Digital Art Fair's emphasis on environmental conservation and supports the restoration of coral ecosystems through art
As the first-ever large-scale digital art fair in Asia, Digital Art Fair understands that while promoting the development of digital art, we should not neglect the impact of technological development on the environment.
In the past year, Digital Art Fair has been dedicating itself to fulfilling corporate social responsibility by supporting and donating to projects that focus on environmental and social improvements. In specific, other than donating to the Indra and Harry Banga Gallery of the City University of Hong Kong, Digital Art Fair also donated part of its profit to Global Coralition for environmental conservation. Global Coralition aims to accelerate reef restoration through art, science, and collaboration. Digital Art Fair hopes to support Global Coralition’s actions on building large-scale underwater art sculptures and underwater coral museums, raise public awareness of environmental protection through artistic projects, and maintain the balance of marine ecology.
Figure 1. Global Coralition's coral conservation art project in Thailand
Digital Art Fair believes that NFT trading will move towards the goal of carbon neutrality, and technology will lay the foundation for the sustainable development of NFT
The development of NFTs and digital art is an indispensable part of future digital transformation, however, the high carbon emission of NFTs and digital art raises concerns for its sustainable future. Digital Art Fair believes that in order to achieve digital transformation sustainably, we must commit to working towards carbon neutrality, preventing overexploitation and depletion of resources. In the short term, technological development might not be sustainable, however, in the long term, technology will play a very important role in tackling climate change, which includes facilitating improvements in industries that have high carbon emissions, e.g. electricity generation, manufacturing, transportation, and construction, effectively improving the efficiency of energy and resource use would result in lower carbon emission. Digital Art Fair will also continue to strive to find the best solution between business development and environmental protection.
A sustainable future for NFTs
Currently, NFTs have high energy consumption due to the fact that most NFT transactions are built on the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain. Blockchains like Ethereum and Bitcoin use an operation mechanism called Proof-of-Work (POW), which can effectively verify data integrity. The Smart Contract built on this blockchain can record information such as artist identity, creation time of the art piece, since these data are being stored on decentralised nodes, it can effectively prevent data from being tampered or deleted, hence protecting the uniqueness and security of artworks. Each node can be understood as a miner, and when this system authenticates each transaction, miners need to constantly solve cryptographic problems in a competitive manner. The mining machines used by miners to verify consume a lot of electricity, and each NFT transaction involves multiple encryption verification procedures, resulting in a large amount of carbon emissions.
In order to reduce the impact of NFT transactions on the environment, Ethereum also proposed the ETH 2.0 solution, which is a more environmentally friendly Proof-of-Stake upgrade for the current Ethereum ecosystem and reduces the carbon emissions of NFTs. The goal of Ethereum is to reduce the carbon emissions and ecological impact of the entire Ethereum blockchain by as much as 99.98%.
Contribution of NFTs in the field of sustainable development
In the long run, the development of digital art, the application of blockchain, and the extensive use of computers will inevitably consume a lot of energy. Therefore, we should strengthen the development of renewable energy and digital applications. Digitisation can have an enabling effect on economic and social activities, thereby reducing unnecessary activities, optimising and dematerialising industrial activities, thereby effectively reducing environmental damage.
Since NFTs mainly use local electricity, the degree of carbon emissions depends on the composition of local power generation. Therefore, we hope that more countries will invest in energy reform and switch to using green electricity such as solar energy, wind power, and hydropower. If the region intends to vigorously promote digital development, it will also need to strengthen the research, development and application of renewable energy.
NFTs also contribute to the field of sustainable development in different ways. Recently, a Brazilian climate company offered to sell blockchain environmental solutions, including the sale of carbon credits to companies with high carbon emissions, providing a new method for the operation of green industry. The company bought Amazon rainforest land, subdivided it into hectares, and sold them as NFTs. The company will create a 30-year conservation fund for NFT buyers, using 20% of the proceeds to cover the cost of protecting the rainforest ecosystem, including using patrols, satellite imagery and protecting the area.
NFT reliant carbon tracking industry is now gradually developing and maturing. NFT has the property of being traceable on the blockchain and therefore can be used to track the purchase and consumption of carbon emission credits, identify the identity of carbon indicators and record the transactions. For example, China's State Grid Qinghai Electric Power Company uses blockchain to tag and dynamically track key information. It is believed that in the future, there will be more feasible solutions to use NFT to achieve the principle of protecting the environment.
The development of NFT, digital art and metaverse is unstoppable. Market participants will determine the future development of the digital market. Therefore, the market will need to take up responsibilities in protecting the environment and tackling social issues. Digital Art Fair will work on setting a high standard for the industry, taking the lead in contributing to environmental protection, hoping to bring along more market participants to take actions.