[NetBehaviour] The Unreasonable Ecological Cost of #CryptoArt

Graziano Milano grazmaster at googlemail.com
Sun Jan 24 11:55:37 CET 2021


Hi Ruth,

Yesterday I did research on what Async Art is and how it works as I never
heard of it. I found out that Async Art is a new online platform for
artists to create and sell rare, programmable digital art:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZbUJeYzgsc

Async Canvas is an all-in-one uploader tool. It allows the artists to
create, preview, and mint their programmable digital art from within their
personalized dashboard. Here is an introduction video which walks the
artists through the basics of how Async Canvas works:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRR7k0uXiPk&feature=emb_logo

Apparently they will be adding more and more templates to Async Canvas as
their tool grows.

The question is what kind of ecological impact each digital artwork
uploaded and sold at Async Art and/or at any other similar online platforms
as CryptoArt will have in the short and long term as a result of
blockchain-based transactions. Probably the vast majority of artists
selling their digital artwork on those online platforms are not aware of
that. A detailed scientific study of the ecological impact of selling their
digital artwork on any of those platforms as CryptoArt must be provided to
all digital artists so they can make an informed decision if they wish to
use any of those platforms or not.

If a detailed scientific study can prove and highlight the ecological
impact of those online Crypto-Art platforms, then Google, Apple and Amazon
must block those apps as they recently have blocked the far-right "free
speech" app Parler.

Graziano

On Sat, 23 Jan 2021 at 15:05, Alan Sondheim via NetBehaviour <
netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org> wrote:

