exploring the NFT space one gif at a time
Jan 31, 2022
The Museum of Wild and Newfangled Art (mowna) will explore NFTs with the mowna NFT Show.
When we launched the Museum of Wild and Newfangled Art a year ago, NFTs were not considered a viable option for paying artists. Over the last year, sales of NFTs have increased into the billions of dollars. They have been a way for some artists to make money for their artwork. Prominent auction houses have offered them for sale, and traditional art museums have been hesitant to work with them. Part of mowna's mission is to incorporate innovative new technologies, experiment within the art and museum space, and pay artists for their work. While the future of NFTs is unclear, mowna acknowledges the NFT space as a new opportunity for art. mowna embraces spaces that allow artists to have agency, freedom, equity, and the ability to live a sustainable lifestyle as an artist. While we still enjoy physical based work and spaces, mowna is excited to explore the NFT space with its next show.
We curate shows that feature new technologies or ideas, so that we can all learn about these important spaces together. At times we will learn negative information about a technology or a space, and that is just as important to us as the positive takeaways from our experimentation. Only with this knowledge can we make the correct decisions about our work and our environment.
The Ethereum network is relatively new, going live in July 2015. The focus of the blockchain during the last six years has been to build the technology, and test out various use cases to see if people are interested in using it. That has been confirmed due to the popularity of it, and only within the last year have other issues come into focus, such as the high energy usage. Energy efficiency increases as a technology develops, and we believe that Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies will become more energy efficient as time passes. If energy efficiency is the only thing preventing people from using the technology, a solution will be found.
The "proof of work consensus algorithm.... uses roughly 48 kWh which can be equated to roughly the amount of energy used by a U.S. household for 1.5 days. It is the consensus algorithm that uses so much energy, not the NFT itself... Analysts estimate that the average NFT consumes 75 kWh in its lifetime (with all transactions taken into account)... An NFT on the Ethereum network uses roughly 2.5 times more electricity than the average household uses per day."
The mowna NFT Show will offer approximately 200 artworks, which means that if they all sell, we could expect to use the same amount of energy as used by a U.S. household for 500 days (200 artworks times 2.5). This seems a reasonable spend of energy for our organization, as we are making NFTs for 4 shows, and representing work for 40 artists. We also do not have a physical building (at this time), and energy costs for the rest of our operations are fairly limited.
The Museum of Wild and Newfangled Art greatly prioritizes the environment. That is the reason that we are only offering 1/1 edition NFTs. We believe in quality artworks over quantity. Many other artists are offering thousands of low priced NFTs for sale, and while that approach may bring more money, we disagree with that practice at this time.
Some artists are not willing to list their work citing environmental issues. We greatly respect artists' decision to withdraw from the blockchain and NFTs. It is better to be cautious on the side of the environment. Other artists see the energy usage of approximately 200 1/1 NFTs being worth the environmental costs. The potential sale prices of NFTs can be life changing for artists, and perhaps allow them to focus on their artwork and the issues that they see as important to themselves and the world, as opposed to not having income from their art, and potentially being forced to work for less environmentally friendly organizations to pay the bills.
The environmental impact of physical art is often much worse than digital art. For example, physical art often involves the purchase of materials that impact the environment as well as the transportation of art all over the world which involves a large amount of carbon emissions (not to mention potential buyers flying from around the world to view this art or artists traveling to make the art). The creation of physical art can often create adverse environmental and health effects. For example, the materials used in paint, or darkroom photographic development, or the creation of glass via high temperature ovens, etc. (https://www.renewableenergyhub.co.uk/blog/how-much-energy-do-nfts-take-up)
As many have mentioned, Proof of Stake is a possible way to decrease energy costs of using Ethereum. "Proof of Stake... would be a 99% reduction in energy consumed. Some are saying this new system could be implemented... in 2022."
"The problem is that people have been waiting for years for Ethereum to make the change, and some are skeptical that it ever will. First, Ethereum will have to convince everyone that proof of stake is the way to go. Otherwise, the whole system could collapse."
NFTs seem like a more energy efficient model over the current physical based art market, and if we can reduce that by 99% more in the near future then it would be like running a household for 5 days. That seems a fantastically efficient way to employ 40 artists.
With NFTs you don't need to use physical based material, or use energy for physical based mediums, or pay the tremendous energy costs associated with shipping.
We feel it is important to test the market and see what NFTs are actually going to sell for. If the results are not promising, then we potentially will scrap future plans for selling NFTs, until a time when the market responds with higher prices.
In addition to the OpenSea auctions, we also show the exhibited artworks on our museum page. We feel that our platform provides the best viewing experience for art in the digital space, and we prioritize the art experience over the economic opportunity. Our museum is not built on the blockchain, so it's energy usage is similar to that of a website that hosts images or videos online.
There is much information available for how to purchase NFTs, but we provide a few simple steps in order to buy the NFTs that we are making available.
Make an account on a cryptocurrency exchange platform such as Coinbase, and buy some Ethereum.
Get a cryptocurrency wallet such as MetaMask.
Transfer Ethereum from your cryptocurrency exchange to your cryptocurrency wallet. (And be careful to copy and paste your wallet address exactly, otherwise you will send your Ethereum elsewhere and not be able to get it back.)
Make an account on the online NFT marketplace and connect your cryptocurrency wallet. The marketplace we are using is OpenSea.
Find an NFT you like and make an offer.
As with any financial transactions make sure you are accessing from a secure device, and make sure your passwords are complex.
We have no idea about how successful NFTs or cryptocurrencies will be in the future, but at the moment they provide an interesting way for paying artists.
mowna NFT Show Auctions will happen at: https://opensea.io/mownamuseum
Drop parties will happen at: https://discord.gg/QemmrmPPUG
mowna NFT Show press release here