Is NFTs Sustainable?

In less than a decade, non-fungible tokens, NFTs, have amassed multi-million dollars in trades. And with the current massive following, the proceeds from NFTs don’t look to stop anytime soon. Despite all that feats, the fact remains that non-fungible tokens are still in their infancy and use a controversial technology.

That begs the question of their sustainability.

So, will these digital tokens remain as lucrative as they are now in a few years?

What are their impacts on the environment?

Will NFTs Remain Lucrative?

Frankly, it is hard to say if non-fungible tokens will always be as booming as they have been in 2021. But looking at the trend of NFTs since it started in 2014, they have pulled in massive sales. Alarmingly enough, this boom happened when the world was facing an economic backlash from the COVID19 pandemic.

The pandemic aside, cryptocurrencies have had to deal with the constant talk around their impact on the environment. While NFTs are different from the likes of Bitcoin, they still depend on blockchain technology, especially Ethereum’s, to work.

Now, even the leader of the park, Bitcoin, has been suffering backlash to the point of devaluation. Yet, NFTs sales keep soaring. If they can survive all the scares, then they are here to stay.

Regardless, the nagging question of environmental impacts remains. But how much do NFTs impact the environment? Should you be worried?

Do NFTs Impact The Environment?

While there are no concrete reports on NFTs’ exact contribution to carbon dioxide emissions, their co-existence with Ethereum is a reason to worry. And when the majorities have negative opinions about anything, the backlash is always enormous.

ArtStation was one of the few to receive such backlash firsthand. The online marketplace initially had plans to incorporate NFTs into one of its offerings. However, people reacted against the development on Twitter, and the company had to cancel its plans in an official statement.

By the way, the ArtStation episode happened in March 2021. There have been more NFT sales after that. Regardless, you might still wonder just how much NFTs impact the environment. So, let’s enlighten you.

Spoiler alert: no one knows just how much NFTs impact the planet. In other words, the backlash the concept received is mainly because of its association with Ethereum.

Unlike NFTs, Ethereum is quite a publicized bad wolf; its gigantic energy consumption has been a worry for a long time now. According to Digiconomist, a single Ethereum transaction takes up to 151.18kWh of energy, which can power a US household for 5days. That same transaction will leave a carbon footprint of up to 71.81kgCO2 – an equivalent of the carbon you will emit watching YouTube over a stretch of 11,968hours.

Mind you: that evaluation is just for a single Ethereum transaction. Now, imagine the number of transactions per multiple users and how many will happen in a year!

Unfortunately, NFT transactions partake in Ethereum emissions. And now that the tokens are gaining new followers, more transactions will take place. That means more electricity consumption and carbon emissions.


NFTs are Ethereum-based tokens, and that means they also contribute to the carbon emissions from cryptocurrencies. While the detail can be worrisome, NFTs can work on much greener technologies. More importantly, even Ethereum plans to adopt a new and energy-efficient technology, Casper, soon.

In other words, NFTs can be sustainable!

Posted by Brett Melville

Brett Melville is a SEO consultant at Digital Treasury and a NFT writer.

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