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CryptoKitties and Sorare, the most harmful Ethereum NFTs for the environment

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CryptoKitties, Sorare, and Axie Infinity are the three most environmentally harmful collections of NFTs built on the Ethereum blockchain, according to the NFT Club. This group of NFT enthusiasts has published a report on the environmental impact of non-fungible tokens created on the Ethereum blockchain. According to digital artist Memo Atken, the CO2 produced by a single NFT in half a year on Ethereum is equivalent to driving a car 838 thousand kilometers or boiling a kettle 3.5 million times.

The authors of the report explain that minting new NFTs on Ethereum has a large negative impact on the environment, due to the carbon cost of mining this blockchain. His analysis focuses on non-fungible tokens minted on this network, because it uses miners that require a large amount of electrical energy to validate transactions and keep the chain operational.

 

NFT, Ethereum and the environment

 

Environmental pollution is one of the most important global problems today and, like Bitcoin, NFTs are no exception. The popularity that non-fungible tokens have gained since last year sparked concern in society. Artists, investors, and video game players have spoken out against the creation and use of NFTs. Estimating that making a transaction with one of these digital assets on the Ethereum blockchain can produce as much carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere as driving a car.

NFT Club identified the crypto collections created on Ethereum with the highest carbon cost and, therefore, those with the highest environmental impact. At this point, it should be clarified that the estimates made by NFT Club are approximate. The company notes in its report that the carbon impact of much of the process of minting and trading NFTs on Ethereum is not entirely clear. 

The 5 NFT collections with the greatest environmental impact

CryptoKitties

 

CryptoKitties is the NFT collection with the highest CO2 production in the environment, NFT Club said. According to their estimates, the primary and secondary sales of these NFTs, which exceed 2.9 million transactions, have produced about 240 million kg of CO2 in the atmosphere. To offset carbon dioxide, CryptoKitties requires 4 million trees. 

cryptokitties

The CryptoKitties were launched on the Ethereum blockchain in 2017 by the company Dapper Labs. It currently has more than 2 million digital kittens minted as NFTs. On Opensea, the largest non-fungible token market in the crypto industry, the CryptoKitties show a total volume of 70,500 ETH. With more than 114,500 owners.

 

Sorare

 

The second most environmentally polluting collection of NFTs is Sorare. The NFTs of this football platform have generated about 35 million kg of CO2. That is, about 205 million kg of CO2 less than the CryptoKitties. This collection of NFTs has made more than 425,000 transactions between primary sales and secondary sales. To offset its carbon footprint, a total of 580,000 trees would be required. 

sorare nft

Sorare is a collection of soccer NFT digital cards built on Ethereum, which fans of the sport can use as collectibles, to build teams, compete against others, win prizes, and more. The volume of operations reached by this collection exceeds 50,260 ETH in Opensea. In total, there are about 330,000 NFT cards minted in Sorare. 

Axie Infinity

 

Axie Infinity, one of the most popular Play to Earn (P2E) games in the blockchain industry is the third largest CO2 producing crypto collection of NFTs. According to NFT Club, before the game’s migration from Ethereum to Ronin’s side blockchain, Axie Infinity generated 27 million kg of CO2. Product of 18.2 million transactions in primary sales and 9.4 million transactions in secondary sales. In total, this NFT collection requires 461,000 trees to offset the carbon dioxide generated. 

axie infinity

 

Sky Mavis, the developer company behind Axie Infinity, migrated the game from Ethereum to the secondary chain Ronin Network in early 2021, to support high demand. Currently, this blockchain game registers more than 3 million players around the world. The volume of operations generated with Axie Infinity NFTs exceeds 4,170 million dollars, being the second most popular collection in the market. 

Art Blocks

 

The generative art NFT project, Art Blocks, ranks fourth among the NFT collections with the most environmental and ecological impact. Art Blocks NFTs have generated 23.1 million kg of CO2 since their launch. In total, the sales transactions of this collection exceed 280,000, so it requires some 385,000 trees to offset its environmental impact. 

art blocks

 

Art Blocks is a platform focused on art and generative content on demand that uses the Ethereum blockchain. 

The Sandbox

 

The Sandbox , one of the largest metaverses built on Ethereum, has generated more than 11.6 million kg of CO2 with its NFTs. In total, within this gaming platform, more than 75,600 primary sales of NFTs have been made, which have contributed to the generation of 6.28 million kg of carbon dioxide. The Sandbox requires more than 190,000 trees to offset its CO2 footprint. 

The nft sandbox

Other NFT collections, such as Decentraland, Wolf Game, Bored Ape Yacht Club, Mutant Ape Yacht Club, Cool Cats, and HashMask are among the top 15 most environmentally harmful NFT collections. 

Carbon cost in NFT markets

 

According to estimates, minting a new NFT on a PoW blockchain, such as Ethereum, produces around 83 kg of CO2, regardless of the financial value of the asset. Primary sales of NFTs are calculated at 23 kg of CO2. Those made in secondary markets in 51 kg of CO2. NFT transfer or exchange operations produce approximately 30 kg of CO2. To compensate for this amount of CO2, about 3.11 trees would be needed. 

carbon cost of NFT operations

 

Memo Atken, Beeple and others

 

NFTs are one of the most important technological innovations in history, allowing artists, musicians, creators and more to own and prove ownership of their creations. This allows them to monetize them directly and without intermediaries. However, these digital assets have many detractors due to their high energy consumption. 

 

The First 5000 Days” for almost $70 million as NFT a year ago, has said he would invest part of the proceeds from the work to support renewable energy initiatives. French artist Joanie Lemercier has also protested against the use of NFTs on the Ethereum network, due to their high energy consumption. In February 2021 she suspended the release of her crypto art on the NiftyGateway platform, due to “the senseless and unnecessary waste of electricity involved” in minting NFTs into ETH. In March, the ArtStation platform also suspended an NFT proof of concept after receiving a large number of criticisms and complaints from various environmentalists.

Friendlier Alternatives

 

It should be clarified that thanks to the development and advancement of technology in recent years, not all the blockchains that currently exist work in the same way as Ethereum. Therefore, not all have the same environmental impact.

In November, the Solana Foundation published a report noting that its blockchain is 2 million times more environmentally efficient than Ethereum and Bitcoin. He even compared its level of energy efficiency with the scalability network of Ethereum 2.0. He claims that it is 68 times more efficient than the latter.

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