Toward a Better Planet:
June 8, 2021 — NEAR Team
After the boom of decentralized finance in 2020, the blockchain industry has turned its attention to NFTs. Artists, celebrities, and blockchain enthusiasts alike are minting, buying, and selling NFTs. But NFTs aren’t without controversy. Many people are against them because:
- Minting an NFT costs so much gas it becomes unviable for smaller artists.
- NFTs run on technology that has a large, negative impact on the environment.
These are concerns that can both be addressed. The NEAR Foundation is excited to announce Green NFTs, a project where several environmentally conscious artists create art that will be put up for sale in a South Pole store on Mintbase. Half of the proceeds from these artworks will go to the artist and the other half will go to a selection of certified climate action projects developed by South Pole, an award-winning project developer.
South Pole projects range from protecting a strategic wildlife corridor in Zimbabwe and empowering local communities to generating renewable energy and helping create the circular economy with efficient waste disposal. While cutting carbon is the science underpinning their projects, building a socially just world is at the heart of what they do.
“We need to think about our impact on nature and take decisions that offset our impact. There aren’t that many crypto-art initiatives that are ethical and green, but NEAR and Mintbase fit the bill.” – Barbara Tosti, artist
Collaborating For the Greater Good
Because Mintbase is built on NEAR, creating a store and minting NFTs is affordable, fast, and scalable. Anyone can mint NFTs and sell them for whatever price they want, even if that’s less than ten dollars. Previously, gas fees would have made that economically unviable, but NFTs shouldn’t be a rich people’s game.
That’s not all. Artist collaborations have become much easier, because Mintbase allows anyone to easily split both the revenue and royalties of a piece of art. All you need to do is define who gets what percentage. The smart contract will do the rest. Consider how this encourages novelists to write a book together, musicians to compose music together, and artists to work together with climate organizations for the greater good.
Built on Carbon-Neutral Technology
Green NFTs are only possible because the underlying infrastructure is carbon-neutral. The NEAR Foundation has been working together with South Pole to measure and offset its carbon footprint, and South Pole recently awarded the NEAR protocol its climate-neutral product label.
NEAR purchased carbon offsets from South Pole’s certified climate action projects to compensate for all direct and indirect emissions associated with the blockchain. Importantly, the NEAR protocol uses a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism instead of a proof-of-work consensus mechanism, which means that the NEAR protocol’s carbon emissions only amount to a fraction of any proof-of-work blockchain.
Measuring the carbon footprint of any blockchain is still a new field with many gray areas. Developments and changes to current methodologies can be expected as the field develops over time. But it’s important to start measuring today and iterate until we get it right instead of waiting for the perfect solution.
“The environment should be at the core of any technological product. I lost interest in crypto-art when I learned about its environmental impact, but NEAR is on the right path to dealing with this problem.” – Riccardo Torresi, artist
A Step in the Right Direction
NFTs needn’t be expensive to create and they needn’t be bad for the climate. Instead, when the infrastructure is clean and when the incentives are aligned properly, they can be a force for good. Linking NFT art and their proceeds to real projects with measurable climate benefits can nudge NFT creators and buyers toward valuable social and environmental causes.
The Green NFT project is one of the first examples of how this can be made possible. We believe it’s a step in the right direction, and hope to see many other projects contributing in similar ways for the greater good in the NEAR future. Keep your eyes out on our social media channels for an announcement on where you’ll be able to see and buy art from the Green NFT project.
“Nobody is without sin when it comes to their carbon footprint. But, while I don’t think anybody can be perfect, you can try to make better individual choices, particularly when the right solutions are already out there.” – Zeitwarp, artist
As well as storing carbon, forests provide innumerable benefits to humans and wildlife alike. This picture shows a sunset over the Kariba Forest Protection project. | Credit: South Pole
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