Are NFTs sustainable?5 Technological Issues in Nature & Climate | Energy & Science

NFTs have changed The art of mathbut few people know that these devices are surroundings. Like any electronic resource that requires constant access to the internet and energy, these non-fungible tokens emit carbon and Greenhouse effect surroundings.Accelerating Ocean Acidification and Ocean Recovery global warming There are some problems inherent in the energy consumption of these technologies.

A study published in 2021 by the University of Cambridge noted that the annual energy consumption of mining cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum and Bitcoin (the numbers used to buy and sell NFTs) in a year could be higher than that of a small country such as Argentina. To better understand how this technology affects the environment, here are five questions about the nature and climate of these non-fungible tokens.

1. Release a lot of carbon into the environment

Any electronic device that requires constant access to the internet and light emits carbon into the environment. This is because global energy production still relies heavily on non-renewable resources such as coal and natural gas. For NFTs, this is no different. In order to mine the cryptocurrencies involved in these token transactions, it is necessary to keep powerful computers and machines running continuously.

To give you an idea, Ethereum, the main currency used by NFT points of sale, can spend up to 48 kWh per transaction. This is equivalent to showering with about 3500W of power for 30 minutes per month – a value that can be alarming when you consider that the cryptocurrency market performs over a thousand operations per day.

Generally speaking, in order to keep the cryptocurrency (and NFT) market running, multiple machines are required to maintain a constant connection. The more servers connected to a polluting grid, the greater the damage to the environment. When we consider that global consumption of cryptocurrencies is on the rise, this exponentially increases the world’s overall CO2 emissions.

CO2 emissions — Photo: GettyImages

2. High water bills

Not just non-renewable energy sources, some countries – such as Brazil – have a large part of their energy matrix made up of hydroelectric power plants. This type of source converts the energy existing in the river into kinetic energy, which is caused by the force of motion. This movement of water drives hydro turbines – which then power generators to produce light.

The problem with this way of generating energy is that the motion of the turbine heats the water, which causes some of the water to evaporate. In addition, it dumps hot water into the ocean, which wipes out nearby marine life and also causes problems for flora and fauna near rivers.

When cryptocurrencies and NFTs enter this account, this movement directly contributes to the evaporation of water by requiring a vast computer network to consume the energy produced by the hydroelectric power plant. This is because these servers require a lot of energy, which places a lot of demands on the factories that produce them.

3. Increase the rate of ocean acidification

The pH value is a range from 1 to 14 and is used to check whether certain substances have acidic characteristics. Numbers below seven are considered acidic, while numbers above seven are considered basic. The process of ocean acidification happens just as the ocean starts to take on an acidic character—that is, the pH starts to drop.

The problem is that this acidification is not caused by nature. It started with the Industrial Revolution, when industry started emitting polluting gases into the atmosphere. This is the case, for example, with carbon emissions from internet networks connected to non-renewable energy sources.

Today, cryptocurrency mining promotes a drop in pH in the H2O molecule, as much of the energy used to connect computer networks comes from polluting sources. Carbon from mining is emitted into the air, dissolved in the ocean, reacts with water, and then significantly lowers the pH until it becomes acidic. This acidity can wipe out plants and animals in the places most affected by it, affecting the entire ecosystem of the planet.

4. Increased energy consumption

Cryptocurrency mining for NFT transactions is designed to require more and more energy. This is because its operation increases its complexity, requiring more and more electricity from the machines involved.

Mining means registering on the blockchain, a technology that keeps records of financial transactions in cryptocurrencies “in one book.” These transactions, in turn, become puzzles, nothing more than math problems. The solution to this problem is performed randomly by a computer. So, the more powerful your machine is, the easier it can solve these problems – and the more digs it can generate.

Only after the proof-of-work has been solved is it possible to make the discovered block record valid on the blockchain. When this registration happens, miners get paid for their work. The problem is the difficulty of these problems, which increases as the problem is solved. The harder it is to record a puzzle, the more time and power (and therefore more energy) the computer requires.

5. Global warming may escalate

Global warming is an environmental phenomenon characterized by an increase in the average temperature of the Earth. Generally, it occurs naturally, but there are some human actions that increase the process – for example, the release of polluting gases into the atmosphere.

Due to carbon emissions from cryptocurrency mining, the gas rises through the atmosphere and contributes to the greenhouse effect – which in addition to causing global warming increases the acidification of the oceans. Carbon dioxide emissions released into the air directly contribute to increased global warming, raising the average temperature of the planet faster.

If this process does not happen naturally, it can have a ripple effect in the global ecosystem. Not only does it start fires, it also causes melting of polar ice caps, desertification of land and rising sea levels, affecting plant and animal life and other living systems.

Is there a sustainable way for NFTs?

Although the companies involved are testing options – such as Ethereum 2.0 – so far there has been no established and fully effective way to minimize and/or eliminate the damage of cryptocurrency mining. However, there are some alternatives that can help reduce the problems caused by these technologies.

The most pervasive and far-reaching for any country is a specific tax on energy consumption in the mining industry. As a result, the country’s energy companies will need to issue additional tax rates for any investors with large computer networks dedicated to mining. Therefore, the number of mines may be reduced due to the high cost of energy consumption for this specific purpose.

Another way is to invest in sustainable altcoins — cryptocurrencies that use renewable energy sources like solar and wind power. Some examples of this are Litecoin, Dogecoin, and Solarcoin. There are other digital currencies that, although they do not use renewable energy as a source, provide puzzles that have less of an environmental impact, just like Ethereum.

Information from the BBC, Inquirer, Wired, Time, The Renewable Energy Hub and ScienceDirect.

This content was developed by TechTudo. Read more about ESG and sustainability from a TechTudo perspective a planet.

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