But, is this a world we want to move forward into blindly? Many sources and musical artists would say no. There is a growing ambivalence to NFT in its current state for a multitude of reasons.
To start, the data of an NFT, like all Cryptocurrency, needs to be stored, and “mined” or generated by massive server farms. These servers can wind up using massive amounts of energy. Since Blockchain is a ledger, all transactions require an insane amount of energy to keep the currency running and up to date. As a brief example, according to The Hill “Ethereum mining consumes about 26.5 terawatt-hours of electricity a year. To put that into perspective — that is nearly as much energy used annually by the entire country of Ireland.”
As more and more attention is drawn to Ethereum-based NFTs, and additional transactions are generated, the energy consumption is on an exponential spike. While there are calls even from the founders of Ethereum and artists such as “Beeple” (Whose strange 3D renderings scored him a whopping $69 Million USD when auctioned as an NFT by Christie’s) to donate proceeds and invest towards making Ethereum and NFT works carbon-neutral, there is still much work to be done on this front.
While many artists are skeptical not only for the environmental crisis, some musicians are simply concerned to jump onboard while NFT tech is still in its early stages of development. For example, Singer-Songwriter Zola Jesus was ambivalent about the concept, weighing the pros and cons of the tech in its current state on an article about NFT’s from Pitchfork:
“I really like the parts of NFT that foreground the support of artists directly, and I love seeing whole new forms of art flourish in a new medium. But I think the financialization around the NFT space needs some heavy auditing before it’s an actually fair market for the artists themselves, and that the art is being purchased for the merit of what it expresses, rather than what profit it could yield in the future. I don’t want people to bet on me like a racehorse.”