Resources to Help You Create or Support Climate-Forward NFTs
This page started as notes from the talk I gave at NFT CON (in March 2022) about turning NFTs into an actual climate solution rather than an environmental problem. Since then, I have added updates regarding new projects.
I´ve done a deep dive into this topic, and I can tell you that things can get complex and controversial.
Without going too far down the rabbit hole, here are a few links with helpful information.
Or cut to the chase: read How to Create Regenerative NFTs
First, it´s important to know the differences between
Proof of Work and Proof of Stake consensus mechanisms. Basically, Proof of Work requires a huge network of robust computers to solve a cryptographic problem as part of the consensus process. The first one to solve the problem is rewarded, ensuring that the system will continue to solve these problems and verify future transactions. Proof of Stake does not require this massive use of computers to solve a cryptographic problem, and therefore is faster, cheaper, and uses a fraction of the energy that Proof of Work currencies require.
One common example used to compare the energy use of Proof of Work vs Proof of Stake is this:
1 Ethereum (Proof of Work consensus) transaction = driving for 500 miles or taking a 90-minute flight
1 Proof of Stake transaction = 2 Google searches or 1 Visa card transaction
But that just leads to more questions. What kind of car? How big is the plane?
A better way to think of it might be this:
1 Transaction on Ethereum requires the same amount of energy as the average U.S. household for 9 days.
That´s lights, appliances, heating/cooling, tech, maybe even charging an electric car.
Okay, so anything using Proof of Work should be off the table, right? Well, it´s more complicated than that.
For one thing, thanks to demand for Bitcoin and Ethereum PoW cryptocurrencies, renewable energy infrastructure (wind and solar) is far more supported, and crypto mining can be seen as playing a useful role in the energy transition.
By some estimates, over half of crypto mining in the U.S. is now done using renewable energy, but that doesn´t mean everyone is fine with it. While some states (Texas and Florida) are welcoming crypto miners with open arms due to their ability to boost renewable energy infrastructure, other states such as New York (and entire countries, including China) are banning or placing a moratorium on crypto mining rights due to environmental concerns.
And the demand for energy caused by crypto mining has even led to the re-opening of shuttered coal and natural gas facilities, with unacceptable consequences:
Even if crypto mining is boosting renewable energy, it´s clear that it´s using a whole lot of energy when there are better options available.
There are those who point out that crypto mining uses only .08% of energy consumed in the U.S., with clothes dryers consuming almost double that. If clothes drying and refrigeration (which uses even more than clothes drying) are valuable services that improve quality of life, the thinking goes, isn´t that what energy is for?
And why not focus on the really big energy sucks? Buildings are responsible for 40 percent of energy consumption in the United States, more than half of which goes toward heating and cooling.
(Fortunately, there are good solutions.)
Then there are those who say we should be aware of our wealthy-country privilege when complaining about the energy needs of crypto mining when cryptocurrencies are offering such a valuable and important way for people in struggling economies to have access to secure money sources.
The conversation goes round and round, but know this: the greatest way to preserve energy resources and meet climate goals is to avoid using excessive energy in the first place.
Good news: There are some good people working to make crypto green.
CryptoClimate.org: More than 250 companies and individuals spanning the crypto and finance, technology, NGO, and energy and climate sectors have joined the Crypto Climate Accord as Supporters, and others have signed on as Signatories that make a public commitment to achieve net-zero emissions from electricity consumption by 2030.
A clear definition of impact NFTs via https://impactNFT.org (ImpactNFT Alliance)
¨A Proof of Stake or negligible carbon minting process that ensures that a token is environmentally considerate and may even be climate positive. An Impact NFT is also different in that it is designed with the intention to fund positive social or environmental impact, acting as a digital asset for impact investing.¨
For information about the energy impact of NFTs as well as a complete and updated list of the Proof of Stake cryptocurrencies and related marketplaces, visit https://cleannfts.org
Already minted your NFTs using Ethereum? Stay put. Moving them from OpenSea to a greener option is just going to use more energy! Ethereum is scheduled to shift from Proof of Work to Proof of Stake (or something similar) sometime in 2022, and there may be some sort of migrating option.
Want to offset the impact of your Ethereum collection? You can do that here:
Keep in mind that there are many NFT collections on Ethereum that are focused on the environment, and despite the super-sized energy consumption, they are focusing on making a positive impact.
Woodies is a collection of 10,000 NFTs that has met its goal of donating to the planting of a million trees through Trees for the Future. (Yes, that´s 90,000 days of one household´s energy or enough for 246 homes for a full year, but also, that´s a lot of trees.)
