CO2ign Perspective on NFTs

CO2ign Art person thinking

Is this NFTs?

No. CO2ign Art is not an NFT marketplace. CO2ign Art doesn’t use tokens, blockchain, or cryptocurrency, and you cannot resell it.

When we came up with CO2ign Art, we saw a good idea behind NFTs: a new way to support digital artists. However, NFTs aren’t the only way to do that, and NFTs have some big drawbacks: rampant art theft, fragile links to the actual art, and huge energy costs.

Two people discussing digital artwork and art marketplace

What are the problems with NFTs?

In an ideal NFT scenario, an artist creates a work of art and mints an NFT. Once the NFT is minted, each sale is tracked as a transaction on a blockchain. Via smart contracts, the minter can receive royalties on each successive sale of the NFT. However, problems can occur at each stage of this process.

NFT marketplaces do not verify that the image for sale has been minted by the artist that created it. Art theft has already been a huge issue with NFT marketplaces.

The image could be removed or changed, or the image host could go down entirely, leaving the NFT with a “dead link” and the buyer with nothing. The person who purchases the NFT is never in possession of the art itself; they possess a link to the image’s location. The image itself will continue to live on whatever image host the minter has used.

There’s a negative environmental impact. Recording a blockchain transaction requires cryptographic validation, which takes a lot of processing, and therefore a lot of energy, especially in proof-of-work systems. A transaction on the Etherium blockchain can use as much energy as a US household in an entire week.

CO2ign person shrugging emote

Are there benefits to NFTs?

The benefits of NFTs are unique, verifiable ownership and ongoing royalties for artists. And some of the problems with NFTs can be solved; with artist verification, reliable decentralized image storage, and a transition to proof-of-stake systems using clean energy, NFTs could be significantly less bad than they currently are. Even then, NFTs are complicated, expensive and unintuitive.

For some uses, the potential benefits of NFTs may be worth the downsides. But for most artists, who aren’t selling the digital equivalent of a Picasso or a rare Pokemon card, their work isn’t resold repeatedly for thousands or millions of dollars to receive ongoing royalties – or even resold at all.

CO2ign Art two people holding hands

How is CO2ign Art different?

Just because a piece of art may not be resold for millions of dollars doesn’t mean it isn’t valuable at all. People buy physical art even if it isn’t from a famous artist or tradeable card game, and most of the time they don’t expect to resell it. People who love digital art (we’re some of them) are just as eager to support digital artists by “owning” work they like.

CO2ign Art is a simple way to own a personalized digital image that avoids all the problems of NFTs.

CO2ign Art prioritizes verifying artists to prevent art theft. Anyone found to be selling art they did not create will be removed from the platform or, ideally, never welcomed onto it in the first place. Artists are screened before they can sell – among other things, they must link their CO2ign Art account to their Twitter or Instagram.

CO2ign Art gives buyers an actual image file. Rather than relying on a token to represent the art, buyers receive an image file with a digital signature made out to them. Any change in image availability from the artist or CO2ign won’t lose the buyer access to their purchase.

No blockchain = no unnecessary energy use. CO2ign Art is a one-time sale, representing an individual contribution to an artist and the environment. That means there’s no need to track ownership on a blockchain at all. Creating a CO2igned image requires no more energy than loading a webpage.

And CO2ign Art does better than not actively hurting the environment: half of the purchase price goes to CO2 reduction. While the only unique part of an NFT is the token, every CO2igned copy represents a distinct contribution to fighting climate change.