Carbon Footprint of a Single Ethereum NFT Transaction (vs Other NFTs, Crypto)

Woman confused looks at the carbon footprint of a single ethereum nft transaction and wonders what is the carbon footprint of bitcoin?

As an eco-conscious person, knowing the carbon footprint of a single Ethereum NFT transaction and how other cryptos and NFTs impact the environment can help you make decisions when investing in crypto currency.

Like all virtual transactions, there’s a eco-cost to the planet for every transaction.

Since energy is required, understanding how a carbon footprint of a single Ethereum NFT transaction is measured and knowing how to erase the emissions can help you reduce the impact digital currencies are having on the planet.

Understanding NFTs: What Are NFTs?

Unlike paper currency, which creates a carbon footprint once during production and has a small waste emissions amount, NFTs are maintained electronically impacting the carbon footprint of the internet.

NFTs (Non-fungible tokens) are unique currencies that don’t trade for other things, compared to standard money systems or cryptos.7 Most of them are from Ethereum (2nd largest cryptocurrency) or a system that stores data that is impossible to alter.

NFTs take any form and can sell for thousands or millions, ranging from images to artwork. While others view them as investments or art collections, some buy them as status symbols.

Ethereum Carbon Footprint: What Is the Carbon Footprint of a Single Ethereum NFT Transaction?

According to various media and organization reports, NFTs negatively impact the environment because of the energy required to maintain them, and the concerns are legitimate.

Bar graph comparison of energy consumptions of Ethereum and VISA transactions.

Transacting once on the Ethereum blockchain consumes 238 kWh of energy, which is more than how much it takes to make 100,000 visa transactions (149 kWh).8,4

Related Reading: Moss Carbon Credit Analysis (Price Prediction for 2022 and 2023)

NFT Carbon Footprint Calculator: How It Works

Carbon ecological footprint calculators help users know how much impact their actions have on the environment. Before energy-efficient methods are incorporated into NFT production, anyone in the cryptocurrency trade should know how much they are using.

Various footprint calculators are simple and detailed to help you check your carbon emissions.

You only have to enter specific data, and the software automatically discloses your footprint; some websites also have offset suggestions.

How Does NFT Calculator Help Estimate the Carbon Footprint of a Single Ethereum NFT Transaction?

NFT carbon footprint calculators work in three main versions, energy, carbon, and climate footprints.

The energy footprint mode helps determine the power you need to create a cryptocurrency worth $1.

In contrast, the carbon footprint mode tells you the total emissions from crypto according to various regions, and finally, the climate footprint version estimates the climatic effect in USD.

Heaviest Blockchain Carbon Footprint Emitters

It can be challenging to determine the actual carbon footprint of every NFT because several factors come to play in each production stage, and there’s little research done on the subject.

However, the fact is that Ethereum is among the highest carbon-emitting NFTs.

Any image obtained from it will have a massive carbon footprint.

Sadly, many digital images are from the blockchain that uses the PoW (Proof-of-Work) system, accounting for a whopping 31 TWh of energy consumption annually.

Why NFTs Are Bad for the Environment: How Do NFTs Impact the Environment?

Individual NFTs do not affect the environment; their impact comes from their production.

Creating them needs a lot of energy, and you can tell from the carbon footprint of a single Ethereum NFT transaction when it converts to proof-of-stake.

Proof-of-work versions, unlike PoS, are power-hungry, especially when they take up energy from non-renewable sources.9

Therefore, their minting process is mostly to blame for the dire environmental consequences.

NFT Energy Consumption: How Much Energy Do NFTs Take Up?

The exact estimate of how much energy NFTs use can be tasking to determine because it varies based on the particular blockchain and type of cryptocurrency.

You must also factor in other aspects, like the energy used in designing and coding.

Roughly, the processes involved, from the minting to the final sale of the NFT, require around 340 kWh, equivalent to more than what a regular household uses in a month.