The best way forward is to celebrate the good intentions and positive impacts while also emphasizing the critical need to make greener choices throughout the NFT process.
Here is a list of some of the Proof of Stake currencies and related marketplaces for NFTs:
Solana: combines Proof of Stake with Proof of History (PoH), ensuring that a blockchain is very fast while keeping its security decentralized. Solsea, Magic Eden, Solanart, DigitalEyes, Metaplex, Kairos, Exchange.Art and finally, OpenSea´s Solana option
Tezos: objkt, Hic et nunc (HEN), Kalamint, FXHash, Teia, Rarible’s Tezos option
Cardano: CNFT, Galaxy of Art, jpg.store and high-end art site Arkhouse.io launching soon
Flow: Disrupt Art, Block Party, Rarible’s Flow option
Stellar: (not a PoS blockchain, uses a different consensus mechanism, but very low-energy use) Litemint, StellarNFT
Algorand: (a carbon-negative blockchain that reduces its small carbon footprint via a partnership with Climate Trade) Zest Bloom, Artsquare, Aorist, Abris
Voice.com: an NFT marketplace for the crypto curious, offering payment by credit card and paying artists via USDC. NFTs are minted using a DPoS (Delegated Proof of Stake) - similar to PoS but featuring a voting and delegation mechanism that claims to make the process more democratic. The company´s own carbon footprint is offset through a partnership with Native. In addition, during Earth Month, Voice planted a tree for every NFT minted.
Rarible: this NFT platform, in addition to offering a Tezos option, is now partnering with Nori, a carbon removal marketplace, to empower users to make their NFTs carbon negative. To kick off the partnership, Rarible purchased 906 tonnes of carbon removal through Nori.
Eco-friendly web3 ecosystems to know:
Polygon: decentralized layer 2 solution making Ethereum faster, cheaper, and less energy-intensive, a good option on OpenSea, partnering on many other sites and apps.
Polkadot: enables cross-blockchain transfers of any type of data or asset, not just tokens, uses a next-generation nominated proof-of-stake (NPoS) model. Using the equivalent of ~6.6 US households worth of energy per year, Polkadot has the lowest carbon footprint among proof-of-stake protocols analyzed in recent research.
Avalanche: verifiable platform for building dececentralized apps. Used for customized blockchain implementations for institutions, enterprises, and governments.
Toucan: bridge that connects the voluntary carbon market to Web3. For each credit bridged, one Tokenized CO2 token is deposited. Launched in October 2021, infrastructure provider behind Base Carbon Tonne (BCT), released with partner KlimaDAO (the first platform to build on Toucan.)
Celo: (¨purpose¨ in Esperanto) is a PoS layer-1 protocol with decentralized app making it possible to send crypto person-to-person rather than wallet to wallet. Aims to be the Paypal of crypto, to create conditions for prosperity (people fulfilling basic needs, growing along their own unique paths, and supporting each other.) NFT marketplace: Cyberbox.art
Regen Network: facilitates the creation of new ecological assets for use in ReFi (Regenerative Finance). Similar to Toucan, but on the Cosmos blockchain instead of Ethereum.
Choosing your own currency/marketplace and donating a percentage of NFT sales to an organization:
An example is my RegenerAIted AI collection (inspired by forests) on Exchange.Art (Solana). For each NFT I sell, I am donating to OneTreePlanted.org to plant 50 trees. This does require me to keep track and send the donation myself.
Change (yome.social/change) is a good option for distributing funds directly to your chosen causes. You can even input your wallet address and buy carbon offsets for your entire collection.
NFT platforms that make it easy to donate to non-profit organizations and good causes:
GiveTree.io: building a play-to-earn/give option into virtual game metaverse/NFT marketplace, partners with Sandbox and Ready Player Me
DoinGud.com: currently featuring selected NFTs/artist drops, good for crypto beginners as collectors can pay with credit card or USDC, can choose from a long list of nonprofits to support, you choose percentage given from initial and secondary sales.
TheBlueMarble.io: on Stellar blockchain, partners with artists to create a collection dedicated to a specific cause (example: place-based photography to raise funds for that area.) Not yet open to other artists.
Seva.Love: co-founded by author and wellness/mindfulness master Deepak Chopra, dedicated to connecting artists, brands, and causes for world solutions. Still in Beta.
Maxity.io: UK-based NFT marketplace dedicated to supporting charities and NGOs
Metagood.com: a social good platform bringing together causes and their communities.
