I've completed my first week using the Hive ecosystem and I thought I'd share my thoughts and experiences.
I’m an artist and I thought long and hard about which blockchain I should chose as the platform to sell my digital work. After a lot of research I opted for Hive for three reasons:
- Hive is eco-friendly
- No gas fees
- Hive's passionate and enthusiastic community
Compared to manufacturing and shipping physical goods around the world, digital art has always had the potential to be a low-carbon way of making a living. Digital art has been my passion for many years, and before I took time out to renovate a house and start a family, I was earning a steady income from large-scale canvas prints.
Now I’m able to produce art again, and when I heard about NFTs (how I didn’t hear about sooner I have no idea!) I was so excited. Finally, here was a way to sell my work that was on a par with an original painting.
However, my elation turn to despondency when I researched the environmental impact of blockchains such as Etherium. We try very hard as a family to be as low carbon as is practically possible, and we’ve made several sacrifices along the way to achieve this. I could not, in good conscience, sell my work in the knowledge that a single transaction could be equated to a long-haul flight.
I can tell you, I was pretty low that day. Here was a mechanism I had been waiting for for years, and it had been snatched away. Not only that, I felt consigned to watch by on the sidelines as the rest of the world dove in and enjoyed the party. And then I read about Hive and NFT Showroom.
Here was an eco-friendly alternative to Etherium. Not only that, but the NFT Showroom platform seemed well organised and easy to use. Great! I’m back in business!
No gas fees
No gas fees in minting an NFT is, of course, a huge plus. And it too is connected to a carbon-footprint. The more computing resources a blockchain action uses, the more electricity, the more carbon, and also the greater the cost to run the servers - therefore larger gas fees.
With Etherium, gas fees have spiked enormously over the past months, due to the demand on the network. On other NFT marketplaces I was looking at minting costs of around $80 upwards. Into the hundreds if I created a collection or store. Moreover, the process was often opaque, with buyers thinking they had bought a piece of art for e.g $100 only to then pay another $100 on gas fees at the checkout.
Hive’s infrastructure allows me to create and sell art without incurring hefty fees for either me or the buyer. That’s a huge plus. I’ve been reading that several of the major NFT marketplaces are introducing low-carbon (layer 2) transactions in the near future (though some estimate up to a year). This might be a game-changer, so I think Hive could do well to promote awareness of its eco-friendly footprint whilst it still has an edge.
A great community
For a week or so I was “Hive-curious”, and having explored the Hive ecosystem I really began to feel a positive vibe. The community seems enthused and passionate. The way projects are developed in an open-source and self-organised way seems to echo some of my favourite sci-fi novels - e.g. the Red Mars trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson, where the new and enthusiastic martian colonists build a different, fairer type of economics.
Crypto is the future, and here on Hive it feels that we’re in the thick of it, building something new, shiny and hopeful. I love how each dApp is linked with the others. I love how there are rewards for interacting. I love the democratic feel, how every user is empowered to help shape the way the platform develops.
You shouldn’t underestimate how a platform makes you feel. For example, I switched to Linux years ago, not because it was intrinsically superior to Windows and Apple, but because the open community was so helpful and passionate. They weren’t always trying to get more money out of me and the software is mostly open source. If there was a problem, there were people happy to help - not because there was money in it for them but because they are good human beings.
I get the same feeling with Hive. And if I’m going to spend a lot of time on a platform, I want to feel good about it. As a human being.
Hive is still in its infancy (as is crypto in general), and there are many areas where it can improve (and that’s a good and exciting thing). I’ll go into some areas where I think Hive can grow and improve with a later post, but for now I feel optimistic about the future.
I’m not going to be making a fortune from my art on this platform anytime soon, but that is an unrealistic expectation. Instead I’ve got a platform for making and (hopefully) selling art, and in doing so, adding to the world in a modest but positive way. In a decentralized society, that’s a great and fulfilling opportunity for any human being.