> Hi Ruth, Just a few points in response, mind you I do plead ignorance.
> (Which I admit is no excuse.)
> I don't think that climate catastrophe is just the result of states and
> corporations; it's also the result of a heavily overpopulated planet that
> is reaching its carrying-capacity; the resulting coming famine leads to
> ecological disaster, and while the world builds, as you know, the biosphere
> is becoming rapidly denuded.
> I also think that blockchain is at this point, corporate in its heart;
> even the metaphor of 'mining' resonates with that. The problem though is
> deeper than that.
> I tend not to believe in utopias and worry about utopian horizons; as I
> mentioned a while, maybe ten years ago, I participated in a 'high-level'
> colloquium at Brown University on blockchain - and the discussion was
> literally taken over by an IBM executive talking about the kind of
> bankvault metaphor that was useful to the corporation (he was in charge of
> blockchain development there) on one hand, and its use for dissemination of
> advertising on the other - "you'll be walking down the street and different
> objects will trigger advertisements in vr; you click on an object, and you
> purchase" and some such.
> I don't believe that " Blockchain is a future technology. It is built for
> use in a world of clean, limitless, renewable energy." - because I don't
> think that world will exist. The machines, as I wanted to point out, that
> generate such energy need maintenance; things like windfarms already create
> eco-diverse catastrophes in the Mid-West here, and require constant
> maintenance - there are problems in this country of disposal of windfarm
> blades which are enormous and not biodegradable, and so forth. Nuclear
> fusion is enormously expensive/corporate to produce as you know and will be
> both top-down governmental and corporate (is there a difference?) and the
> target of terrorisms. And so forth.
> God, I hope you are right about blockchain...
> I've been thinking about my relation to art and finance this morning and
> realize, I tend to give my art away. I've shown in alternative spaces,
> commercial galleries, etc., and as with my part of the Furtherfield show, I
> tend to give my art away. I've done this from the beginning, even with my
> first show at an "important" gallery back then, I gave everything away
> afterwards. I've wanted to be supported for what I do, and, very very
> occasionally, have received stipends for my productions, and if someone
> offers me money for something I've given them, I'll take it, but it's not
> my impulse. (I'm stupid that way, we can't even afford a decent video
> camera at this point! :-) )
> I think part of this is coming up through the Soho period of art in the
> 60s and 70s and a bit later, when for example the Guerrilla Girls were
> starting (I may know one of them or may not), and so much postering was
> going on - this sort of grassroots had effect (I think of the A.I.R.
> feminist gallery) of course and was there, in your face. There were also
> protests against Vietnam among other things, when the Soho gallery doors
> were glued shut. I'm not trying to romanticize this era or anything like
> that, just pointing to the materiality of art and its potential for freedom
> on a personal scale; digital art of any sort including mine has the
> possibility of "leaking" everywhere as well (in the midst of horrifying
> corporate noise). So all this stuff which of course is going on now as well
> (even Providence has great street murals) requires nothing in a way,
> effects change on a very basic level.
> Bodies get in the way, I think of the current protests in Russia and here.
> Brexit was utopia for some, now there are fishing fleet problems and it
> seems (from here) heading towards a mess...
> What I think I'm trying to say is that, for me, the fundamental
> materiality of the world, the "idiotic real" (as I think Rosset says)
> dominates, and utopian impulses always have unforeseen and problematic
> consequences. Not that the material world doesn't - but everything does.
> Remember the early Internet, not that long ago, was considered by some an
> "information superhighway" - and that gave way now, to a compendium of both
> opportunities and damage; for me, I find it best to be suspicious of new
> tech's promises (Apple and Tesla good examples) and hope to god  I'm wrong.
> Apologies for this rambling, you brought up so many good points!
>
> Best, Alan
>
> On Sat, Jan 23, 2021 at 7:11 AM Ruth Catlow via NetBehaviour <
> netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org> wrote:
>
>> Dear Alan,
>>
>> I really appreciate this generous, honest and reasoned response to my
>> rebuttal of this project.
>>
>> I find your arguments very understandable but also rather circular. The
>> power and logics acting through states and corporations in the form of
>> extractive capitalism have delivered climate catastrophe.
>>
>> ...So we should abandon the blockchain to states and corporations to
>> accelerate the process?
>>
>> The current ecological impact of Bitcoin is indefensible.
>> So we should, in my opinion, keep political pressure on states and
>> corporations in all the ways we know how...And get into the middle of
>> powerful new technologies to rally and clamour for social and environmental
>> justice- to ensure that they democratically serve the interests of all life
>> on the planet.
>>
>> All the people we know experimenting with the social potentials of
>> blockchain, and who care about this stuff (such as the people at Circles
>> https://circles.garden/ ) are working with DAI. This uses Proof of Stake
>> ( relatively low energy usage) and stabilises price against the dollar. Its
>> a middle ground that allows people to explore what is possible while the
>> technological ecosystem catches up.
>>
>> To this end, Furtherfield is kicking off The DAOWO Sessions: Artworld
>> Prototypes - a series of discussion events around artworld prototypes built
>> in response to potentials for organising using blockchain technologies with
>> a particular focus on locality and community-needs. They are scheduled for
>> UK mornings but will be recorded if people are interested.
