NFT might cost more than just real and virtual money.


As the interest in NFTs and the metaverse is seeing a sharp increase, more celebrities are tapping into the virtual space. For instance, Eminem. The rapper recently purchased a Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT on top of his current collection of  15 virtual pieces on the OpenSea platform under the name "Shady Holdings."

The digital artwork he bought is dubbed as "EminApe". EminApe is basically the signature Bored Ape figure created by Bored Ape Yacht Club dressed in a khaki army cap and a gold chain necklace, accessories that are often associated with Eminem. 

The graphic art was sold by BAYC member GeeGazza for 123.45 ETH, which roughly amounts to Rp 6.42 billion.

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BTS NFT backlash

South Korean sensation BTS is also following through with its plan to launch its own NFTs in partnership with Dunamu, a crypto exchange company. HYBE, the label in charge of managing the idol group, announced the plan in November last year.

However, it wasn't well-received as a widespread backlash from fans is emerging on social media with hashtags like #BoycottHybeNFT and #ARMYsAgainstNFT. Some fans complain that it doesn't match the K-pop band image recognized for its contributions to sustainability and environmental outreach. BTS even made an appearance at the United Nations General Assembly in 2018 for its role in this. 

Responding to the campaign, Dunamu's business development and strategy manager, Kim Min-jung, insisted that the "carbon footprint is almost negligible".

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NFT and carbon footprints

Joanie Lemercier, a French artist known for his perception-bending light sculptures, took on a new role as a climate activist two years ago. After he vowed to reduce his energy use by 10 percent each year, his progress towards that goal was unfortunately diminished in a matter of minutes due to the sale of six NFTs in the form of short videos he made in reference to Lemercier's installations in the physical world.

The works were placed for auction on Nifty Gateway and sold out in 10 seconds for thousands of dollars. The sale was reported Cryptoart.WTF to consume 8.7 megawatt-hours of energy, equivalent to two years of energy use in Lemercier's studio. 

For digital art enthusiasts, NFTs offer some semblance of the authenticity that is naturally bestowed on physical art. However, major marketplaces for NFT art, including MakersPlace, Nifty Gateway, and SuperRare, conduct their sales through Ethereum, which maintains a process called mining with a network of computers that use advanced cryptography, each transaction spends energy on the scale of a small country.

In order to keep financial records secure, the cryptosystem forces people to solve complex puzzles that let users, or "miners," add a new "block" of verified transactions to a decentralized ledger called the blockchain. As a reward for this energy-guzzling process, the miner gets new tokens or transaction fees as a reward. As a result, Digiconomist revealed that Ethereum uses about as much electricity as the entire country of Kazakhstan annually.

Some tried to pitch in solutions, such as clean energy use, such as hydropower. Ethereum's developers announced a play to shift to a less carbon-intensive form of security via a blueprint called Ethereum 2.0, but no further development so far.

"There is a whole ecosystem of people who are creating emissions, so I don't think it's fair to the artists to say that you created this amount of CO2," said John Crain, the CEO of SuperRare, a leading NFT marketplace, to Wired, comparing it to the carbon footprint created from flights and daily household consumption.

According to Crain, we also need to consider the carbon emissions associated with the traditional, physical art world. The physical art world might require complex procedures as well, such as from the flights and shipping of sculptures in crates to the gallery lights and security systems.

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A post shared by Joanie Lemercier (@joanielemercier)



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