A Brazilian company that owns 410 square kilometers of the Amazon rainforest offers a new way to fund conservation. It is the sale of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) that allow buyers to sponsor the conservation of certain areas of the jungle.
NFTs are a type of crypto asset that has skyrocketed in popularity last year, and its unique digital signature ensures that NFTs are unique. Other efforts to fund conservation through NFTs include planning a wildlife sanctuary in South Africa.
In Brazil, a company called Nemus launched NFTs on Friday, offering buyers unique sponsorships for forests of various sizes. The proceeds will be used to protect trees, regenerate clear-cut areas and promote sustainable development.
Token holders do not own the land itself, but they have access to important information about its preservation, from satellite images to licenses and other documents, says Nemus founder Flavio de Meira Penna.
He said Nemus sold 10 percent of the first offer of 8,000 hectares of tokens on the first day.
“I think this will accelerate rapidly in the coming weeks,” Pena told Reuters, adding that blockchain technology would ensure transparency in the use of funds.
Plot sizes range from a quarter hectare to 81 hectares (0.6 to 200 acres) and buyers can find them on the online map.
The smallest parcel NFT sells for $ 150 (€ 137) and the largest fetch is $ 51,000 (€ 46,500), Pena said. Pawini, State of Amazonas.
In addition to forest conservation, Penna said the fund will support sustainable development efforts such as harvesting acai berries and Brazil nuts by the Belgian-sized Pawini community.
Each token comes with Amazon plant or animal artwork and is processed by the San Francisco-based Concept Art House, the NFT content developer and publisher.
Critics question the value of NFTs on environmental issues as tokens using blockchain technology require powerful computing power and boost the demand for power generation that emits climate-warming greenhouse gases.
Pena dismissed the view, saying that the conservation of areas under the threat of Amazon far outweighs the environmental costs of NFT transactions.