Unpacking the Ecological Debate Around NFTs

The parabolic rise of NFTs has resurfaced heated discussions around crypto’s ecological impact. Though two camps have formed, measuring this impact is much harder than both extremes expect.
The NFT Boom
The recent surge in enthusiasm for digital art has been turning heads.
Whether it’s Soulja Boy, Lindsay Lohan, or Lil Yachty trying their best to stay relevant and cash in on their dwindling fame or giant multi-artist projects raising millions such as Hashmasks, the world of NFTs has suddenly become extremely valuable. 
What started in December 2017 with CryptoKitties has now taken prominent digital artist Beeple to world-famous auction house Christie’s, where his piece “EVERYDAYS: THE FIRST 5000 DAYS” is being offered to the world’s richest art collectors. now estimates the all-time volume of NFT sales around $365 million, with $180 million coming in the past month alone.
The number of new users on, a prominent NFT marketplace. Data from DappRadarDespite the overnight riches, many doubters remain.
A key issue resides in the ecological footprint of these NFTs, which, in most cases, reside on the Ethereum blockchain. Their increasing volume has also influenced the usage of the Ethereum network, leading to increased gas fees and energy use.
The Ecological Impact of Proof of Work
The Proof-of-Work (PoW) consensus algorithm has been the key to blockchain security since the inception of Bitcoin. It is responsible for the security and integrity of the network. This consensus is reached through computing power, often referred to as hashrate.
As …
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