Can The Metaverse And NFTs Help Save Planet Earth?

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Metaverse

When young fans of the South Korean K-pop sensation BTS lashed out against the band’s issuance of NFTs featuring its members’ likenesses due to the perceived environmentally unfriendly nature of NFT minting, the cryptocurrency exchange responsible for minting these NFTs came out attesting all BTS NFTs would be minted using only eco-friendly, low carbon technology. 

Despite popular misconception, cryptocurrency, NFTs and the metaverse are not necessarily or automatically bad for the environment. In fact, not only can they help save the planet; many are doing it already.

Crypto Miners: Green Energy’s New Supporters

Energy consumption is at the core of the controversy around crypto mining and the minting of NFTs. However, the fact is that many crypto farms are set up in low-temperature countries in the higher latitudes where electricity costs a lot less and comes from hydroelectric or geothermal power or other renewable sources. Energy for crypto mining is even being harnessed from volcanoes. According to the Bitcoin Mining Council, formed recently, more than half of the crypto mining industry already utilizes sustainable resources. 

Questions remain about the precise calculations informing how low-impact these crypto mining operations really are on the environment, but it is unquestionably limited and isolated thinking to condemn crypto and NFTs as bad for the environment while ignoring their potential for humanity and its environment. 

Digital Over Physical Luxury Goods and Commodities

Gross consumerism and mass consumption has created a world littered on land and sea alike with non-biodegradable packaging like nylon ribbons, plastic wrapping and gift boxes and discarded items like special collections and limited editions. It’s also created an expectation that more belongings equates with happiness or signifies success. Buying, then discarding, reselling, replacing or upgrading digital items eliminates those detriments while still assuaging that ravenous consumerist beast. Now, creators can still release special collections and limited editions, only digitally, without the negative environmental impact. An excellent way is to use the foundation nft marketplace, a platform that offers a massive selection of art NFTs and makes sure the original creators get royalties on every sale.

A vast and rising number of content creators and public figures, from artists to politicians, have issued their own NFT collections on the blockchain instead of simply releasing more waste-producing cards or molded plastics. As more items of value move from the physical universe to the metaverse, fewer and fewer waste will be filling up landfills and ocean waters. 

Destination: The Metaverse

As the COVID pandemic forced people to remain close to home, the environment responded to the drop in travel by flourishing. With less people out to transgress it, the Earth was able to produce bluer skies, greener fields, cleaner water and more lush wildflowers blooming. As people socialize more on virtual channels and platforms like Zoom rather than go out and span the distance IRL, the pace of environmental decline from human activity can slow as the pace of environmental healing and recovery can accelerate. 

The artist Snoop Dogg tested out this possibility by holding a concert inside the metaverse, within a play-to-earn (P2E) virtual world called The Sandbox. You could only attend from inside the metaverse as well. The event was a great success, signaling opportunity for more artists and content creators. 

Summary

Before jumping to any rash conclusions about the damage cryptocurrency, NFTs and the metaverse are doing to the environment, consider the facts. Already, digital assets and platforms are finding new ways to operate and proliferate that rely more on renewable energy sources and reduce consumer and producer waste. As climate change continues to be a mounting concern, that trend is only bound to persist. 

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