In an effort to remain relevant despite an ongoing lawsuit from the SEC, the CTO of Ripple stated in an interview that the company is looking to support NFT tokens. The shift is not surprising given every blockchain is racing to offer their own competing NFT solution.
While not specifically designed for NFTs, these mostly proof-of-stake approaches are attempting to reduce or eliminate the cost of making on-chain transaction. Much of this has been driven by the rapidly rising price of gas prices on Ethereum.
It also is driven by the numerous complaints that blockchain technology is awful for the environment. For example, as this Verge article states:
Take “Space Cat,” an NFT that’s basically a GIF of a cat in a rocket heading to the Moon. Space Cat’s carbon footprint is equivalent to an EU resident’s electricity usage for two monthsThe Verge
While the average NFT doesn’t have the same environmental impact, it’s nearly half as bad. However NFT speculators are much less focused on the environment currently. They also don’t represent the average consumer.
Purchasing a reasonably priced $15 NFT will cost you upwards of $65 in transaction fees at the moment. While the ongoing millionaire NFT collector cares far less about these fees, the growth of this moment is dependent on a drop in fees.
An industry which was driven by speculative ICOs and has transitioned to unsustainably minted works of art will need to find a sustainable path. It’s that exact path which will lead to broader adoption of both the technology and the underlying ecosystems.
It’s unclear whether Ethereum will remain the primary NFT platform but many others are now involved in a race to relevancy. Ripple just happens to be one of those but at this point, it’s not clear that anybody would bet on them winning.