Brazilian company Nemus, which owns 410 km² of the Amazon rainforest, has proposed a new way to conserve natural resources – selling non-fungible tokens (NFT) in sponsorship of individual sections of the jungle.
NFTs are crypto assets with a digital signature that guarantees their uniqueness. The popularity of these assets has skyrocketed in the last year – according to some estimates, their market has grown by 21,000% and has surpassed $17 billion.
Nemus has started selling NFTs, buyers of which will be able to sponsor their allocated lands and the proceeds will be used to conserve trees, restore deforested areas and ensure natural resource development. NFT owners do not get ownership of the land itself, but get access to key information about the area in question, from satellite imagery to issued licenses and other documents.
Nemus put up for sale tokens associated with an area of 8000 hectares, and 10% of that number was sold on the first day. The offer includes plots of land from 0.25 to 81 hectares, the smallest are sold for $150 and the largest for up to $51,000 Negotiations with the authorities of the municipality of Pauini (Amazonas state). In addition to protecting the trees from deforestation, the project intends to support traditional activities such as the harvesting of acai berries and Brazil nuts.
The tokens sold come with unique images of Amazonian plants or animals – the development was entrusted to Concept Art House, a San Francisco-based company specializing in NFT content. Critics say that digital assets are hardly the right way to help the environment, as they are based on blockchain technology, which requires significant energy costs, and generating electricity often involves the release of greenhouse gases. However, Nemus counters that preserving the endangered Amazon rainforest far outweighs the costs associated with blockchain transactions.