When Gorillaz announced their plan of commemorating the 20th anniversary of their debut album by selling an NFT, did they anticipate such widespread criticism? Whether they did or not, the fact of the matter remains that many fans across the globe have expressed their disappointment.
Gorillaz became a globally acclaimed name in the music industry, especially for projects like ‘Plastic Beach’, critiquing environmental destruction. Some fans have also pointed that it is ironic that a band voicing concerns regarding the environment is now launching an NFT (non-fungible token).
Why fans are worried about the Gorillaz NFT collection?
In the Gorillaz NFT controversy, everything revolves around the environmental impact of NFTs. Several research sources indicate that selling NFTs could hugely impact the environment.
While NFTs allow the trade of ownership of unique digital items using the blockchain, the “non-fungible token” is a part of extensive discussions right now also because of the massive electricity use and impact on the environment they generate. However, there are divided options on the intensity of the impact.
Of course, as far as carbon emissions are concerned, it is not good news. Although fans are excited about the aspect of the digital token being exclusive and they being a part of a process wherein they are unique owners of unique digital content, many across the globe are in no way ready to compromise on the aspect of its effect on the environment. The entire NFT marketplace is now a hot topic for debates and discussions.
Jamie Bradner, who is a fan of Gorillaz, started a petition to urge the band to cancel their plan of launching the NFT, which was signed by many.
After Gorillaz, Universal Music Group was also in news for their plan to launch a band comprised of characters as NFTs.
How bad is the environmental impact of NFTs?
- The Ethereum blockchain has led to an increase in CO2 emissions because of NFTs transactions. The effects are considered disastrous for the short and the long run. Such an increase in CO2 emissions can lead to extreme weather diversions and harm the environment drastically. The average temperature of the earth also has the possibility of witnessing an increase and people and animals can suffer from breathing issues etc. It can potentially harm cultivation.
- If the increase in temperature becomes a reality, then the planet will suffer irreversible damage. The long-term effects would include a rise in the sea level as a result of the polar ice-caps melting. Some evident outcomes are global warming, floods, storms, extinction of species, etc.
How will Ethereum 2.0 and staking contribute in this regard?
- Since Ethereum has a major role to play in the transactional aspects of NFTs, experts are normalizing discussions around it to come up with alternatives to reduce its impact on the environment. There are extensive discussions to design a model of consensus or mining that decrease carbon emissions made during NFT transactions.
- For NFT transactions, Ethereum uses a “proof-of-work” (PoW) method, which consumes immense energy. Ethereum is moving away from the proof-of-work method and replacing it with a proof-of-stake (PoS) model, rewarding users based on their crypto possessions.
- In the PoS model, a limited number of powerful nodes maintain the network, and the required amount of stakes are received in a form of trust from users for validation. In both models, users confirm the transactions to add the required blocks.
- While in the PoW model, users solve complex problems to prevent frauds, in the PoS model, the problems are simpler, and thus the energy consumption is heavily reduced.
- Thus the impact of an NFT transaction in this manner would be lesser on the environment.
- This eco-friendly staking model would help in generating passive income through DeFi.
- Thus, Ethereum 2.0 would mean a promising future for users in the sense that it would definitely reduce energy consumption through the proof-of-stake model.
- It is estimated that such a model would bring down the entire NFT energy consumption by 99%.
Are fans relieved to learn about some potential solutions?
There are other solutions that stakeholders are opting for to make the entire process environment-friendly. All of these undertakings should give some sense of relief to fans. Some of these transformational steps are listed below:
- Flow Blockchain: The Flow Blockchain uses a lower level of power consumption while hosting NFT transactions. An NFT marketplace, Dapper Labs, has opted for this technology and has immensely benefitted from it. The marketplace is using less computing power during the transactions, thus lowering the carbon emission level.
- Nifty Gateway: Nifty Gateway’s decision to go carbon negative has been a paradigm shift in the NFT process. Nifty Gateway has incorporated some remarkable technological improvements. Running the NFT minting system on EIP-2309 leads to the reduction of the Ethereum gas fees by 99%.
- Proof of Staked Authority (PoSA) network: All marketplaces are doing their bit to contribute to the climate change movement. As NFTs are gaining momentum and the entire sector has now become a part and parcel of transactions worldwide, marketplaces are trying to bring in newer technologies so that NFTs transactions affect the environment as little as possible. Binance NFT marketplace is using the Proof of Staked Authority (PoSA) network in this regard.
Thus, leading bands like Gorillaz have emerged as game-changer in the NFT market. While fans had expressed instant disapproval of their decision to launch/ sell NFTs, such transformation in technology will probably reverse this damage. Everyone is looking for a network that consumes limited energy, is sustainable, and does not degrade the environment. The takeaway is that people are becoming more and more conscious of the kind of imprint our activities leave on the environment.
Going a step ahead in the tech-driven ecosystem does not mean going two steps back in preserving our environment. The advantage of technology is that it enhances various engagements for us and the rise of NFTs is a fine example. Another advantage that follows is the fact that technology is continuously evolving and it is evolving for the better.