"Easy, efficient, and inexpensive... for a few hundred bucks you can offset your entire year’s of carbon offsets." That's how Ecosapiens founder Nihar Neelakanti describes his company's NFT-based carbon offset tool.
For those not immersed in crypto-land (or who were living under a rock in 2021), NFT's are digital collectibles -- artworks (both high and low), virtual trading cards and goods, and... random internet ephemera -- that sold for millions of dollars during the easy money days of 2020 and 2021.
Saturday Night Live has the best explainer here:
Since those heady days the prices of NFTs have come crashing down to Earth from the millions they sold for initially, but that hasn't stopped Neelakanti and a host of investors from pushing forward with a unique, climate-friendly spin on the market.
"We built the world's first carbon-backed collectible," Neelakanti explains. "It's one of the coolest and easiest ways for people to make a difference for the planet."
Buyers of Ecosapiens digital creations fund a Kenyan carbon removal project that restores about 5 million acres of grassland, which can remove more than 600,000 tons of greenhouse gas from the atmosphere per year. The company monitors the changes by using satellites to track biomass and herd locations.
Each Ecosapien collected represents about 20 metric tons of carbon offsets, which the company said is more than the average American's annual emissions.
Neelakanti admits that it's a niche market now, but he -- and his investors -- believe that the NFT market will make a comeback and that Ecosapiens will be at the vanguard of digital efforts to offset carbon emissions.
Those investors, which include the Collab+Currency fund and a major NFT collector known as gmoney, recently poured $3.5 million into the company.
“NFTs have the ability to unlock an incredible, almost infinite potential, and Ecosapiens is proving that to be true by harnessing the tech for positive climate action,” said gmoney, in a statement. “They’re making it easy for individuals from any background – art lovers, NFT collectors,
environmentalists, you name it – to make environmental sustainability a byproduct of their daily lives and hobbies.”
Ecosapiens collectors not only offset their carbon with their initial purchase, but also have the option to add up to 320 tons of carbon to their NFT to "evolve" their collectible over time.
Transactions, which are conducted on the low-energy Ethereum network (which slashed its energy demand by 99% last year when it changed how it verifies transactions on its network) have already created about 1,700 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent offsets -- equal to planting around 68,000 trees.
“Our vision for Ecosapiens is to enable anyone to have a measurable and meaningful individual impact on returning atmospheric carbon to the earth, where it belongs,” said Neelakanti, when Ecosapiens launched its first NFT sale last year. “We have been hard at work to develop technology that makes an Ecosapien a one-click easy answer to ‘What can I do?’ when thinking about ways to personally contribute to a restorative solution.”
Find out more about the Ecosapiens NFT here.