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Auction of Sustainable Blockchain-Powered Art Funds Key Climate Projects

  • NEAR Foundation, South Pole and Mintbase announce “Green NFT” auction to empower creatives with a climate-friendly focus

In a trailblazing effort to bring environmental sustainability to the cryptocurrency industry, a group of up-and-coming creators beginning this June will be auctioning more than 30 exquisite pieces of NFT-based digital art to fund climate initiatives. The Green NFT collaboration — spearheaded by NEAR Foundation, South Pole and Mintbase underscores a novel pathway for people around the world not only to monetize their creativity with the power of blockchain but also do so in a way that is less energy-intensive than current industry standards.

The digital artists participating in the auction have contributed works to be auctioned on Mintbase, South Pole’s virtual store, that enables people to bid on and purchase digital art. Half of the auction proceeds will go to certified emission reduction projects in Zimbabwe and across Southeast Asia that protect some of the world’s most precious rainforests, create new biodiverse ecosystems, spark new, sustainable livelihoods, and build towards a socially just low-carbon future. The remaining half of the proceeds will directly benefit the participating artists.

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“By linking NFT art and the proceeds to real projects with certified climate benefits, we are creating a force that empowers many – from the artists, all the way to communities vulnerable to the climate crisis,“ says Marco Hirsbrunner, Chief Operating Officer at South Pole. “This is one piece in our journey to decarbonize the overall IT sector and turn valuable tech like blockchain into a climate solution, rather than a climate problem. With this project, we hope to show users why and how their digital activities affect the planet and what they can do to address this.”

The themes of the soon-to-be-auctioned digital art will feature artwork from Riccardo Torresi, among others, and will be available to the highest bidders starting Tuesday, June 8th. The auction will run until June 25th, 2021.

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The large amount of energy consumed by blockchain protocols has become a source of intensifying public debate amidst the growth of both cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum and non-fungible tokens, or NFTs. The forthcoming auction is a concerted, cross-industry response to this issue that funds projects aimed at stemming climate change while itself running on the NEAR Foundation’s climate-neutral blockchain. The NEAR Protocol is a highly energy-efficient blockchain that utilizes a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism, as opposed to the more energy-intensive proof-of-work model used by other blockchains. The net result is a substantial decrease in the power used for creating NFTs, making digital events like art auctions carbon neutral.

The NEAR Foundation has been working together with South Pole to measure and offset its carbon footprint, and South Pole recently awarded the NEAR protocol its climate-neutral product label. NEAR purchased carbon offsets from South Pole’s certified climate action projects to compensate for all direct and indirect emissions associated with the blockchain.

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“This Green NFT project is an example of how we can connect creativity and technology in a sustainable way, while also producing measurable positive impacts with each NFT sale and resale. It displays how the NEAR Protocol provides the technology that can support the solution of our planet’s global warming challenge,” says Yessin Schiegg, Chief Financial Officer at NEAR Foundation. “We hope that this opens the door for many more sustainable projects to adopt the digital infrastructure and help them to achieve a greater good for the planet in the NEAR future.”

Mintbase’s chief operating officer, Carolin Wend, expressed excitement over the use of her company’s platform for playing an integral role in a project that is poised to have a significant impact infusing sustainability with digital art on the blockchain. “We’ve been thrilled to engage artists around the purpose-driven Green NFT project,” she said. “This fits with the ethos of Mintbase, creating a store and minting NFTs on Mintbase is not only affordable, fast, and scalable but as it’s built on NEAR, it’s also climate-friendly. Artist collaborations have also become much easier, Mintbase allows collaborators to easily split the revenue and royalties of a piece of art.”

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