NFTs are the next fashion craze, but their environmental impact looms large

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NFTs are coming to fashion. What started as a niche idea popular in cryptocurrency circles, and popularized in part through discussions on Clubhouse, the non-fungible token has swiftly taken the worlds of music, art and even fast food by storm. Now, fashion brands across the industry are itching to figure out ways to get in on the NFT craze.

And while it’s true that NFTs can potentially have a benefit for fashion brands, they also come with some weighty costs. Cryptocurrency, in general, is already environmentally costly, and NFTs contribute to that wastefulness. While enticing for their zeitgeisty appeal, NFTs also risk making brands that list sustainability as one of their goals look like hypocrites for supporting them.

Cryptocurrencies are “mined” by computers doing vast amounts of calculations per second to continually verify each piece of the blockchain. These calculations are intentionally made to be power-intensive, to make the creation of new tokens difficult to falsify.

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