting NFT bad for the environment. If that’s exactly the thought that comes into your mind right after knowing the proof of the work process, let’s take a brief look at mining. 

Minting Explained 

Minting NFT refers to the procedure where the miners turn a digital file into the collectible crypto or digital asset on Ethereum or any other blockchain. Then, the users store the file into a decentralized database or distributed ledger forever, which offers no one the right to edit, modify, or edit, modify or delete it, except the owners. Even sometimes, owners are also exempted from the rights. 

Now, mining itself is not an easy process. It takes a lot of mathematical interpretation, solved equations, plus way too much energy. 

Only miners with the most computing power and sources can solve complex math problems the fastest, which means miners must operate a large amount of computing hardware—and ultimately consume a lot of electricity. 

A global network of miners competes to validate blocks of transactions, including NFT transactions, requiring each miner to consume a significant amount of electricity—even though only the network validates to validate each new block of transactions.

If you still do not get the weight of the problem, then know that every transaction on the proof-of-work platform, Ethereum, including all NFT transactions, consumes more than 260 kilowatt-hours of electricity, which makes the equivalent to the electricity consumed by an average U.S. household over 9.05 days.

Let’s Discuss Is The NFTs Are Good Or Bad for Nature

So what do you think, should we quit making the NFTs or approach another option to make the technology much more friendly. 

Users, creators, and even onlookers are digging into the same questions, which right now do not have any solid answers. Both sides need a great discussion and a bunch of solutions. 

How Are NFT Bad For The Environment

NFTs left a big impact on the environment in terms of energy usage. A single amount of NFT energy can use multiple rigs. The precise amount of the NFT energy becomes difficult to calculate and know. 

Energy consumptions differ depending on the blockchains and NFTs marketplaces. And then the issues expand during the initial designs and counting stages. The data of every face is too random to be calculated so answering the question “how are NFT bad for the environment” becomes a bit tricky. 

According to Computational Artist and Engineer, Memo Akten, the mere minting process of an Ethereum-based Proof of Work (PoW) NFT consumes over 142 kWh of energy. However, as previously stated, the processing of an NFT consumes an estimated 340 kWh of energy. The amount of energy. 

So, why are NFTs bad for the environment? To get a rough idea, we can calculate the energy used at every NFT generating stage. 

Estimating The Total Cost Of Generating A NFT- 

  • Minting an NFT:

Minting an NFT can approximately consume 142 kWh (83 KgCO2) of energy. 

  • Bidding on NFTs:

A large number of NFT enthusiasts log on and actively participate in the hosting at the same time during a bid. Needless to say, bidding for an NFT can get heated at times. As a result, there is a lot of back and forth internet activity. This uses approximately 41 kWh (24 KgCO2) of energy.

  • Termination of an NFT bid: There are times when a cancellation is necessary. This is also a substantial amount of work and consumes 12 kWh (7 KgCO2) of energy.
  • Offering an NFT: Selling an NFT is not the same as selling digital art. It entails working with multiple layers of encryption and performing complex calculations. This requires an additional 87 kWh (51 KgCO2).
  • Transferring The NFT: Transferring the NFT can take about 52 kWh (30 KgCO2).

The total power consumption of all stages equates to an environmental cost of NFT of 340 kWh, 211 KgCO2 (emissions) of energy used during a single generation of NFT creation for sale. This much energy requires a significant amount of fuel to be burned. That much fuel (200+ KgCO2) is enough to power a home for a day.

# Ethereum Energy Consumption Index Electrical Energy Carbon Footprint
1 Annualized Total Ethereum Footprints 62.87 TWh 35.07 Mt CO2
2 Single Ethereum Transaction Footprints 159.16 kWh 88.77 kgCO2
Energy consumption table

Energy Consumption by Country inc. Bitcoin & Ethereum

# Energy Consumption by Country inc. Bitcoin & Ethereum TWh per Year
1 Egypt 152.2
2 Ukraine 154.77
3 Thailand 173.75
4 Bitcoin + Ethereum 193.99
5 Indonesia 207.14
6 Turkey 219.89
7 South Africa 228.98
Energy Consumption by Country inc. Bitcoin & Ethereum

Nfts Aren’t Bad For The Environment

As we know the problem lies in the minting process. But, what if it does not take too much energy? Do users have any other processes? Yes, they have. NFTs aren’t bad for the environment, they just need better solutions. Let’s look at some

Proof-Of-Stake, An Alternative Approach To Proof-Of-Work

The blockchain platforms that use the proof-of-stake method to generate the NFTs can do it in comparatively much lower energy than the proof-of-work method. 

