Cryptoart.wtf, an online calculator that estimates the environmental impact of encrypted art, is being shut down. The reason, according to the creator of the platform, Memo Akten, is that his information was used as “a tool of abuse and harassment”. The site provided estimates of carbon emissions on the records and transactions of NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, now widely used in the growing digital art market.
Last Friday (12), the website published an official statement saying that information about the ecological damage that cryptography causes should be public and easily accessible by everyone. Akten compared his work to the same accounting that exists today of the carbon footprints of smartphone production and even of streaming video services.
Digital artists would have become targets
Despite his philosophy, Akten decided to end the website’s activities. According to him, abuses and moral harassment were committed with the information provided by Cryptoart.wtf. He did not go so far as to specify or exemplify what types of acts these were. However, as a digital artist and programmer, the content of his statement indicates that possibly those who sold their works of art as non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, have become targets on the internet.
I support artists and we should support each other… Our discussions shouldn’t be about comparing individuals. I believe that we have a responsibility to be critical of businesses whose values are opposed to what we want to see moving forward, while simultaneously working to build and support platforms that avoid causing meaningless damage to our planet.
Memo Akten, creator of Cryptoart.wtf
Crypto art and carbon emissions
While active, Cryptoart.wtf allowed any user to track the carbon emissions associated with any NFT, the blockchain technology most used today to ensure the originality and exclusivity of digital artworks. The term “crypto art” itself was implemented in the face of this growing movement.
But after all, how can a digital work of art be responsible for polluting the planet? Just like cryptocurrencies work, non-fungible tokens are a permanent record, immutable and encrypted on a blockchain network.
This technology is not centralized, it requires multiple computers around the world to give up their processing power to perform numerous protocols and calculations both in the creation of an NFT, and each time it is moved from one digital wallet to another.
This whole process consumes energy. Typically, the networks used to process and register NFTs are the same as for cryptocurrencies, such as ethereum, for the digital currency ether (ETH). This means that every time a digital work of art is created as a non-fungible token and whenever it is bought and resold, a certain amount of energy will be spent.
Grimes’ NFTs generated 79 tons of CO2
As a practical example, the Cryptoart.wtf platform revealed the estimated environmental impact caused by the sale of hundreds of NFTs by the singer Grimes. The artist recorded 303 editions of a short video as non-fungible tokens and sold each for $ 7,500.
The sale consumed a total of 122,416 kilowatt hours of electricity, which is equivalent to approximately 79 tons of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere emitted by power plants. That same amount of energy could power a common European home for 34 years.
With information: Gizmodo