*The following is not financial advice. We are providing information as part of our own journey to understand this technology and where it fits into our commitment to climate, our communities, and art as advocacy.
Inletkeeper has been selected to receive a portion of the proceeds from Cryosphere, an NFT created by Epoch Gallery, a group of artists who created a virtual gallery and NFT inspired by the Matanuska Glacier and its disappearance due to the climate crisis. Over the last few years, you’ve likely heard or read the terms Crypto or Cryptocurrency, Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT), and Blockchain, and thought to yourself “what the heck is that?”. Because this is relatively new terrain in the environmental conservation world, we wanted to take a minute to break down what exactly we’re doing partnering with an NFT.
Here are some definitions to help us wrap our heads around this newly charted technology:
NFT stands for Non-Fungible Token. Non-fungible means that it is unique and cannot be traded. You can trade one dollar bill for another dollar bill or a bitcoin for a bitcoin, but NFTs are unique and not interchangeable. They are one-of-a-kind digital items that have swept the art world by storm.
Blockchain is the technology that cryptocurrency (and NFTs) operates on. To oversimplify it — each block in the chain records information about a transaction. They are chronological, so with each transaction, a new block is created generating a register of transactions, deals, or contracts.
Whether or not you’ve been staying on top of these newer terms, you might have still heard a lot about the environmental impact of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. Namely that generating cryptocurrencies requires a ton of power, most of which is not very “clean.” The Cryosphere NFT will be minted on Algorand, which is a sustainable and green blockchain that has worked to address the environmental impact of the sector. Algorand operates using a “proof of stake” rather than a “proof of work” mechanism which is less energy-intensive. Proof of stake validation requires less computing to verify transactions thus resulting in a less energy-intensive process. Algorand is a unique blockchain working to address some of the environmental shortcomings of the system it works within as well as issues of decentralization, security, and scalability.
EPOCH Gallery Alaskan-based artist, Nathan Shafer, shared that “…these practices are hopefully going to be a good way to help Alaskan non-profits raise money to continue to help and protect the environment, resources and people of Alaska. This is a start in trying to come up with innovative and thoughtful ways of doing the work in Alaska. We are learning, growing, developing and adjusting as we go.”
Inletkeeper supports using a variety of tools to advocate for the health of our watershed and the life it sustains. This has always included the strategic use of art and the creative talents of artists. Art-makers have long been change-makers, using their gifts to communicate around issues that impact us, to inspire advocacy, and to envision a better world. It is in this exchange – between maker and viewer – where the magic is. Art’s true power is its ability to evoke emotion, to bypass skeptical brains, thereby literally changing hearts and minds. For this reason, art’s power is split between the artist and the audience. So whether poetry or paintings, music or dance, it’s the love of art, not the art itself, that can overcome any obstacle man has yet devised.
While we don’t claim to fully understand the metaverse and its growing NFT art sphere, we are open to engaging with exploratory artists hoping to make a positive impact on the work we do. EPOCH Gallery has kindly selected Inletkeeper to receive 15% of profits from the sale of the Cryosphere NFT which is inspired by the Matanuska Glacier. The exhibition was released on June 19, 2022, as a singular NFT containing a compilation of artworks.