Google filed a trademark application titled “Non-Fungible Planet” on Monday – reminiscent of the trending Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT) sphere of the crypto industry. However, the application appears unrelated to such items, and is focused instead on education about climate change.
- The filing includes the stated goal of “providing information in the areas of environmental protection, conservation, energy efficiency, climate change, reducing carbon footprints, environmental issues, and sustainability efforts.”
- In terms of its methods, the project will use “entertainment services, namely, providing non-downloadable playback of curated video playlists via the internet and other communications networks”.
- Something that is ‘fungible’ can be easily replaced or interchanged with another identical item. For instance, a unit of currency such as Bitcoin can be considered “fungible” since one Bitcoin can usefully replace another Bitcoin.
- Hence, “non-fungible” relates to items that cannot be replaced, or that are one-of-a-kind. In the crypto-sphere, non-fungible tokens are unique digital entities on the blockchain, often used to represent art and other collectible items
- Multiple major tech companies have moved towards adopting NFTs on their platforms. Twitter now allows Ethereum NFTs to be used as profile pictures, and Facebook has confirmed that NFTs will be used on the platform in the near term.
- Yet Google’s recent filing makes no mention of such collectibles. Rather, ‘non-fungible’ likely relates to the idea that there is only one planet, so it must not be spoiled.
- Should the term be associated with NFTs by outsiders, it could possibly prove bad PR. After all, NFTs and crypto have gotten a bad rap for contributing to environmental damage through the proof of work mining process.
- However, most NFT platforms today run on a proof of stake consensus mechanism, which is much less energy-intensive. Ethereum is scheduled to transition to this mechanism this year.