Want to donate crypto assets directly to environmental non-profit organizations? Use TheGivingBlock.com
Examples of organizations using NFTs to support environmental work:
Project-Ark.co: on Solana, launching selected artists’ Green Impact NFTs, offering a studio that empowers web3 projects, NGOs, and foundations to create carbon neutral collections. Featuring Arkanauts, an NFT collection that rewards holders with unique experiences. Lab helps users calculate the carbon footprint of their NFT collections and choose appropriate offsets. Carbon Removal Dollar International Transition (CRED) uses a Remove to Earn model, incentivizing carbon removal.
Plastiks.io: “the art of recycling”, marketplace connecting plastic recyclers, brands, and artists, uses PLASTIK token. Uses a smart contract approach to merge NFTs with real recycling data from waste management companies from around the world, setting a new standard for compensation, traceability, and recovery of plastic production. Through a Recovery Guarantee system, companies can become plastic neutral and communicate their sustainability efforts to the market. Collectors of recycled plastics are valued and compensated for their efforts. Built on Celo. Artists can mint artwork with prices listed in PLASTIK, which can be bridged to other currencies.
Moss.earth & Nemus.earth: both sell NFTs that provide “guardianship” of a particular parcel of land in the Amazon Rainforest, with funds contributing to the protection and satellite surveillance of the plots, offering virtual and/or in-person experiences for selected NFT holders. Moss is built on Celo, offers carbon offsetting for individuals and businesses (including GOL, Brazil´s biggest airline, where passengers can offset their flights.) The Nemus NFTs are designed by artist, Ben Kwok and look like collectible cards that describe the unique flora and fauna of that parcel.
Rewilder.xyz: similar to the above, a nonprofit that sells NFTs that grant guardianship of a parcel of land that is purchased as part of conservation efforts. They plant to offset the estimated carbon footprint of all donation and NFT creation transactions using Creol.io.
TheAquaverse.io: connecting blockchain to ecology, developing program that uses sea sponges for biomediation (cleaning plastic-polluted water), featuring an NFT collection of 9,999 Guardians that funds continued work.
Earthshot.Institute: an open group of scientists, engineers, humanists, and designers building an information ecosystem for research and results that catalyze ecological regeneration at planetary scale. Theír Bundled Ecological NFT will monetize the ecological value of regenerative organic agriculture, making it worth the farmers´ investment to choose restorative techniques that take into account carbon capture/reduction, biodiversity, habitat, etc., maximizing the health of soil, people and animals by taking a living systems approach. Other projects include efforts focused on global forest mapping, bison recovery, and coastal wetlands mapping.
(Not to be confused with Earthshot.us, a nonprofit inspiring climate action by immersing people in a positive communication community learning about clean tech, or Earthshot.eco, which supports landowners all over the world to restore ecosystems by helping their realize their land´s full natural and economic potential.)
Climate-related DAOs to know:
ClimateDAO.xyz: a decentralized activist network focused on climate change mitigation through shareholder activism.
KlimaDAO.finance: organized around KLIMA, a digital currency backed by real carbon assets.
Gitcoin: DAO with a mission to support and fund digital public goods. Currently the largest regenerative-focused DAO,
DreamDAO: intergenerational organization equipping Gen Z civic innovators with web3 tools for creating positive social impact.
Protein: focused on creating regenerative impact in the culture space through their “Good Growth” framework.
theH🌎MEDAO.com: the first decentralized utility organization and the first DeFi token to be backed by sustainability infrastructure assets and their cash flows (solar farms, etc.) Funding energy ecosystems to be owned by the public.
ReFi DAO: a DAO of regen-focused DAOs.
DAODAO: DAO that offers tools for building DAOs.
Other climate-related terms to know:
Regen: short for regenerative, created in response to the mainstream “degen” culture in web3 that focuses on those taking big risks for big financial gains. Regen refers to the people/culture of using blockchain technology for social/environmental good.
ReFi: short for regenerative finance, which uses money as a tool to solve systemic problems and regenerate communities and natural environments. In regenerative finance, circulation replaces accumulation
Solarpunk: a high-tech utopian imagination of the future, often showing up in imaginative art featuring cities filled with trees and plants.
There is so much happening at the intersection of climate and web3! This is a limited list, and not intended to include all projects that are earmarking funds for climate action.
If I didn't mention your favorite project, currency, marketplace, or DAO, please
send me a message and tell me why you love it!
Here´s to feeling hopeful about the power of green NFTs and excited about the opportunities to support important work.
Please feel free to contact or follow me via the links below. I am always happy to talk about how you might turn your project into a force for environmental good.
🌎#wagmi in a planetary way by supporting solutions for positive change.