Demonstrating that the utility of NFTs can be used for good, StreamCoin has announced a new way for people to donate to an environmental cause. Partnering with One Tree Planted, the blockchain company aims to aid reforestation efforts around the globe.

If you started the week reading about how a guy burned a $10m Frida Kahlo painting in order to promote his NFT collection, you might be feeling some disdain towards these tokens. We wouldn’t blame you. Fortunately, StreamCoin are showing how blockchain can be a force for good, by launching its “Green NFTs” collection.

Environmental Impact of Blockchain

Eco-friendly and NFTs aren’t words you’d necessarily expect to see in the same sentence. This is thanks to the original consensus mechanism of blockchain technology, proof of work. A very energy hungry method of validating transactions, nodes on a network would “mine” to add new blocks to the chain. This involves powerful computers constantly solving complex cryptographic puzzles. In order to compete with other participating nodes, huge servers of computers would, in many cases, be utilised to harness the most computational power.

It’s this system that garnered unattractive press in the media. Headlines would cite how certain blockchain companies’ annual energy consumption exceeded that of entire countries. Fortunately, other methods for processing transactions on the blockchain have become more popular.

Proof of stake is much more widely used. Networks like Solana function this way. In fact, Solana is heralded as one of the companies with the smallest environmental impact. According to their latest Energy Use Report, “a single transaction on Solana uses roughly the energy equivalent of 3 Google searches”. That’s exactly why we’ve built Fractis on the Solana network.

Other major blockchain companies are catching up with environmental sustainability expectations. Recently, Ethereum completed its much-anticipated merge from proof of work to proof of stake on its mainnet. The company expects the merge to reduce its energy consumption by approximately 99.95%.

Environmental NFT Utility

NFTs are most widely known as digital collectibles – particularly in the form of art. This could be a JPEG, video, or profile picture. Whilst these kinds of NFTs are popular, the value of them has plummeted significantly this year. Former Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey’s tweet originally sold as an NFT for $2.9 million last year. Earlier this year, it was listed at auction for $48 million, only to sell finally for $280.

Thinking that NFTs are only useful as bragging rights or questionable collectibles is a mistake. Forecasters and fanatics predict that there could be a future upswing in popularity for NFTs based on their utility. This essentially means NFTs which are useful in some form, rather than just existing for novelty.

The concept of green NFTs isn’t totally new. Companies have already sold NFTs as a way to promote carbon offsetting.

This has been somewhat criticised, however. NFTs as carbon credits, whereby you are funding projects that vow to offset their carbon emissions, like farming companies, for example. There have been reports that some carbon credit NFTs are linked to projects which are no longer actually active. Also, these carbon credit NFTs only work if they are burned. Each carbon credit NFT can, essentially, only work as a carbon credit. Once it is purchased and the offsetting has been undertaken, it needs to be retired and taken out of circulation. Otherwise, the NFTs can be traded, but there won’t be any carbon offsetting actually linked to it, since it’s already been used up.

StreamCoin Green NFTs

StreamCoin, a blockchain company with an ecosystem of NFTs and streaming-focused platforms, is doing environmental utility differently.

This new project is in partnership with One Tree Planted, a not for profit organisation focused on reforestation efforts. CEO of StreamCoin, Michael Ein Chaybeh, stated:

“We aim with this initiative to show how NFTs can be used to make environmental and social change on a global scale. I believe that the Green NFTs we created in partnership with One Tree Planted will be a great leap toward expanding the utility of NFTs to help the environment.”

These Green NFTs cannot be resold, and have 0% royalties, so no additional money can be made by the company off of a Green NFT. Each Green NFT is priced at $10 (450 STRM). Each donation contributes to one tree being planted for every $1.

The first set of Green NFTs can be found in the One Tree Planted Collection on STRMNFT. This initial drop consists of 1000 tokens, meaning 10,000 trees will be planted by the Vermont-based organisation if all are purchased. Ashley Lamontagne, a forest campaign manager at One Tree Planted, commented on the partnership by saying:

“We appreciate the support of StreamCoin and all the great work we will be able to do as a result of this partnership. Through their contributions we will be able to plant more trees where they are needed most and further our goal of global reforestation.”

StreamCoin’s mission is to bridge the gap between web 2.0 and web3. The company aims to provide multipurpose utilities, and Green NFTs is certainly an important and positive utility.