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PROJECT

FMP: SECONDARY RESEARCH 

PROJECT INFO
DESIGNERS / TEAM

Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT’s) were created with the main goal of solving a vital problem for artists: verifying their digital artwork and confirming ownership. Despite the introduction of Non-Fungible tokens, digital art can be easily and endlessly duplicated and they have a negative impact on our environment. 

As the topic of energy is quite new and broad I decided to conduct more research by looking at literature materials about the overview of NFT. I used the following books to research topics related to NFTs:

Books I Used.  

FINDINGS

BROKEN TECHNOLOGY

Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT’s) were created with the main goal of solving a vital problem for artists: verifying their digital artwork and confirm ownership. Despite the introduction of Non-Fungible tokens, digital art can be easily and endlessly duplicated (Royce, 2021).

The NFT prototype was built in a single-night hackathon and had a few flaws. You couldn’t save the real digital artwork on a blockchain since most blockchain records are too small to include a whole image due to technical limitations. Many individuals suggested that instead of trying to fit the entire artwork into the blockchain, one should simply provide the image’s web address or even the name of the artist.

Because they were short on time, the developers used that shortcut. Several years later, the same shortcut is still used by all of today’s main NFT systems. This means that when someone purchases an NFT, they are not purchasing the digital artwork itself, but rather a link to it. Worse, they’re purchasing a link that, in many cases, is located on the website of a fresh start-up that is at risk of failing within a few months.

In the future, how will anyone know whether the linked artwork is the original in the future? Some of these flaws are present in all common NFT platforms today. They still rely on one company to keep operating in order to authenticate your work.

AN ECOLOGICAL HORROR 

NFT’s and cryptocurrencies have a negative impact on the environment as a result of the massive carbon output that is required to mine them. Mining and trading cryptocurrencies also use up a lot of electricity and many artists have begun to raise the alarm regarding the ecological costs of NFT’s. 

Many pieces of crypto art/NFT, are at the very least responsible for the tons of planet heating carbon  dioxide emissions generated by the mining of Ethereum that is used by the cryptocurrencies to buy and sell them.

Most NFTs are part of the Ethereum blockchain. Image Source:  Envato Elements

Many of the NFT 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

NFTs are causing my ecological issues. (Art by Kevin Mccoy – Source Sotheby’s) 

THEY ARE CHANGING THE ART WORLD – FOR THE BETTER

Contrary to all of the cons, NFTs are opening the typically exclusive art world to artists from diverse backgrounds, and are helping those artists monetize their work.

With NFTs, artists now have an opportunity to enact care and advocacy that strengthens marginalised communities and empowers overlooked artists that often cannot access gallery spaces. With the power of NFTs, a purchase of art owned by an artist from a marginalised background is now a truly efficient way to preserve and invest in diversity empowerment (Moore, 2021a).

All of the obstacles and hurdles can be overcome through NFTs and this means levelling the playing field and taking the keys away from the traditional gatekeepers in the art world. It is also a way for artists to uplift their communities through creativity.

 
 
 

REFLECTION

WHAT’S NEXT

Whilst the findings from the Literature review were very useful it’s left me more confused than ever. By the end of this phase, I still wanted to learn more about the culture,  economics, market dynamics, and the security of NFTs. In the next blog post, I delve deeper into these topics through primary research. 

REFERENCES
  • Caldarelli, G., Rossignoli, C. and Zardini, A. (2020). Overcoming the Blockchain Oracle Problem in the Traceability of Non-Fungible Products. Sustainability, 12(6), p.2391.
  • Chevet, S. (2018a). Blockchain Technology and Non-Fungible Tokens: Reshaping Value Chains in Creative Industries. SSRN Electronic Journal.
  • Chohan, U.W. (2021). Non-Fungible Tokens: Blockchains, Scarcity, and Value. SSRN Electronic Journal.
  • Dowling, M.M. (2021). Is non-fungible token pricing driven by cryptocurrencies? SSRN Electronic Journal.
  • Ellis, W. (2021). Non-Fungible Tokens explained : simplest practical guide to everything you need to know about NFTs (the crypto art selling) including creating an NFT from start to finish. Great Britain: S.N
  • Moore, D. (2021a). Celebrating Black Crypto Art Beyond February 28th. [online] Medium. Available at: https://media.consensys.net/celebrating-black-crypto-art-beyond-february-28th-b5edeb5642b [Accessed 24 Nov. 2021].
  • Sotheby’s. (2021). Quantum | Natively Digital: A Curated NFT Sale | 2021 | Sotheby’s. [online] Available at: https://www.sothebys.com/en/buy/auction/2021/natively-digital-a-curated-nft-sale-2/quantum.

    Hill, J. (2021). The ultimate NFT and Crypto Art guidebook : digital and Crypto Art for beginners : a blockchain practical guide to Non Fungible Tokens : the future of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. Verenigde Staten: Castrese Pennacchio.

  • Trautman, L.J. (2021).Virtual Art and Non-fungible Tokens. SSRN Electronic Journal.
  • Royce, B. (n.d.). THE ABC’s of NFTs.
  • Uribe, D. (2020). Privacy Laws, Non-Fungible Tokens, and Genomics. The Journal of The British Blockchain Association, 3(2), pp.1–10.