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Last we wrote about NFTs and their effects on the environment, we found that there were Malaysian artists who would refuse to create NFTs because of it.

Artists on the other end of the spectrum, however, were supporting NFTs despite their environmental impact, because the potential pros of the developing technology outweighed the current cons, in their opinions.

This time, we got some perspectives from industry players themselves on what they thought about the future of NFTs, crypto, blockchain, and Web3 as a whole. They are:

Moving past the conversation

In the early stages of the crypto industry, environmental concerns were at the forefront of everyone’s minds.

“Mainstream news proliferated with massive crypto mining farms sucking up energy, depleting GPU supplies, and more,” observed Dwayne. 

Image Credit: League of Ancients

As the nascent Web3 space continues to evolve, this is a problem that’s already been identified early on and is currently being addressed.

Proof-of-stake models, amongst other new blockchain technologies, no longer rely on energy-intensive processes. They instead involve validators utilising their digital coins or tokens as collateral to secure the network.

It’s unlike proof-of-work—which was the norm at the start—where miners use equipment and electricity to participate and create a new block in the blockchain. You can learn more about proof-of-stake in our explainer article.

“You need to understand that with every new form of technology, when they are first launched a lot of them went through a lot of improvements at the start,” said Irsyad. 

He likened this point to the development of car engines.

“It was not efficient, but over time we start to see hybrid cars, energy-efficient ones that use less oil, and less carbon. So this is happening in all of the crypto spaces,” he affirmed.

Globally, Irsyad noted that all players are looking into various ways to improve the blockchain frameworks as well. Big-time blockchains like BNB and Tezos, are already using proof-of-stake models, while Ethereum and more are in the process of shifting.

The better of two evils

One of the bigger arguments in the space involves how Web3 developments collectively could save more energy as a whole, when compared to how things are being done today. 

Irsyad directed the attention toward cryptocurrency’s core purpose. 

“The reason why people use Bitcoins is that it’s an international monetary network. What is equivalent to that?” Irsyad probed.

“International banking. How much energy is used in banking compared to how much is used for Bitcoin itself?”

At the end of the day, Irsyad stated that through innovation, we’ll come to realise that the energy used by Bitcoin’s network is far less than the energy used for the overall international banking sector. The same can be said for NFTs.

Image Credit: Meta Universe

Khalid echoed this point, justifying that the positive outcomes NFTs can produce outweigh their negative impact on the environment. 

“Furthermore, NFTs have evolved to be energy efficient as they are increasingly transacted on ‘Layer 2’ platforms and other blockchains with low energy consumption,” added Khalid.

Briefly, Layer 2 platforms are solutions that help improve transactional efficiency by processing and compressing blockchain transactions together before submitting them to the main chain. This allows more to be processed in a shorter amount of time. 

Practising what they preach

We asked all our interviewees this: Do you feel that your service is enabling NFTs’ negative environmental impacts?

More than receiving a resounding “No” from Irsyad, Dwayne, and Khalid, the developers in the space also explained their company strategies to make their presence in Web3 more eco-friendly.

Pentas.io and League of Ancients utilise the BNB chain, which is a secure, mature, and widely-adopted blockchain that operates using the eco-friendly proof-of-stake method.

Irsyad elaborated that his team is looking into adopting a faster, more secure, and more efficient network to improve Pentas.io.

Image Credit: Meta Universe

As Meta Universe’s main operations find ways to help brick-and-mortar services adopt Web3 solutions, Khalid shared how this in turn translates into more environmentally-friendly solutions via NFTs.

The utility of NFTs can contribute positively to the environment, and remove the need for physical assets (e.g. membership cards and printed vouchers).

In turn, this reduces the use of plastic and other raw materials, which saves trees and physical storage space, preventing habitat encroachment in the long run.

“We also allow our users and buyers to trade and transact in both digital and fiat currency as the latter helps eliminate concerns relating to energy consumption,” he elaborated.

Web3 is inevitable

For our past few consolidated opinion pieces on NFTs, we had asked our interviewees whether they believed that NFTs are the way forward for society, and we did the same here.

Yes, was the unanimous answer we received from the experts, artists who support NFTs, and even some who are against them, as per our previous interviews.

NFTs, at the end of the day, are smart contracts with massive utility value and transparency. They can be used to replace traditional, printed contracts such as mortgage and loan documents, sales and purchase agreements, certificates, and other legal documents.

In fact, local businesses have already adopted NFTs’ utility value, from a voting mechanism at Miss Universe Malaysia, to property investments.

Take it from Irsyad, who succinctly imagines that NFTs will be so integrated into our lives one day, just like the interwebs.

We’re going beyond NFTs for art now and maybe one day, people will not even call it NFT. Like WWW and HTTPS. We don’t even call it what it is, we type in URLs without WWW. So i believe NFTs will be that way in the future.

Irsyad Saidin, founder and CEO of Pentas.io
  • Read more NFT content here.

Featured Image Credit: Irsyad Saidin, founder and CEO of Pentas.io / Dwayne Ong, founder and Project Lead of League of Ancients / Khalid Gibran, founder and CEO of Meta Universe

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