The world was a different place when Space Jam dropped in 1996. Ubiquitous broadband wasn’t a thing; kids spent their time trading cards and Tazos. And it turns out we haven’t advanced very far since then — because Warner Bros. has continued with tradition by releasing 91,000 Space Jam: A New Legacy NFT collectable cards to celebrate the release of Space Jam 2: A New Legacy.
Sadly those NFTs are a bit more destructive than the cards kids used to get in chip packets, though. According to new research, the average cost of NFT transactions is around 35 kWh, the equivalent of running a single fridge for a month. Times that by 91,000 and you can estimate the massive total cost of these new collectables.
According to the Niftys website hub all 91,000 NFTs have sold out. They were given away on a mostly free basis, with getting one free card for joining Nifty, a second card offered for sharing the Nifty page online and a third sold for $US2.99 ($4).
Each NFT card depicts a single character on a holographic, transparent, striped or plain background resembling a traditional trading card, with each occupying a different rarity tier from ‘Common’ to ‘Legendary’. They really are quite attractive, and it’s not hard to see why they’ve become popular.
But while all cards have now been claimed, the environmental impact of these NFTs isn’t strictly ‘over’.
Niftys is planning on opening up the Space Jam: A New Legacy NFT trading market in a fortnight so users can buy and sell their Space Jam: A New Legacy collection, swap doubles or hunt for legendary cards. Rather than being as simple as passing a card between friends, each transaction will suck more energy and contribute to the steep environmental toll of NFTs.
It’s great to see the nostalgia and fun of collectable cards return, but it would’ve been nice to see it happen in a way that won’t scorch the earth. Niftys claims it uses Palm to reduce the energy consumption of transactions by up to 99 per cent, but these cards will still have a phenomenal toll.
As a gateway to future NFT purchases, they could also lead to major market interest and growth in a system yet to become sustainable.
Space Jam 2: A New Legacy is currently showing in Australian cinemas.