The Unreasonable Ecological Cost of #CryptoArt

For me, this was emails. I got fond memories of email replies I got ~20 years ago from tiny people like Brad Sucks and from less than tiny ones like Chumbawamba. I downloaded some stuff and I got some CDs (which I don’t have anymore)… but all of the emotional meaning for me associated with these objects, back then and today, is in the fact that the people whose music and words I was enjoying took a few minutes to reply to me.

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Yes exactly! It was the fact that you received that email from an ‘issuer’ you trusted, and that’s a event of emotional and social value in return for the decent price you paid for the work and the appreciation you showed. …

Maybe you chose to share that treasure with others, adding your narrative of what it means to you… That’s how powerful movements can form and how ideas can shape, in a commons of expression.

Nowadays we have many, more useable crypto tools (not just blockchains or NFTs) to protect and make your treasured event proveable and secure, with selective disclosure of only the parts you wish to share.

It’s between the issuer (the artist) and you the holder (recipient of the treasured communication or personalised media) … and a verifier (any other third party you want to prove it or share it with). That tech is called ‘verifiable credentials’ and you don’t necessarily need a blockchain at all… especially one that costs the earth to do it… or, in some cases, irrevocably place personal info on them.

That’s why we are using the VC web standard, open source, to do our Community Credentials project, not a proprietary blockchain.

Now, if we wanted to create an internal marketplace for art or music or information objects so we could sell and trade those precious trusted moments in exchange for money, a blockchain based market and wallet system is indeed great for those who can access it and play in that economic system.

But do we really want to do that?

That economic system is about capital speculation and accumulation, where generally people with money, buy stuff to sell in order to get more money. I think there’s quite enough of that sort of system in the world, and plenty of markets already, many of them scams, where art is tokenized and monetised, made scarce and put in a marketplace for display in collectors private gardens.

I think we need to focus on our core mission of providing a decent reward to artists for their work and contributions. Proofs of authenticity (protecting artists from rip offs and impersonation) and of purchase (digital receipt of decent reward) can all be part of that.

It’s about human rights and the commons, rather than property rights.

Nathan Schneider puts it very nicely…

."…many of the visions for this emerging technology take us straight down the road of dystopia, where everything is for sale and nothing is shared."


I’d like to thank everyone for sharing thoughts on this.

Also been thinking along similar lines a lot lately. There is so much potential to create a system that values things other than speculation, trends, a small number of artists making the largest amount of the $$$ pie, all things that are already well available in the existing systems.

Literally anything we dream up could be created in software (blockchain or not), but what happened? The speculative IRL art world was simply emulated in the digital space.

Sometimes the lack of imagination is just astounding to me.

I think it’s important to start from first principles and think about what we really want in the digital space, instead of just trying to copy what exists in the real world. After all, its a big opportunity to start from scratch.

I felt very similar about the rise of streaming music in 2020 during lock-down. There were so many attempts to emulate real life in VR or what have you, when this is really an opportunity to do things in a different way, maybe even do things that you can’t do in real life, instead of trying to imitate the real life experience.


Had to save this. Pure inspiration for me @LLK.


I find this article of public necessity so I’m sharing it here.


Thanks @LLK : “Everything about this is run-of-the-mill, banal, predictable capitalism.” :wink:


Lot of good work there.

Would like to see a more thorough consideration of hicetnunc2000 / FAQ.

The argument offered was a link to a three year-old article behind a paywall. WikiPedia gives some insight to the governance issues Tezos was facing 2018-20. (The article cited was written by one of the claimants in legal dispute over administration of the project.)

My understanding of Tezos’s Liquid Proof-of-Stake suggests different economics (much lower entry) than Ethereum’s staking.

Full disclosure: some friends are doing ok making friends and having fun selling art on hicetnunc2000. To be sure, they are hustling to make up for lost touring income, they have great facility with visual art and they are not imagining any great structural transformation in the economy resulting from their practice.

So far as I can see, any such claims [of transformation… edit] have no evidence to support them.


I’d argue the problem with Hic et Nunc is that so much about their design is trying to fight AGAINST the very principles of NFT (ie. To make it ethical!) it doesn’t even makes sense anymore in my view why they use NFT at all. It’s just a glorified instagram feed with a “buy” button, in which case, why use cryptocurrency / blockchain tech at all? I think the reason she doesn’t focus too much on hicetnunc is the case she makes stands for all platform regardless of which blockchain tech they use.

I too have quite few people I know making marginal amounts of money from these platforms but 1/ this is the big hype cycle moment and they’ve only made max 200€ to 1k (in most cases without taking fees into account), which isn’t very exciting about the future. 2/ most of the other people I know made nothing and spent a lot of money on Gas fee and are now sitting on NFTs nobody want to buy and are already considering selling them all at a loss.

To say nothing of non “visual art fluent” people, the cases mentionned above are stritcly people working in tech and graphic art. We’ve argued a bunch.

Again, nothing about the rare good things NFT brought require blockchain or scarcity, real money would actually be WAY easier to use and would allow for way more variations on the idea of selling digital art. Which in effect means nothing good about NFT comes from what NFT is, it just comes from what investers believed it to be for a few short weeks where some lucky few benefited. It could never scale, it could never be a long term solution, and it could never be democratic and fair.

Edit: about the “making friends and selling art”, do we really believe this has anything to do with NFT as a tech/concept? The only thing I see possibly uniting people is the prospect of making money when times are so hard, which then in old capitalist fashion means we’re exploiting people’s despair and weaponizing it to make a case for a concept that has nothing to do with them (in this case Cryptocurrency) and then claiming this concept fosters/creates community when in fact it’s just aspiring it and harnessing its power to benefit a few people.

If some other thing/tech/platform that has nothing to do with NFT comes along and says “here artists get rich!” abd medias are gulible enough to repeat that claim with little to no proof and a few heartwarming stories, you’ll see a community build on that too no matter what it is, and you’ll hear of a few people benefiting from it no matter what it is.

It happened with Myspace, it happened with Tumblr etc. And in a sense I think myspace was much more revolutionnary and fostering community than NFT currently are.

Edit 2: more specifically about hicetnunc, if ethics is their goal it wouldn’t hurt if as an answer to the article and a proof of their good faith, they’d just release all the raw numbers and made their API open for other people to check them easily. I for one would welcome good datasets shared by the people who claim to be all about artists first.


Started a thread here to explore whether we could use our soon-to-be-released Community Credentials tech to create something similar to NFTs.

Idea is to have a debate about whether we could or should, then look more at details if desired: INTRODUCTION - could/should Resonate sell NFTs?

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Been a while since there was activity on this topic, but wanted to add this to the thread. Great piece about an NFT market based out of Brazil. THIS is the kind of community we’re aligned with…

“We are responsible for using technology according to our political visions,” Flores explains. “You don’t stumble into this sort of community feeling; it has to be actively shaped in a micropolitical way.”

More writing on web3 including NFT’s… pragmatism from Moxie and a report on his experience of marketplaces: "The people at the end of the line who are flipping NFTs do not fundamentally care about distributed trust models or payment mechanics, but they care about where the money is. "

Nice observations at the end: use “cryptography (rather than infrastructure) to distribute trust” and try not to make it harder to make and manage software by distributing it when you don’t need to.