NFTs’ Effects on the Environment

Aug 26, 2022
5 min read

The environmental impact of NFTs is a much-debated topic in the virtual community, especially considering the recent conversations surrounding climate change and the effect of energy and technology on the planet.

There can sometimes be confusion regarding how sustainable NFTs are as digital tokens, so we’re here to guide you through the potential environmental risks of NFTs and whether there is any potential for a sustainable alternative.

How Much Energy Do NFTS Use?

Minting and selling NFTs uses a lot of energy, producing a large carbon footprint that hurts the environment.

The making of NFTs can consume up to 340 kilowatt-hours of energy, while the Ethereum blockchain alone uses approximately 48 kilowatt hours. While the push towards digitizing art and creation has enabled artists to consume less natural resources in their work, they are still significantly impacting carbon and energy emissions.

The carbon footprint of NFTs is a steadily increasing problem in the virtual world. A single NFT consumes 211 kg of CO2, contributing to human-induced pollution, which can harm everything from melting ice caps to acidic rain and oceans.

The blockchain alone consumes around 50-60 million tonnes of CO2 annually, a problem only exacerbated by the natural reliance NFTs have on cryptocurrency. With or without NFTs, though, the blockchain will continue to use computer functions that operate on high energy levels, creating an increasingly dangerous lack of environmental sustainability.

What Are the Dangers of Energy Consumption?

The NFT and blockchain impact on energy consumption has proven to be a problem for climate change despite the move away from the waste of natural resources like paper, fabrics, and fossil fuels.

Some of the areas of climate change that energy consumption affects include:

Air pollution

Water pollution

Heat pollution

Waste disposal

All energy consumption releases natural gases into the atmosphere like carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide, which can impact the weather. This is especially a problem in the modern era when electrical energy is a large part of day-to-day life, from washing machines and ovens to watching television.

Add onto that the excessive use of energy from digital assets and cryptocurrencies, and the global energy problems become more serious even as we try to cut down on energy wastage in other areas of life.

How to Reduce NFT Energy Consumption

Reducing NFT energy consumption will significantly impact the energy levels being used globally, allowing you to contribute meaningfully to the climate crisis.

Several cryptocurrency alternatives to Ethereum and Bitcoin are commonly known as altcoins. These operated at lower costs on a centralized platform and started using a proof of stake system that relies more on human input and validation than computer systems, drastically reducing the amount of energy consumed.

The Ethereum blockchain is also starting to shift, but it will take a while to carry out the process. Until then, you are searching for alternative cryptocurrencies that use less energy and will help you continue minting and collecting NFTs with a lower energy consumption level.

It’s also possible for NFTs and other digital assets to be minted using renewable energy sources. Some sources of renewable energy include:

Solar power

Wind power


Using renewable energy sources in the NFT process will help reduce carbon emissions and air pollution. It helps conserve natural resources in the same way as NFTs and blockchain technology but with the added bonus of heightened sustainability.

Sustainable Options for NFTs

There is a lot of potential for NFTs to have a sustainable future and rely less on high energy consumption levels.

With the push for more eco-friendly NFT minting processes and marketplaces, more sustainable alternatives have been introduced into the crypto sphere to help lessen energy usage.

While most NFT marketplaces operate off the Ethereum blockchain, other cryptocurrencies are starting to be introduced that use less energy overall, such as Solana and Tezos.

Over time, it is hoped that these more sustainable options are more deeply integrated into popular marketplaces. Rarible, one of the biggest and most popular NFT marketplaces, is already starting to introduce them as a currency, giving their users more options and starting the push towards climate change awareness.

Another blockchain promoted as being eco-friendly is EOSIO, a currency used in the Voice marketplace with a carbon-neutral minting process, reducing the number of emissions released into the atmosphere when NFTs are made.

Companies are also encouraging users to buy carbon offset credits to help combat rising CO2 emissions. They do not affect the amount of carbon pollution released, but purchasing the credits goes towards funding projects that can help reduce carbon footprints globally.

The environmental impact of NFTs can be damaging. Still, as more people become aware of the energy consumption, the more likely it is that sustainable options and processes will appear for those looking to get into NFTs and blockchains.

Energy conservation goes a long way toward assisting climate change positively, so when you look into your NFT options, don’t forget to seek out the eco-friendly alternatives that guarantee you can get precisely what you’re looking at at a lower cost to the environment.

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