>> https://www.furtherfield.org/the-daowo-sessions-artworld-prototypes-reinventing-the-artworld-with-blockchain/
>>
>> A huge frustration is the lack of communication (well-organised stats,
>> research and commitments - communicated for business, governments and
>> citizens) about the coming energy reductions associated with Ethereum 2,
>> and the different environmental associated with the different technologies.
>> The way it is currently communicated in the blockchain magazines is not
>> accessible to most people
>> https://www.coindesk.com/ethereum-2-0-beacon-chain-goes-live-as-world-computer-begins-long-awaited-overhaul
>> But maybe this is a function of is newness.
>>
>> There are researchers deep in the guts of blockchain looking at its
>> ability to play a part in climate change mitigation - Such as this
>> Blockchain Application for the Paris Agreement - Carbon Market Mechanism—A
>> Decision Framework and Architecture
>> https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/12/12/5069/pdf (not an endorsement of
>> this project - just one of many examples that come up with a search).
>>
>> If we can find the right research (maybe someone here can point us to it)
>> we could make an artwork that is a climate impact calculator for all
>> cryptocurrencies now (till the heat-death of the universe) - that makes
>> live calculations based on current and predicted protocol, culture and
>> infrastructure developments of each platform. What would this even look
>> like - where do we set the frame - what is in and what is out of an
>> environmental impact calculator?
>>
>> In the meantime, my favourite, nuanced and well-researched sources of
>> thinking and experiment are Sarah Friend (who is also working with us on
>> CultureStake) Laura Lotti, Burak Arikan, Jaya Klara Brekke and a lot of
>> work coming out of Trust in Berlin.
>>
>> Warmly
>> Ruth
>>
>>
>>
>> On Fri, Jan 22, 2021 at 3:49 PM Alan Sondheim via NetBehaviour <
>> netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org> wrote:
>>
>>> Hi, a few questions. I've been interested in blockchain but to be honest
>>> have been appalled by its energy use as well; that doesn't seem to me to be
>>> a troll, but an honest reaction. When you say "realise both money and
>>> governance at a global scale, independent of states and corporations" -
>>> isn't blockchain itself becoming a state and corporation in a sense? And
>>> shouldn't in fact the environmental impact be paramount?
>>> If in the future there will be a "world of clean, limitless, renewable
>>> energy" - there seems to be three main sources, all of which are highly
>>> corporate - wind (which is environmentally problematic for the bid
>>> population); fusion (which I'm hopeful for but will require enormous
>>> international cooperation and seems to be corporate as well, given the
>>> enormous technological hurdles) and solar (which requires, at least in the
>>> U.S. vast tracts of land for the conversion apparatus). I'm not sure how
>>> this will play out - certainly clean, limitless, and renewable are
>>> possible, but there are enormous costs involved. My own vision of
>>> blockchain, definitely from the outside, is that it's problematic in many
>>> ways, and not democratic, that it's great for money laundering as well as
>>> art, and that our concerns should be focussed on that (I understand that
>>> London at this point is the center of off-shore banking, no longer Geneve,
>>> but I might have my stats wrong).
>>>
>>> It seems to me that, to use your term which I think is excellent, the
>>> future will increasingly be "extractive capitalism." We're also reaching
>>> the point of the carrying capacity of the planet in terms of resource use
>>> and population growth; there's an article by Paul Ehrlich and others on
>>> this -
>>>
>>> Underestimating the Challenges of
>>> Avoiding a Ghastly Future
>>> Corey J. A. Bradshaw1,2*, Paul R. Ehrlich3*, Andrew Beattie4, Gerardo
>>> Ceballos 5,
>>> Eileen Crist 6, Joan Diamond7, Rodolfo Dirzo3, Anne H. Ehrlich3, John
>>> Harte8,9,
>>> Mary Ellen Harte9, Graham Pyke4, Peter H. Raven10, William J. Ripple11,
>>> Frédérik Saltré1,2,
>>> Christine Turnbull 4, Mathis Wackernagel 12 and Daniel T.
>>> Blumstein13,14* - which is available online and was originally published in
>>> Frontiers in Conservation Science.
>>>
>>> (I didn't attach it, because I'm not sure it would go through to
>>> NetBehaviour)
>>>
>>> Best, Alan
>>>
>>> On Fri, Jan 22, 2021 at 6:16 AM Ruth Catlow via NetBehaviour <
>>> netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org> wrote:
>>>
>>>> re: http://cryptoart.wtf
>>>> I mean... It's a great troll but it's not good enough!
>>>>
>>>> The meme of blockchain's outrageous energy use is a barrier to more
>>>> diverse people entering the development space.
>>>>
>>>> Blockchain technologies are important because species collapse and
>>>> climate emergency is an effect of the global political economy. Blockchains
>>>> tech like cryptocurrencies, tokens, and smart contracts are the only tools
>>>> we have (as yet) to organise directly p-2-p at a planetary scale.They are
>>>> still new but they offer a way to imagine and realise both money and
>>>> governance at a global scale, independent of states and corporations.
>>>>
>>>> The debate about blockchain's environmental impact usually focuses
>>>> around its high energy use.
>>>>
>>>> [EXPLAINER: Blockchains' level of energy use are due to the consensus
>>>> mechanisms (CMs) they use to verify transactions, and to "mine" currency.
>>>> The amount of electricity used varies according to the CM. The two dominant
>>>> CMs are Proof of Work (PoW) and Proof of Stake (PoS)
>>>> Bitcoin uses PoW and infamously consumes the same amount of electricity
>>>> as 159 countries. Ethereum (the platform for programmable money - and
>>>> therefore the focus of a lot of work on new forms of governance) is moving
>>>> to Eth2 a PoS system which uses far less energy. But this is still 2 years
>>>> off.]
>>>>
>>>> Questions about the environmental impact of blockchain are important
>>>> and difficult to answer.  It's right that we assess the impact of
>>>> Blockchains but we need better ways to compare all emerging digital
