The tweets by Tesla boss Elon Musk about BTC’s high electricity consumption last year not only caused the BTC price to stumble, but also brought the issue of sustainability back into the public eye. The argument: BTC mining consumes too much electricity. But what about the NFT area? Finally, NFTs are also based on a blockchain infrastructure.
On the website NFT CLUB experts calculated the ecological footprint for the entire life cycle of an NFT in order to then provide information on how many trees would have to be planted to compensate for the ecological damage.
How much CO₂ does an NFT emit?
However, it is not only the formation process that eats up electricity in an NFT. Embossing, also known as minting in technical jargon, also consumes a lot of energy. Loud nftclub.com around 83 kilograms of CO₂ are emitted here alone (see Figure 1). The newly created NFT must then be sold. Interested parties make offers on platforms such as OpenSea away. These are set at 23 kg CO₂. The actual sale continues. Around 51 kg of CO₂ are generated here. The experts put the subsequent actual transfer at 30 kg. For each additional sales process, 81 kg of CO₂ equivalents are said to be generated.
NFT “climate killer” in comparison
But back to the actual question. So what are the most “polluting” NFT collections? Below is a list of the three most CO₂-intensive NFT collections:
1st place: CryptoKitties
The gold medal goes to the CryptoKitties with a clear lead. The collection causes around 240,000 kilograms of CO₂. This would require planting around four million trees to offset the ecological footprint. According to the NFT Club, however, Axie Infinity was in first place before that. However, after the move to the Ronin Chain, the collection was allowed to hand over the crown to the CryptoKitties.
Place 2: Sorare
With around 35 million kilograms of CO₂ and around 580,000 trees, Sorare comes in second.
3rd place: Art Blocks
Third place goes to Art Blocks. The collection causes around 23 million kilograms of CO₂. That corresponds to around 385,000 trees.
Bored Apes and Cryptopunks
The amazing thing: The probably currently best-known NFT collections, Bored Ape Yacht Club and the Cryptopunks, “only” land in 13th and 48th place in the ranking.
In the following, the page makes even more clear comparisons. So, based on the calculations, the entire world could tolerate around 2.2 trillion NFT transactions.
Of course, such numbers should always be treated with caution and you should always put them in context. Loud current research there are around three trillion trees on the entire planet. If you put this in relation to the trees required for the CryptoKitties, this corresponds to around 0.1 percent. In addition, it always depends on which electricity mix you start with. You can find out more about the approach to the calculations here here and here.
In addition, one should always draw a comparison with other energy-guzzling services, such as video streaming or data hosting. However, the discussion that is being initiated here makes it clear that classic BTC mining is probably unjustly the most criticized in terms of power consumption.