However, this figure doesn’t include the creative processes or other related transactions. A regular NFT transaction can consume up to 48.14 kWh, roughly the same as the energy a house runs on in a day.

NFT Energy Consumption Comparison: Putting NFT Energy Consumption in Perspective

Putting NFT energy in perspective gives you a clear picture of what it means for the environment.

For instance, given that the estimated power to run a single NFT transaction is close to 50 kWh, it is the same energy it takes to run a typical household for one day.

On the other hand, the minting process that consumes 142 kWh is around the same power it takes to run a refrigerator for one month. It is nothing compared to the energy needed to operate the process, which is 340 kWh, making NFT quite a heavy carbon emitter.

Ethereum Energy Consumption Chart: How Much Energy Does Ethereum Consume?

Ethereum’s use features one of the highest carbon footprints out of other NFTs, and the chart below is a clear indication.10

Line graph representation of Ethereum energy consumption from May 2017 to November 2022.

From May 2017 to November 2022, the energy consumption of Ethereum usually follows an upward trend with a few low points.

The trend, as shown in the graph, translates to a very high carbon footprint produced.

NFT Carbon Offset Methods

Although minting and generally producing NFTs can be energy-intensive, there are remedies that creators can deploy to reduce the carbon footprint of a single Ethereum NFT transaction.1

Using Renewable Energy

If you use proof-of-work blockchains, you can turn to renewable power to run your machines, reducing excessive carbon emissions.

Investing in Renewable Energy

Since some NFTs can yield incredible prices on the market, it is easy for you, as an investor, to allocate a portion of the proceeds to fund renewable energy. This option is a long-term remedy to help with climate change caused by their production.

Investing in Technologies and Offsets

The proceeds from NFTs can also go to experimental technology firms that help reverse global warming.

For instance, companies dealing in carbon capture tech can get a massive boost from the blockchain industries.

Related Reading: Carbon Capture Technology Stocks vs Carbon Offset Stocks (Stats)

In addition, tree planting carbon offsets can be used to erase the emissions generated by NFT and Ethereum transactions. You can also get earth friendly web usage carbon offset to erase some of the emissions.

Carbon NFT Footprint and Emissions Explained

It can be tedious to explain how NFTs consume energy, but the following is a detailed breakdown of carbon emissions for each stage.

  • Minting: This step involves the incorporation of the art into the system, and it consumes around 142 kWh (83 kg of carbon).
  • Bidding: Fans log onto the NFT site simultaneously to bid, which can be a heavy internet activity that leads to the consumption of about 41 kWh or 24 kg of carbon emissions.
  • Cancellations: This step requires about 12 kWh or 7 kg of carbon.
  • Selling: Unlike digital art, selling NFTs involves multiple encryptions and calculations, taking up another 87 kWh or 51 kilograms of carbon.
  • NFT transfer: The ownership transfers after the purchase process can consume an extra 52 kWh (30 kilograms of carbon).

How To Measure Carbon Footprint of a Company Dealing in Cryptocurrency

The energy consumption rate is the most significant contributor to the carbon footprint of a single Ethereum NFT transaction.11

If a company accepts bitcoin or other forms of cryptocurrency, it helps to know how much energy you need for transactions.

It has to factor in all aspects involved, whether holding or transacting, to the level of all related activities and their impact on the environment.

Generally, companies should also consider the effect of minting more coins on the planet.

How Ethereum Carbon Footprint Calculator Measures the Carbon Footprint of a Single Ethereum NFT Transaction

Generally, discussing the environmental impact of blockchains is not as effective as narrowing it down to the numbers.

Thanks to cryptocurrency carbon footprint calculators, you can see how much impact your activities have on the environment.

The calculators operate on three main modes; energy, carbon, and climate footprints. First, the energy footprint tells you how much power you need to generate $1 through cryptocurrency.

