Will you shift my friend? & ₿🌍
Tuesday, April 20th 2021
Morning Folks ☕
C’mere to me
news coming next week 🤞🎙
I realise today’s post is really long, but I think it’s worth a read, took a while to compile anyway!
I think in future we might stick to just the shorter little snippets, but let me know if you enjoy the longer pieces? I know it’s easy to scroll straight past a block of text but I promise I’m always cutting out bits trying to keep it as short as possible whilst still drawing from lots of sources and perspectives, giving the most consise yet well rounded view of a story.
C’mere to me…
Earth Day 🌲
This Thursday, April 22nd, is Earth Day.
National Geographic just joined Tiktok and will host an event on ‘Earth Day Eve’ this Wednesday including a live EDM afterparty - which for some reason seems off-brand but is actually really cool.
European Super League ⚽
As I’m sure you’ve seen, a selection of the biggest football clubs in the world have, very controversially, signed up to participate in a new breakaway ‘super’ league.
It certainly seems like it has little chance of actually happening due to the dire consequences it would have on the domestic leagues and with the uproar from fans & organising bodies, including the FAPL, UEFA & FIFA, it would limit the clubs involved and their players from participating in anything else, but nevertheless, I thought this was a comprehensive piece to read if you’re looking for the all the details- see Sky Sports
Ecological Cost of Crypto ₿🌍
What no one is talking about.
An important follow-up on NFTs and a very relevant one too, given Earth Day is this week.
(the post from a few weeks ago - NFTs Big Picture 🔮)
So the calculations required to add blocks to the blockchain are enormous and this uses a LOT of computing power, which in turn has a much bigger environmental impact than you might think.
The site cryptoart.wtf, created by digital artist Memo Akten, allowed people to estimate greenhouse gas emissions was one of the first to spark a lot of attention, but he subsequently took it down due to information on the site being misinterpreted and spread falsely online.He analysed 18,000 NFTs and found that the average NFT has a carbon footprint of the equivalent to more than a month’s worth of electricity for a person living in the EU.
Now, watching YouTube or Netflix, or any heavy internet usage has an ecological impact. Millions of machines are running around the clock to provide you with information in an instant yet still the impact is significantly less, and while data centres are becoming more and more efficient the opposite is true for crypto - the block calculations are getting harder and longer.
It is also very important to note that the financial amount an NFT is sold for does not affect its ecological cost, be it a euro or a million euro it still requires the same computing resources.
“Researchers at Cambridge University have estimated that mining Bitcoin uses more electricity than entire countries like Argentina, Sweden or Pakistan. A recently published paper in the journal Nature Communications warned that, if left unchecked, cryptomining in China could undercut the nation’s climate goals.”
Austrian architect and artist, Chris Precht, was set to release a whole host of NFTs, which would have been extremely well received by his large following, but as he explains in an IGTV linked below, he took the agonising decision not to sell his pieces due to the environmental impact of doing so.
I want to be clear that to a large extent you can’t directly blame artists. Firstly because marketplaces that facilitate everything make it very easy to sell NFTs but don’t at all disclose the eco-cost of doing so. Secondly, there is a valid argument that the mining of blockchains such as Etheruem would continue regardless and that NFTs (being the new hyped face of blockchain potential) take the blame. And thirdly, there is a cost to doing anything in life, even in the physical world, hosting an exhibition etc.
It’s also a tough thing to try and deter small independent artists when for the first time it’s the ‘little guy’ that can do really well in the digital art space. How do you tell people who could become millionaires overnight not to upload their work?
However, the ease by which in just a few weeks an artist can use such a crazy amount of energy is more than notable, especially when they choose to release multiple editions of the same piece, multiplying their impact exponentially as those, in turn, are sold on again and again, with each new transaction using ‘gas’ to be added to the chain.
There are a growing number of resources available to raise awareness of the issues and to track the impact - including carbon.fyi where you can simply enter someone’s public Ether address to see their transaction count and therefore estimate their environmental impact.
In fact, a few weeks ago while explaining a little about NFTs, I mentioned an Irish artist who I was impressed by… and well… their Ether address is responsible for about 19,641 kgs of CO2 emissions, which in a short period of time is pretty insane,
I’m not implying anything about them or their art, but rather putting it into context and pointing out that it is something digital artists really need to be conscious of when using and profiting massively from the sale of NFTs.
Thankfully though, many of the top artists are investing in renewable energy and conservation projects to try and offset their impact, even if that is a band-aid of a solution.
I liked this quote from The Verge.
“Figuring out the culpability of NFTs is a little like calculating your share of emissions from a commercial plane flight, according to Joseph Pallant, founder of the nonprofit Blockchain for Climate Foundation. If you’re on the plane, you’re obviously responsible for a portion of its emissions. But if you hadn’t bought the ticket, the plane probably would have taken off with other passengers and polluted the same amount anyway.
Individual behavior becomes a bigger problem, though, when it drives trends. If enough people decide to start flying who weren’t planning to before, an airline might decide to operate more flights — which means more emissions overall.”
(read more - The Verge)
There are things in motion to remedy this situation and more sustainable routes are emerging. For example, Ethereum’s developers have planned a shift to a ‘proof-of-stake’ method which is a much less energy-intensive form of security, although people have been waiting years for this and there is no clear deadline.
Many miners also use the environment to their advantage, setting up in Arctic climates and underground to save spending vast amounts of energy on cooling computers, and this not only saves them money but also has a lower environmental impact, win-win. Similarly powering mining centres using renewable energy sources.
Finally, on a completely different note, another knock-on effect of the uptake in crypto (and thus increased demand for mining) is a huge demand for GPUs (Graphics Processing Units) which has led to both the prices going up and dwindling stock levels around the world - all incredibly frustrating for gamers and creative professionals who’d like to put those consumer made tools to better use.
Ian, @killarneyman, made a little website, willyoushiftmyfriend.com where you can relive getting rejected in a nightclub, just hit the button.
Most board games have one winner and multiple losers. Jenga has one loser and multiple winners.
That’s all 🤙🏽
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