By Chris Lang
Nemus sells non-fungible tokens that the company claims to be linked to land in the Amazon rainforest. Nemus claims to have “secured 41,000 hectares of actual at-risk land in the Amazon rainforest”. In January 2022, Nemus announced that a further 6.1 million hectares is “currently under negotiation and soon to be at the ready”.
REDD-Monitor wrote about Nemus shortly after it launched, in March 2022:
Pressure from Nemus
On 25 July 2022, Brazil’s Federal Prosecution Office (MPF) issued a notice stating that it has given Nemus 15 days to prove that the land belongs to Nemus. The company must also show authorisation from the National Indian Foundation (FUNAI), or any other public body, permitting Nemus to operate in the area.
The MPF notice states that,
The sale of NFTs corresponding to forest areas in Pauini was reported to the MPF by leaders of the Apurinã indigenous people, who traditionally occupy the claimed indigenous territory of Baixo Seruini/Baixo Tumiã.
Indigenous People have reported violations of their rights, “including pressure from the company Nemus”, the MPF notice states.
According to reports from the indigenous people, the company expressed an interest in exploring the Brazil nut groves located within the indigenous territory, with the opening of an airstrip and road between the Seruini River and the municipality of Pauini, using heavy machinery, but without providing further clarifications, documents or formal authorizations from public bodies.
Nemus and free, prior and informed consent?
The Apurinã told MPF that, “people from the company delivered a sign to the villages, written in English, and asked the indigenous people, who can barely read, to sign documents without clarifying the content or providing a copy.”
Federal Prosecutor Fernando Merloto Soave told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that, “The company advertises that indigenous people are benefiting, but at the same time some of them came to us to denounce that they don’t know what is happening.”
Soave added that it was clear that Nemus had not consulted the Indigenous communities, in breach of Convention 169 of the International Labour Organisation.
Nemus told Thomson Reuters Foundation that it had “requested and received formal approval from FUNAI (Brazil’s indigenous affairs agency) to navigate along the Seruini River”. The Seruini River is the access route to the 41,000 hectares that Nemus claims to have bought.
On 2 August 2022, on the Nemus Discord channel, @creatorcharlie (who is a co-founder of Nemus) commented that, “The (Nemus) team is aware and waiting for the meeting with the MPF to take place to clarify things and make a statement, it should be this week.”
Non Fungible Territory
On 20 July 2022, Nemus put out a press release under the headline, “World’s First ‘Non-Fungible Territory’ Declared by Indigenous Communities in Brazil”. A company video shows Silvio Antonio de Souza, from the Indigenous Apurinã community, apparently changing the name of the land claimed by Nemus to “Non-Fungible Territory”. The form he puts his fingerprint on in the local notary’s office is dated 27 April 2022.
“(Nemus) said they would buy the land and give it to us. But we already lived there – our veterans, grandfathers, great grandfathers all died there.
“They say they want to buy the land to preserve the forest. But we are preservers, we have been here for a long time and it was never deforested.”