Most estimate that the energy to gain 1 USD in bitcoin is equivalent to the energy used in a typical home for about 4 hours. On the contrary, the carbon footprint mode tells you the emissions from a cryptocurrency based on regions, while the climate footprint version helps you estimate the climate effect in USD.

How Does Bitcoin Carbon Footprint Calculator Work?

Quantifying the exact amount of carbon footprint from cryptocurrencies can be daunting since they are usually decentralized.

However, you can use carbon footprint calculators to make more accurate predictions.

These tools aim to estimate the electricity consumption and how much e-waste the industry produces and convert them into amounts of emissions. Specific systems can also predict future consumption rates according to the developed models.

Carbon Emissions of Bitcoin Compared to Other Industries: Bitcoin vs Other Industries Carbon Footprint

The building and land transport sectors are the highest carbon emitters out of other industries, and comparatively, bitcoin is the eco-friendliest industry.12

Bar graph representation of the energy used in different industries versus bitcoins.
The graph above shows the energy use of bitcoin vs other industries in kWh.

The building sector uses at least 40 thousand more times than Bitcoin which makes it more eco-friendly than any other industry in the given data.

Blockchain For Carbon Tracking: How Blockchains Can Enable Climate Action?

Using blockchain can help monitor carbon emissions by making tracking more transparent. Thanks to these technologies, companies will provide accurate and dependable data on their levels of carbon emissions.

It can be handy for tracking, calculating, and reporting all the findings of carbon footprint reduction and offer immediate authentication and confirmation of the records.

This way, individual company efforts turn into efficient networked outcomes.

Which Blockchain Emissions Are the Lowest?

Fortunately, not all blockchains are power-hungry; the following versions are the most energy-efficient if you consider investing in an eco-friendly one. You can use Solana, which consumes about 0.00051 kWh per transaction.

This power is less than what it takes to make two Google searches. On the other hand, Cardano consumes 0.5 kWh, while Tezos uses about 60 MWh yearly.

Lastly, you can use Algorand, which consumes only 2.7 kWh per transaction.

What Are Ethereum CO2 Emissions per Year?

Ethereum was one of the highest blockchain emitters, but this is gradually changing thanks to the merger that seeks to make it more energy-efficient.

The carbon emissions will drop from more than 11 million tons annually to only 870.

This value is lower than the cumulative emissions from 100 homes. Therefore, the Ethereum CO2 footprint will change from the current 147.86 kg to only 0.07 kg for each transaction.2

Why Does Ethereum Use So Much Energy Unlike Other NFTs?

The carbon footprint of a single Ethereum NFT transaction is relatively higher than any other version, given the proof-of-work system it uses.5

It solves complex calculations and generally high computational power using many servers, resulting in increased energy consumption.

Impact of the Merge on the Environmental Impact of Ethereum Mining

Ethereum successfully designed a way to slash its energy consumption by a staggering 99.9 %.

Consequently, the blockchain’s energy requirements and carbon footprint have significantly plummeted.

Therefore, the merger is responsible for any changes in Ethereum’s carbon footprint, which means that the system will be kinder to the environment.

Environmental Impact of Crypto: Why Is Crypto Bad for the Environment?

NFTs may be lucrative investments, but they adversely affect the environment, particularly during the production stages.

The platform uses 48.14 kWh per transaction, and given that it involves thousands of uses a day, it contributes to increased energy consumption worldwide.3

Ethereum uses PoW security to prevent duplication of NFTs using data mining for identifying the art and protecting the user.

The problems are on a trial and error basis, which are daily calculations that lead to high energy usage and, in turn, a massive carbon footprint.6

What Is Ethereum Environmental Impact? What Is the Carbon Footprint of a Single Ethereum NFT Transaction?

Ethereum production harms the environment, and experts estimate that one transaction equates to about 147 kg of carbon emissions.

In perspective, it means that it is equal to the emissions caused by watching more than 24 hours of videos on YouTube.

What Is the Blockchain Environmental Impact?

