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Is OpenSea Bad for The Environment? (Explained)

OpenSea is a decentralized online marketplace for digital collectibles, such as music, photos, trading cards, and in-game assets.

Many tout OpenSea as the world’s first and largest marketplace for NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens), which are unique digital goods not interchangeably tradable.

But many people question if OpenSea is bad for the environment. After all, NFT trading is allegedly not eco-friendly since it consumes a lot of electricity and emits carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

This post discusses whether or not OpenSea is bad for the environment. Keep reading to find out more!

Is OpenSea Environmentally Friendly?

OpenSea is NOT environmentally friendly because the marketplace is hosted on the Ethereum platform, which currently uses the proof-of-work instead of the relatively safer proof-of-stake operating method to mint NFTs.

Proof-of-work is an energy-intensive process that consumes a lot of electricity and adds carbon emissions to the atmosphere.

NFTs are not necessarily harmful products to the environment and they do not cause much environmental impact on their own.

Minting NFTs is what is harmful to the environment and can exacerbate climate change.

When a trader purchases an NFT, a cryptocurrency miner with extensive computing resources has to mint it and avail it to the buyer.

The process involves solving complex math problems, validating blocks of transactions, and handling a large quantity of computing hardware.

The method used to mint the NFT is usually proof-of-work, which is generally energy-intensive since it consumes a lot of electricity. 

Once the transaction is complete, the miner has to transfer the NFT to the buyer, an equally energy-intensive process similar to the minting method used.

OpenSea is based on Ethereum, which currently uses the proof-of-work method to mine NFTs.

Until Ethereum moves away from PoW, it’s going to negatively impact the environment, further affirming that OpenSea isn’t currently eco-friendly.

Every Ethereum proof-of-work transaction consumes about 260 kilowatt-hours, approximately nine days’ worth of energy.

The massive electricity consumption and carbon emissions associated with NFT minting and trading is the reason OpenSea is not environmentally friendly.

However, plans are underway to make OpenSea eco-friendlier by adopting other environment-friendly systems of mining NFTs, particularly the proof-of-stake method that does not consume as much electricity.

Why Do NFTs Use So Much Power?

NFTs use so much power because they rely on blockchain technology and the process of minting them is energy-intensive.

In particular, most NFT creators and traders use Ethereum, whose mining mechanism requires significant amounts of energy and leaves behind a massive carbon footprint.

Are Cryptocurrencies Bad for The Environment?

Some cryptocurrencies are bad for the environment because of the energy consumed and carbon emissions generated during the mining process.

For example, each bitcoin transaction uses approximately 2,100 kilowatts hours of electricity, enough to run an average household for 75 days. 

Ethereum consumes about 260 kilowatt-hours, approximately what an average US household uses for nine days.

If the energy comes from non-renewable sources, cryptocurrencies can generate significant amounts of greenhouse gas emissions, leading to climate change and other environmental issues.

Various stats suggest that approximately 37 kilotons of annual electronic waste are a byproduct of crypto mining.

The transfer of mined cryptocurrencies from the miner to the buyer also requires a vast amount of energy, explaining why digital coins are bad for the environment.

How Much Energy Do NFTs Use?

NFTs use anywhere from 142 to 260-kilowatt hours of energy to complete a single transaction.

Most NFTs are Ethereum-based, which consumes about 260 kilowatt-hours, approximately what an average US household uses for nine days.

The process of generating NFTs is similar to crypto transaction validation in the sense that they depend on the energy-intensive blockchain technology. 

Do NFTs Use Electricity?

Yes, NFTs use vast amounts of electricity with every transaction since most are Ethereum-based and use proof-of-work. 

Minting an NFT uses 10 times more electricity than crypto transactions, making it a massive wastage of resources.

NFTs use a lot of electricity because they rely on the Ethereum blockchain technology. 

There’s no definite way to track electricity usage on Ethereum since multiple miners can join the network at any time, increasing energy consumption.

Why Do NFTs Use Ethereum?

NFTs use the Ethereum blockchain , which is an open-source platform that allows transactions to run smoothly without downtimes, third-party interference, or fraud.

With Ethereum, users can track transaction history and it is simple to prove ownership. 

No one can steal ownership of data on the Ethereum platform since token metadata is publicly verifiable.

Is Ethereum Eco Friendly?

No. Most people do not consider Ethereum as eco-friendly since it uses the proof-of-work algorithm to validate transaction.

The proof-of-work system uses inordinate amounts of electricity, resulting in the wastage of resources. 

When using non-renewable energy sources, Ethereum based transactions can result in carbon emissions and negatively impact the environment.

Which Crypto Has Lowest Carbon Footprint?

The crypto with the lowest carbon footprint is Electroneum (ETN) since its mining energy needs are nearly zero.

However, selecting one particular cryptocurrency as one with the lowest carbon footprint is a massive challenge, given that new currencies emerge every day.

Cryptocurrencies with the lowest carbon footprint are those that use the proof-of-stake system rather than the proof-of-work algorithm.

Examples of low-carbon cryptocurrencies include SolarCoin, Cardano, Stellar, BitGreen, Nano, Tezos, and TRON.

Final Thoughts

Although OpenSea is the largest marketplace for NFTs, it has its fair share of shortcomings.

Since it uses the Ethereum-based (proof-of-work) system, the platform is likely to impact the environment negatively.

Mining NFTs requires vast amounts of energy and the process generates significant amounts of greenhouse gas emissions.

Fortunately, plans are underway to make OpenSea safer and eco-friendlier by adopting other environmentally friendly ways to generate and transact NFTs.

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