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  • Writer's picturemarti mcginnis

NFTs: The Bad Stuff

Just Crummy Energy Hogs and Junky? It's not all sunshine and roses with NFTs. Nah, there have been some obstacles to overcome from the get go.

(This post is part of a series on NFTs. Click here to see those whole line up.)

The Biggest Early Problems With NFTs

  • High Energy Usage to exchange

  • Tons Of Less Than Visually Amazing Collections

High Gas Fees = High Energy Usage

Gas fees are high because creating the NFT smart contracts uses a lot of computing energy. Like crazy high. Stupidly high. See all that decentralized computing to create all the tokens and smart contracts to mint an NFT sometimes takes as much energy as powering a house for a week. Here look:

Digiconomist estimates that the Ethereum network annually uses 99.6 Terawatt-hours of electricity—more power than is required by the Philippines or Belgium.
A single Ethereum transaction requires 220.05 kilowatt-hours of electricity, which is the same amount of power that an average U.S. household consumes in 7.44 days. Read more.

Understanding NFT Gas

Gas fees are payments that users have to make to compensate for the computation energy required to process transactions on the Ethereum blockchain. This is very much like the processing fees credit cards may charge for transferring money to various accounts or for paying bills but is way, way, way more complicated. And it's complicated in order to keep all the information encrypted. EnCRYPTed. Cryptocurrency.

My first NFT was minted on a straight ETH blockchain and cost me about $150 in upfront gas fees to mint. Ouch. The piece itself is priced at about $500. That's a significant percentage I have to absorb. Plus whoever buys it will pay another gas fee to get the piece into their crypto wallet. So you can see how this bears out with that stat that says minting an NFT costs as much as a U.S. household costs to run for about 7 days, or $200 - $300.

Awful! That’s why projects are being developed that will run through strictly sustainable or renewable energy sources.

High Energy Use Is A No Go For Me

I mean what's the point of creating digital art if it taxes the environment unduly? It goes against a big part of my interests for certain. I'm all about getting it out there and making my work available, not killing what's left of our fragile environment. Bt the outcry on the high gas fees and ridiculous energy usage is creating positive change. And so I sincerely hope all the naysayers and watchdogs keep at it, illuminating the problems, so they can be solved for real!

Solutions In The Works

I’m going to start minting using the Polygon component of the Ethereum blockchain. Info nerds and geeks can read up here. That's today's solution. Later this year look for ETH to have figured out how to run its exchanges and smart contracts in a much more sustainable way. They're working hard on that right now. And if the don't create a solution act enough? You better know there are other crypto's working on the same problem who hope to bring the solution to market ASAP.

Is This A New Problem?

Kind of. In its infancy the NFT marketplace didn't have millions of listing coming online every week. It was just a couple of thousand. But as buying and creating them became more popular the burden on the computing needed to create those fail-safe smart contracts kept increasing. Now listers compete against each other for computation time which drives up the cost of gas fees. NFTs are suffering from their own success.


Tons Of Less Than Amazing Collections

From its start the NFT market has been initiated with offerings that one could easily argue don’t do much for the pool of creative output. I was going to say “human creative output” but the first big NFT drop was CyberPunks, the collection of 10,000 different icons created by artificial (not necessarily artistic) intelligence.

But a quick sift through any of the NFT marketplaces yields what can only be characterized as a plethora of visual junk. To me it looks like the enthusiastic output from a bunch of over-caffeinated nerds. The good stuff created by someone who actually put in the effort is kind of few and far between. Ugh, I know how that sounds.

NT marketplaces are jungle of a lot of pop culture drops

Is There A Place For Artists Of All Aptitudes?

I don't mean to disparage the entire pop culture catalogue of offerings. I love pop culture! But NFTs from artists who come at this from a place where personal Mission matters are pretty rare on these platforms. I'm talking about artists who approach their creative work with carefully considered mind-heart connection. I DO NOT want NFT marketplaces to be devoid of the enthusiastic offerings from visual influencers of all stripes, I DO want us all to have a chance to be a part of this crazy world.

Opportunity For All

I'm not here to define with makes good art good and I have no desire to tell anyone that the NFTs they're collecting don't measure up. After all, who's the one holding a $70K CryptoKitty huh? Not me. Thousands of crypto geeks do though you can be sure of that.

To be honest, as I was considering getting involved in NFTs I was pretty disheartened by what I was seeing creatively. People do these drops of 10,000 variations of a simple drawing that honestly doesn't look like much to me and make out like bandits. But those folks aren't about the art aspect of these changes. They're more about where they're positioned in the wave of this coming onslaught. And those who've minted collections like Bored Apes Yacht Club in 2021 are making a ton of crypto, thank you very much. Like the indie artist collaborative that created this collection of 10,000 NFTs. Not super wonderful art, but truly marketable NFTs.

You can't argue with 'success', but you can build it out too. That's what I'm talking about.

First Tier NFT Offerings

Dropping 10,000 images all just slightly different from each other doesn't sound like a ton of fun to me. It sounds a bit like a 'get rich quick' scheme. Oh, I know, some people actually art. Getting rich off this type of thing. For sure. I'm cool with it. They're part of the initial wave. They're helping normalize this way of exchanging creative output.

But that's just not how I want to do this. I want to use the NFT space as a new way to connect authentically the way I always have with my collectors and followers. I want it to give us a new way to create happiness, build optimism and experience hope together. From the NFT Marketplaces out into the great Metaverse beyond!

Next Tier NFT Marketplaces

....are all starting to be created as I write this. Either the existing ones are getting revamped or replaced by new sites ready to use more sustainable, less energy consuming crypto.

  • Gas fees will go back down.

  • Better art (and all the other creative offerings and packages) will be a part of what's next.

The internet of the 1990's was a mixed up, misguided, misanthropic wild west of a place too. was a fledgling start up. These things evolve. The great thing about the world of NFTs is how many people are interested in the potential right off the bat. How quickly people are conceiving improvements and how adaptive the whole project seems to be.

Who's going to make sure things get better?

  • People like me

  • People like you

NFT 2.0 is going to be so great!

(This post is part of a series on NFTs. Click here to see those whole line up.)

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