>>>> infrastructure ecosystems - including other financial techs, IoT, ML AI,
>>>> 5G.
>>>>
>>>> A focus on reducing energy use is not enough. As @alsodanlowe put it
>>>> "It would be crazy to ban or dissuade colleagues from participating in an
>>>> effort to decentralize money away from the forces that create the priority
>>>> for fossil fuels (much of it built on debt) just because those forces
>>>> exist. PoW is agnostic. Banks and existing oligarchy is not."
>>>> https://twitter.com/alsodanlowe/status/1317444999361957891
>>>>
>>>> Blockchain is a future technology. It is built for use in a world of
>>>> clean, limitless, renewable energy.
>>>>
>>>> Efforts need to focus here...and on the political economies and the
>>>> cultural adoption patterns that they can support and grow beyond
>>>> accumulative self-interest and extractive capitalism if we are avoid
>>>> accelerating climate collapse.
>>>>
>>>> This morning I retweeted this from Sarah Friend "If I hadn't spent the
>>>> past five years working in crypto, I'd probably be moralizing about it too,
>>>> and this is perhaps part of why I am so profoundly annoyed by its
>>>> superficial detractors - my shadow selves, who know so much less than me
>>>> and are so much more sure they're right"
>>>> https://twitter.com/isthisanart_/status/1352288565850492928
>>>>
>>>> There's so much more to  say about all of this. Especially about the
>>>> role that art has to play.
>>>>
>>>> Soon!!!!
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> On Fri, Jan 22, 2021 at 9:35 AM Annie Abrahams via NetBehaviour <
>>>> netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org> wrote:
>>>>
>>>>> The website http://cryptoart.wtf pulls in random blockchain-based
>>>>> CryptoArt from the web, and estimates the ecological impact of each
>>>>> work
>>>>> in terms of energy consumption (kWh), and greenhouse gases released
>>>>> (KgCO2) as a result of blockchain-based transactions relating to the
>>>>> work.
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> https://memoakten.medium.com/the-unreasonable-ecological-cost-of-cryptoart-2221d3eb2053
>>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>>> NetBehaviour mailing list
>>>>> NetBehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org
>>>>> https://lists.netbehaviour.org/mailman/listinfo/netbehaviour
>>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> --
>>>> Co-founder & Artistic director of Furtherfield & DECAL Decentralised
>>>> Arts Lab
>>>> +44 (0) 77370 02879
>>>>
>>>> *I will only agree to speak at events that are racially and gender
>>>> balanced.
>>>>
>>>> **sending thanks
>>>> <https://www.ovoenergy.com/ovo-newsroom/press-releases/2019/november/think-before-you-thank-if-every-brit-sent-one-less-thank-you-email-a-day-we-would-save-16433-tonnes-of-carbon-a-year-the-same-as-81152-flights-to-madrid.html> in
>>>> advance
>>>>
>>>> *Furtherfield *disrupts and democratises art and technology through exhibitions,
>>>> labs & debate, for deep exploration, open tools & free thinking.
>>>> furtherfield.org <http://www.furtherfield.org/>
>>>>
>>>> *DECAL* Decentralised Arts Lab is an arts, blockchain & web 3.0
>>>> technologies research hub
>>>>
>>>> for fairer, more dynamic & connected cultural ecologies & economies
>>>> now.
>>>>
>>>> decal.is <http://www.decal.is>
>>>>
>>>> Furtherfield is a Not-for-Profit Company Limited by Guarantee
>>>>
>>>> Registered in England and Wales under the Company No.7005205.
>>>>
>>>> Registered business address: Carbon Accountancy, 80-83 Long Lane,
>>>> London, EC1A 9ET.
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>> NetBehaviour mailing list
>>>> NetBehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org
>>>> https://lists.netbehaviour.org/mailman/listinfo/netbehaviour
>>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> --
>>> *=====================================================*
>>>
>>> *directory http://www.alansondheim.org <http://www.alansondheim.org> tel
>>> 718-813-3285**email sondheim ut panix.com <http://panix.com>, sondheim
>>> ut gmail.com <http://gmail.com>*
>>> *=====================================================*
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> NetBehaviour mailing list
>>> NetBehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org
>>> https://lists.netbehaviour.org/mailman/listinfo/netbehaviour
>>>
>>
>>
>> --
>> Co-founder & Artistic director of Furtherfield & DECAL Decentralised Arts
>> Lab
>> +44 (0) 77370 02879
>>
>> *I will only agree to speak at events that are racially and gender
>> balanced.
>>
>> **sending thanks
>> <https://www.ovoenergy.com/ovo-newsroom/press-releases/2019/november/think-before-you-thank-if-every-brit-sent-one-less-thank-you-email-a-day-we-would-save-16433-tonnes-of-carbon-a-year-the-same-as-81152-flights-to-madrid.html> in
>> advance
>>
>> *Furtherfield *disrupts and democratises art and technology through exhibitions,
>> labs & debate, for deep exploration, open tools & free thinking.
>> furtherfield.org <http://www.furtherfield.org/>
>>
>> *DECAL* Decentralised Arts Lab is an arts, blockchain & web 3.0
>> technologies research hub
>>
>> for fairer, more dynamic & connected cultural ecologies & economies now.
>>
>> decal.is <http://www.decal.is>
>>
>> Furtherfield is a Not-for-Profit Company Limited by Guarantee
>>
>> Registered in England and Wales under the Company No.7005205.
>>
>> Registered business address: Carbon Accountancy, 80-83 Long Lane, London,
>> EC1A 9ET.
>>
>>
>> _______________________________________________
>> NetBehaviour mailing list
>> NetBehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org
>> https://lists.netbehaviour.org/mailman/listinfo/netbehaviour
>>
>
>
> --
> *=====================================================*
>
> *directory http://www.alansondheim.org <http://www.alansondheim.org> tel
> 718-813-3285**email sondheim ut panix.com <http://panix.com>, sondheim ut
> gmail.com <http://gmail.com>*
> *=====================================================*
> _______________________________________________
> NetBehaviour mailing list
> NetBehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org
> https://lists.netbehaviour.org/mailman/listinfo/netbehaviour
>
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