Bitcoin mining requires power, and given that many transactions occur daily, the industry significantly contributes to climate change.13 Cryptocurrencies use up a lot of electricity from the gas and coal industries.

Using these non-renewable energy sources releases heavy greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere, contributing to climate change and global warming.

How Does NFT Energy Consumption Calculator Work?

NFT energy consumption accounts for all the stages until the final user purchases the artwork. When you create a digital image and upload it on a marketplace, most sites accept Ethereum, which must undergo verification through mining.

After purchasing, buyers compete for the artwork making it an NFT, a process that is quite power-intensive given that many people are participating at a go. The energy consumption calculator accounts for all these stages hence the high consumption rate.

Crypto Carbon Offsets: Sustainable Solutions

Researchers work tirelessly to find sustainable solutions to tackle the emissions from the crypto industry. Since data mining consumes a lot of energy, users can utilize renewable or clean power sources, avoiding coal and gas.

Doing this will significantly reduce the number of carbon emissions through increased carbon offset credits from the industry but note that this turnaround cannot happen overnight.

It is a gradual process that will take a lot of time and require the setup of strict policies.

What Is the Future of NFT Carbon Production?

The NFT trend is not going away, as you can tell from the stellar performance in the first quarter of the year, where it raked in over $12 Billion.14 The industry’s expansion, however, means a higher carbon footprint, but luckily there is a gradual shift to more sustainable methods.

As more people are gearing towards climate justice, the future of NFT entails using clean energy to reduce the effects of global warming. Users also have options to adopt PoS blockchain and other carbon-neutral alternatives.

If you are a die-hard fan of digital art and cryptocurrency but want all your practices to be eco-friendly, know there are energy-efficient ways to go. Most blockchains are now adopting environmentally-friendly operations like PoS to ensure low carbon footprints.

Additionally, others are turning to renewable energy sources and forming climate action goals while gradually working to achieve them. You can also opt-out of coal-driven platforms and conduct thorough research to find the crypto with the most negligible environmental impact. A green VPN is a great option.

Although the carbon footprint of a single Ethereum NFT transaction may be high, there are ways to reduce the platform’s energy usage and its impact on the environment.

Frequently Asked Questions About Carbon Footprint of a Single Ethereum NFT Transaction

How Does Ethereum Price Affect the Environment?

Ethereum’s price point determines whether more people will start transacting in the cryptocurrency. By extension, the more transactions on the platform in a day, the higher the carbon footprint, adversely affecting the environment.

What Is XRP Carbon Footprint?

XRP/ Ripple is one of the most efficient cryptocurrencies in energy consumption, given that it uses 0.0079 kWh for a transaction. It was also among the first blockchains to pledge net-zero emissions by 2040, making it one of the most sustainable platforms.

What Is the Carbon Footprint of Bitcoin?

The bitcoin industry accounts for 22-22.9 metric tons of carbon emissions yearly, all accumulated throughout the production stages from creation to purchase.

What Is the Carbon Footprint of the Internet?

The internet is also a heavy carbon emitter, responsible for 3.7% of total global emissions, equivalent to the carbon produced by worldwide air traffic.

What Is the Carbon Footprint of Lithium-Ion Battery Production?

All electric cars rely on the lithium-ion battery industries since the cells are essential components which explains why manufacturing involves excessive carbon emissions, averaging more than 200 kg of CO2.

What Is the Carbon Footprint of Building Materials?

According to the World Green Building Council, the construction industry is responsible for roughly 39% of all global carbon emissions. Generally, the total carbon footprint from a 420 m2 building can reach 14 000 tons of emissions.

What Is the Carbon Footprint of Data Centers?

Data centers lead to massive emissions explaining why they account for 3% of the total carbon footprint on the planet, almost equivalent to emissions from all flights airline travel industries globally.

Read More About Carbon Footprint of a Single Ethereum NFT Transaction


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