The Future of NFTs Is Sustainable and Inclusive
How NFT 2.0 Can Be Accessible To Wider Audiences With Turnkey Solutions and Remain Planet-Friendly
What if we told you that the energy used to mint an NFT can be equivalent to running just a single Google search?
It’s true — though, you may be thinking, “That’s not what I heard!” You would be correct about the NFT environmental impact — if we were talking about yesterday’s NFTs. But crypto technology has made leaps and bounds in a small amount of time, and what we dub NFT 2.0 includes safer, more energy-friendly practices.
NFT 2.0 also opens the door for more people to participate with the technology. NFTs are more inclusive now than ever before — and rocket science-level knowledge in blockchain and token technology is no longer required to engage in NFT marketing.
Consider the above two barriers to entry — NFT sustainability and inclusivity — much less burdensome than before. Read on to learn how it’s possible to engage with NFT advertising that’s eco-friendly and open to large groups of people.
A Refresher on “NFT 2.0”
NFT 1.0, which is slowly but surely evolving, is what you’re likely familiar with: Anonymous creator projects with 10,000 generated cartoon animals and no long-term support model, or a pure collectible play based on a strong IP and cultural desirability. Or, maybe it’s a gimmicky NFT marketing promotion where only a few lucky or wealthy consumers get an ultra-exclusive drop from a major brand or artist.
NFT 2.0 uses NFTs in tokenized experiences to grant access, confirm ownership, provide rewards, build communities, and provide utility for brands to engage with them. The next stage of blockchain tech puts NFTs in more people’s hands as a way to unlock digital and IRL experiences.
State Farm took a step in this direction with a Football Treasure Hunt, where consumers engaged in an AR treasure hunt to find NFT footballs ahead of a Packers-Chiefs game. Another recent example is fundraising platform Fandiem’s use of NFTs as a way to unlock VIP music experiences in exchange for charitable donations. Both brands used NFTs in contexts that brought more value to consumers instead of a simple high-ticket item.
What Do Sustainability and Inclusivity Have To Do With NFTs, Anyway?
Major kudos for asking this question! Because the answer is: Quite a bit. One of the significant challenges to widescale blockchain adoption is the sheer amount of energy required. A typical Bitcoin transaction uses energy equivalent to an average U.S. household’s consumption for 71.96 days. The number reduces to a smaller — but still significant — 8.67 days for Ethereum, the second-largest blockchain. So, when we talk about NFTs, which run on blockchains that use energy, we also need to talk about NFT sustainability.
Inclusivity has also been a challenge for cryptocurrency adoption. Let’s face it — on the surface, crypto sounds complex and mainly built for people with spending power. Fortunately, these perceptions are shifting. In a 2021 survey from the Pew Research Center, 16% of U.S. adults have reported investing, trading, or using crypto, compared to only 1% in 2015. The numbers vary by demographic, but numbers are increasing and trickling down to NFTs as well. When crypto and NFTs are more accessible to wider audiences, we all win — particularly brands who want a way to build deeper digital audiences.
How It’s Possible: Low Environmental Impact NFTs
The Bitcoin and Ethereum energy consumption examples mentioned above have a major technological framework in common: proof-of-work (PoW) validation. Validation is a core piece of blockchain operations and a basic tenet on which it runs. In order to function, transactions are “validated” via miners to pass successfully. PoW work validation relies on miners worldwide to compete to validate a single transaction, leading to massive collective energy spent by mining rigs.
Enter proof-of-stake (PoS) validation — a much more efficient way of validating transactions. (You can read our detailed post on validation frameworks here.) PoS uses a system that randomly selects miners to validate via consensus rather than a competitive scheme.
Blockchains with PoS use significantly less energy. That’s why we recommend using the Polygon and Flow blockchain at Mint. We mint NFTs without using enough energy to power your home for a month — that’s a win! Brands needn’t hold off their plans worrying about the environmental impact of NFTs. Leveraging sustainable technology is possible and just one of the many ways you can reduce your risk when entering the space.
How It’s Possible: Enabling NFTs for Wider Audiences
Inclusive usage in NFTs is a prism with various perspectives based on where you sit. There is the ease of entry for brands as well as consumers. Historically, NFT 1.0 made entry difficult for both parties. Consumers needed substantial cash to purchase an NFT, and brands needed an infrastructure. Both required intricate knowledge of how it all works.
That’s all changed thanks to the diversity of NFTs now released and available turnkey solutions for brands to offer tokenized experiences. Platforms like Mint now provide solutions that make NFT’ing so much easier — including bespoke branded ecommerce platforms via Shopify or an NFT secondary market where consumers can resell. Today’s NFTs can be purchased via a card: No complex crypto-to-crypto trades or interactions with exchanges. Or not even purchased at all. Tokens can be earned or given for free as a reward for participation, engagement, or attendance.
Concurrently, NFTs now offer more long-term connections and affordable value for consumers. Their function has evolved as a part of a larger marketing plan. There are many effective ways to utilize them, including as points of access similar to Fandiem’s case. You can also include them as supplements to physical purchases to stay engaged with the audience post-purchase. The power is in your hands to create the right formula that utilizes the best NFTs have to offer.
Tokenization technology has largely evolved from the version which required deep industry insight and even deeper pockets. More and more companies are using the blockchain to explore decentralization and digital transformation. NFTs are a powerful tool in the hands of adept marketers who understand the benefits of an engaged digital community.