Hvrmemoirs' NFT inspired by the Kariba Forest Protection project.
South Pole's vision is to decarbonize the blockchain & crypto industry and turn it into a force for good – make it part of the climate solution, not the problem. But we cannot do this alone.
- Patrick Burgi, Director of Innovation and co-founder at South Pole
We are delighted to be working with Mintbase and NEAR Foundation to launch an exciting climate-conscious crypto-art auction with some of the world's leading digital artists.
Together with NEAR Foundation and Mintbase, we have launched a climate-conscious NFT art auction. The aim is to highlight to users and artists how and why NFTs and the digital world must address their environmental impact as we transition to global net zero.
A quick refresher: NFTs transform digital works of art, collectibles, GIFs or memes into unique verifiable assets that are easy to trade on the blockchain. But it's not only for art, NFTs can be used to track any sort of ownership, NFTs could become relevant for industries like gaming, finance and even healthcare.
'Magnolia', by Riccardo Torresi will be up for auction. Riccardo's focus on nature and on its hidden physical phenomena, is used as the driving force of computer generated visuals and often recorded in real time, resembling moving memories in a past time.
NFTs have exploded in popularity, with sales increasing by 1700% between December 2020 and February 2021. They are touted as a way to empower artists and help to democratize the art world. While the art is virtual, the climate impact is real – we mustn't let it disappear into the ether.
NFTs can be based on 'proof of work' blockchains including Bitcoin, which has a higher annual electricity use than The Netherlands. As Sanna Setterwall, a consultant at South Pole points out “this translates into an environmental impact that has skyrocketed to an estimated 32.6MtCO2e which is somewhere between the carbon emissions of Denmark, Slovakia and New Zealand."
This is proving to be unacceptable. Joanie Lemercier, a well-known crypto artist, has refused to sell NFTs until changes are made.
But there is another option. NFTs using 'proof-of-stake' blockchains are said to be 99% more energy efficient. The approach is beginning to circulate around newer generations of blockchains, like NEAR, ensuring the environment is not a mere afterthought. Ethereum's long-awaited announced that it will transition to 'proof of stake' by the end of 2021 is a step in the right direction.
“In most religious cultures we find that Deer symbolizes spiritual authority and regeneration," says Balaram Ochangco the artist of 'Deer'.
Together with the NEAR Foundation and Mintbase, we have launched an online gallery to auction beautiful crypto-art pieces with climate considerations in both style and substance.
The Green NFT auction is hosted by Mintbase, which relies on the NEAR Foundation's low-carbon, responsible infrastructure. The NEAR Foundation worked with South Pole to measure and offset the carbon footprint of all direct and indirect emissions associated with its blockchain by supporting our certified climate action projects. South Pole recently awarded the NEAR protocol its climate-neutral product label. On top of this, NEAR blockchain uses the 'proof-of-stake model.
But the auction goes one step further.
The proceeds of each sale and resale are split 50/50 between the artist and our certified climate action projects. Even if these pieces are sold time and time again, a contribution will be made to the planet to address the unavoidable emissions associated with the transaction. Highlighted projects focus on:
With these technologies moving from the backwaters of the internet into the mainstream, it's vital that environmental considerations become a centrepiece of their design and use. This auction is one example of how we can empower artists. As Dan, the artist behind the creative studio Zietwarp says, "While I don't think anybody can be perfect, you can try to make better choices on an individual basis - especially when they're available."
If we are to reach global net zero, our activities in the digital space must be as accountable as any other industry in reducing their carbon footprint.
We'd like to thank the artist for their participation and enthusiasm in this project. Their creativity and passion for the environment is instrumental in decarbonising NFTs.