The proof-of-stake method has been looked at as a ray of hope for the environmental factor of NFT. So, how is NFT bad for the environment, because it does not necessitate the extensive use of computing hardware, the proof-of-stake method consumes less energy than proof-of-work.

Whereas miners in a proof-of-work blockchain network work on consuming electricity to successfully mine a block, validators in a proof-of-stake blockchain network function to stake and agree not to trade or sell—their cryptocurrency holdings. Implementing a staking requirement for blockchain validators offers one method of securing a blockchain without requiring network participants to consume excessive amounts of energy.

So, using the Proof of Stake method, some other opinions emerge for the validators.

Ways To Make Proof-Of-Work More Energy Efficient

By utilizing the appropriate methods, miners can also turn the proof-of-work into an energy-efficient way of creating NFTs. 

  • Miners who use proof of work to generate NFTs can use renewable energy sources. While proof-of-work mining requires a lot of energy, the source of that energy doesn’t have to be polluting. Solar power is a popular option, but wind and hydroelectric power are also viable options.
  • Because some NFTs sell for high prices, the sellers can direct a portion of the proceeds towards renewable energy investments. A large-scale transition to renewable energy could reduce or eliminate the environmental impact of NFT production.
  • The profits from NFT sales can fund experimental technologies that aim to mitigate or reverse the effects of climate change. Carbon capture and storage, which collects and pumps CO2 emissions into the ground, make an example of an experimental technology that some believe has the potential to solve the climate change issues.
  • Maybe you like: 25 Carbon Emission Tracking App
  • NFT investors who want to reduce the environmental impact of their NFT purchase can do so by purchasing carbon offset credits. While purchasing carbon credits does not reduce carbon dioxide emissions, it does provide a financial incentive for others to decrease their total annual emissions.

Collect Energy Efficient NFTs 

Another option that users have is to buy NFTs from energy-efficient sources that do not cause any harm to the environment. 

  • Algorand:The first is Algorand. In addition to several NFT marketplaces, the Algorand blockchain supports Aorist, a climate-focused NFT blockchain for artists. Algorand blockchain design offers no fork, no split, or duplicate versions, making it best to support NFTs.
  • Cardano: Cardano has earned a name for itself for its environmental friendliness. To prove its potential, Cardano hosts the NFL marketplaces like CNFT and Galaxy of Art.
  • Solana: The Solana blockchain offers compatibility with a wide range of NFT marketplaces, including Solanart, Magic Eden, and Rabbit Hole to give users multiple options. 
  • Tezos: The Tezos blockchain homes several NFT marketplaces, including Rarible, which operates an NFT marketplace as well as supports artists’ NFT creation.

Improving The Ethereum

With the help of Proof-of-stake, the Ethereum blockchain became less energy-intensive. The majority of NFT transactions work on Ethereum. According to ethereum.org, the official switch or “merge” is scheduled to take place in the second quarter (Q2) of 2022. Once the merge is complete, a proof-of-stake Ethereum transaction should consume the energy equivalent of 20 minutes of television. So, we have a quiet hope for the energy-efficient Ethereum. 

Encouraging Everyone To Invest In NFTs

Is NFT bad for the environment? Many want to answer this question. Saving the environment and investing in NFTs may seem incompatible goals, but not with the right guidance. The more people will invest in the NFT, the more money will be generated to make the NFT energy efficient. 

Everyone can protect the environment while still purchasing an NFT. But buying any NFT to avoid using nearly nine days’ worth of electricity.

The seriousness of climate change when aligning the investment portfolio with someone’s position on climate change. So, invest only in NFTs generated through the proof-of-stake or energy-efficient sources consensus method. While this currently limits your purchasing options, it can turn out to be temporary. 

It can happen with the help of Ethereum. When the Ethereum platform has completed its transition to proof of stake, environmentalists will be able to buy NFTs with a clear conscience using Ether leaving no worries about climate change. 


NFTs require a lot of energy, which puts great side effects on the environment. The world is already dealing with it, so we can’t fuel an already happening disaster. Accruing for the energy-efficient way like proof-of-stake is good in the case of the NFTs. Not only it can save our atmosphere, but also lets us explore the undefined possibilities in technology. 

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