The CryptoArt NFT Market (i.e. selling digital art on the blockchain) is worth at least $150M – and this excludes some of the largest marketplaces like opensea.io, (and this figure is quite heavily skewed of course, with the top artists earning the most).
Selling work on a blockchain can be a technically challenging task. For this reason, many platforms and websites have emerged, aiming to make this process as seamless and easy as possible for artists. Unfortunately, currently many of these websites are based on the Ethereum blockchain, which is very inefficient and ecologically costly by design. E.g. selling just a single-edition artwork on Ethereum has a carbon footprint starting at around 100 KgCO2, which is equivalent to a 1 hour flight (and depending on the platform, can reach a long-haul flight). Selling an edition of 100 works has a carbon footprint of over 10 tonnes CO2, which is more than the per capita annual footprint of someone in the EU – including all emissions from industry and trade.
But there are more sustainable routes emerging. As the CryptoArt NFT market is exploding in a gold-rush style free-for-all, there is a lack of clear information on the ecological impact of different approaches to NFTs. The purpose of this guide is to help CryptoArtists who are interested in exploring more sustainable alternatives. Currently, these more sustainable platforms do not have the volume of their unsustainable counterparts (i.e. the Ethereum-based platforms). For this reason, collectors and sales are likely to be significantly lower too on the more sustainable alternatives. However, hopefully as more artists migrate to these emerging waters, this can encourage platforms, developers, investors and collectors, to bridge to develop more ecologically friendly and transparent platforms.