Non-fungible tokens, NFT’s, have soared in the entertainment world and though the technology has been around since the mid-2010s, this did not become mainstream until last year.
According to Observer, NFT’s are unique, verifiable digital tokens that represent ownership of a physical or digital asset. Meaning, celebrities in different industries can make a massive revenue off of their tweets, website domains, personal work or anything else that holds value. The non-fungible aspect of this cryptocurrency is what differentiates it from platforms such as Bitcoin. In Bitcoin, your assets can be taken away and continuously sold, whereas NFT’s are secure and cannot be exchanged.
There are several platforms where artists can sell their items. For example, The Weeknd scored over $2 million by selling his limited-edition music treasury to Nifty Gateway, who specializes in storing digital art. The Weeknd’s collection featured three audio-visuals, four artworks, and one unreleased song that received $490,000 at auction.
In the entertainment world, Paris Hilton recently sold her digital painting of a cat for 40 ETH (digital money currency), which equates to $17,000, on cryptograph. Cryptograph allows users to sell one-of-a-kind collectibles to raise money for charity.
Celebrities such as Lindsay Lohan, Soulja Boy, Shawn Mendes, Steve Aoki, Azealia Banks and more have made incredible profits in this cryptocurrency business. However, some are highlighting that this recent push of NFT’s is an environmental nightmare.
According to The Verge, these tokens are partially responsible for the tons of planet-heating carbon dioxide emissions. NFT’s exist on Ethereum blockchains, which use large processing machines that emit carbon dioxide. Selling one source of crypto art, according to Widewalls Magazine, has a carbon push equivalent to a 1-hour flight, which also adds up to 77 years of electricity consumption.
Amid this backlash, many claim this argument to be untrue. While it is very true that Ethereum uses a large amount of energy, it has a set consumption rate that does not increase. Meaning, this influx of NFT transactions is, allegedly, not raising carbon dioxide levels.
Due to this controversy, online users have bombarded platforms and celebrities for using NFT’s. On March 9, an online art portfolio business, Art Station, announced they were working with artists from their platform to drop a series of NFT’s. In a couple of hours, supporters criticized and demanded Art Station to stop the drops. Shortly after, the business replaced their NFT-based posts with a short apology, stating they wouldn’t move forward with the sales.
Despite this immense pushback, NFT’s continue to garner massive support from both celebrities and everyday consumers. As of April 9, New York-based author, Emily Segal, raised $50,000 by selling non-fungible tokens linked to her newest novel “Burn Alpha.”