All blockchain technology has been horrible for the environment until lately. NFTs are just a scapegoat because many people don’t like the idea of them in the first place, whereas it’s easier to be indifferent about cryptocurrency or even enthusiastic about it. NFTs are such a new concept to me, I’m still evaluating whether or not I think they’re bullshit. I think if an artist wants to sell their art that way, I don’t see the problem with that. Cotton is very bad for the environment but nobody complains an artist selling their prints on a shirt. “Selling” a tweet, or selling someone else’s art as an NFT… now that’s
What you might not know however, is that just as everyone is now suddenly complaining about the environmental impacts of NFTs even though a lot of the same people who complain about it have ignored cryptocurrency for years, all etherium transactions and NFTs will soon be 100x less impactful on the environment, and in fact, many already are. We’re in a transitional period from what’s called proof of work, over to proof of stake.
In proof of work, everyone on the blockchain who’s trying to mine currency is competing to calculate validations all at once.
Proof of stake randomly assigns just one person on the blockchain to solve it instead, which somehow is only
100 times more efficient. 100x more efficient means that where one cotton T-shirt actually used to have the environmental impact of about 5 to 10 NFTs, with proof of stake, you have to buy 500 - 1000 NFT to have the same environmental impact of a t-shirt, making them basically much less harmful to the environment than most forms of merchandise you could ever buy.
Etherium and NFTs are actually in the early phases of transition, with many people having already transitioned their system early, and I think within a couple months, proof of work will be totally done for everyone, at least for those. IDK about bitcoin. I gotta go look this up again and see how the transition is coming along.
BTW, the whole, “more power than a house uses in a year” thing is only one extreme estimate. I’ve seen just as many estimates saying it’s between 2 and 10 days worth of power, which is still ridiculous, but again, that’s with the old proof of work validation tech, not the new proof of stake.
There are people who can explain this way better than me and know a lot more than I do, but that’s the jist.