In the previous post, we covered the basics of what regenerative finance is—but how is it currently being used to change the world? The underlying principles are great, but who are the movers and shakers making things happen? While the space is still in its infancy, there is no shortage of real-world examples and evidence of the positive impact these projects are already making on both our economy and the environment.
The Builders: Creating the Infrastructure
In any industry, creating the infrastructure is a crucial part of its success. Blockchains facilitating fast and affordable transactions, carbon-offset projects, and groups developing better tooling for decentralized governance are all creating the building blocks needed to support a flourishing ecosystem of innovative ReFi projects.
Celo is a carbon-negative, EVM-compatible blockchain ecosystem that aims to make financial tools and services more accessible, especially to the unbanked. On a mission to create a regenerative digital economy that creates prosperity for all, Celo has a mobile-first approach, low-cost, multi-currency gas fees, and a vibrant ecosystem of applications across the board. Especially in developing countries where mobile devices are much more common than laptops, this is crucial for accessibility and consistent with their values of financial inclusion, collective wealth, and coordination with purpose.
The voluntary carbon market is a market that facilitates carbon reduction and removal projects by issuing credits that companies and individuals can purchase to offset their carbon footprint. The carbon credits represent a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions via projects ranging from renewable energy to reforestation initiatives. The voluntary carbon market is projected to increase by 15x in the next 10 years, and while it has the potential to protect essential ecosystems, the traditional carbon market also has major challenges, particularly around transparency, price discovery, and accessibility. Projects can be capital-intensive and time-consuming, and standards for measuring, reporting, and verifying emissions reductions have been criticized for their lack of consistency and transparency. Some sources say a significant portion of revenue from carbon offsets isn’t even going to the right source.
Enter Flowcarbon, where anyone can offset carbon and invest in planet-saving projects. Flowcarbon is a marketplace that efficiently pairs projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions with project investors and offset buyers. Through the platform, users can purchase carbon credits representing a specific amount of emissions that have been prevented or removed. Flowcarbon has a rigorous evaluation process to vet carbon offset projects, giving peace of mind to investors who want to know that the projects they’re supporting are actually reducing greenhouse gas emissions and making a true impact.
According to the World Bank, over half of global GDP—$44 trillion in economic value—depends on natural resources. Given this, protecting the world’s ecosystems is crucial to the long-term success of the global economy. However, systemic challenges can often stand in the way of addressing issues like ecosystem degradation or biodiversity loss. Short-term thinking, lack of awareness, and economic incentives to exploit—rather than protect—often put sustainability on the back burner.
Self-described as a science-powered platform, Regen Network seeks to promote sustainable and regenerative practices in agriculture and forestry. They provide investors with an inventory of high-quality ecological impact projects. Then, through this digital (and voluntary) carbon market, corporations can buy, trade, and retire digital carbon credits—backed by real-world climate impact of course—to meet their commitments. Ecological data can be tracked, verified, and used to incentivize the adoption of regenerative practices through cryptocurrency rewards.
The current carbon offset system can also be expensive, resulting in a huge barrier to entry for smaller companies that would otherwise monetize their carbon offsets.
Toucan is a carbon-offsetting platform that aims to make it easy and affordable for individuals and businesses to offset carbon emissions. Tokenization reduces the barrier to entry, allowing both large and small buyers to engage with carbon offsetting. The platform lets users offset carbon emissions by supporting forest conservation and restoration projects around the world, with a mission to help a trillion dollars flow into the best climate solutions. They also provide a personalized carbon footprint calculation, so users can get a better picture of their carbon emissions and opportunities to reduce them. Another unique feature is Toucan’s carbon bridge, which allows anyone to bring their carbon credits on-chain in a tokenized form.
The Organizers: DAOs and Collectives
DAOs and collectives are another important part of the ReFi landscape. By allowing for a more decentralized decision-making process, projects can avoid centralized control, reduce information asymmetry and enable more community-driven decision-making. Drawing from a wide range of perspectives, DAOs can also be the ideal method to foster innovation and test out new business models.
Many of the original DAOs were built around financial use cases, such as governance systems for defi protocols. "Impact DAOs" expanded this concept into a new use case, coordinating at scale and financing initiatives that have a positive impact on the world. Carbon offsets, social justice issues, and scientific research are just a few examples of how ImpactDAOs are being used.
Some of the problems that ReFi aims to address are complex, interconnected problems that cannot be tackled by any one industry or profession alone.
The Climate Collective is a diverse coalition of innovators using digital technology to drive real-world, verifiable climate action. Their mission is to build a trusted market for high-quality, digital environmental assets that enable people and the planet to thrive. With members ranging from non-profits and DAOs to scientists and tech companies, they offer grants to accelerate regenerative web3 applications and aim to tackle climate change by creating a platform for collaboration, knowledge-sharing, and action. Ultimately, they believe addressing climate change requires collective action and collaboration across all sectors of society—where individuals from all backgrounds and perspectives unite with a common goal to create systemic change.
KlimaDAO is working to address the problem of climate change through the development of decentralized and interoperable infrastructure for the Digital Carbon Market. Holders of the $KLIMA token can participate directly in DAO governance decisions to influence how the protocol responds to market needs. Built on top of the Polygon network and in collaboration with other protocols in the ReFi space, KlimaDAO aims to bring transparency, accessibility, and efficiency to the carbon markets. KlimaDAO has recently launched Carbonmark, a universal carbon marketplace that allows users to access the millions of carbon credits held within the KlimaDAO ecosystem.
The Incentivizers: Gamification and Tokenization
Gamification can help drive change because it engages people in a more fun and interactive way than traditional approaches. It provides a sense of challenge and taps into our desire to achieve, motivating us to do things we may not have otherwise. Ultimately, gamification can be a powerful tool for promoting behavior change and achieving impact—and the ReFi space is no exception.
SweatCoin is a mobile app that uses gamification to encourage people to be more physically active and walk more. Through the app, its users’ daily steps are rewarded with a currency that can then be used to purchase products or donated to a variety of environmental and humanitarian causes. Not only does this promote health and wellness among its users, but encouraging walking over driving at scale ultimately reduces carbon emissions and air pollution. Sweatcoin has also partnered with various companies and organizations that promote sustainability, such as tree planting and clean water projects.
Saving The Planet Pays Off
There has often been a perception that projects focused on environment and sustainability are simply an expense, rather than a contributor to economic growth. However, research indicates this is false, and the projects above are providing further proof that helping the planet pays off. ReFi projects not only create jobs and spur innovation, but can often produce significant financial returns along with their positive impact.
From those laying the groundwork and creating the foundation that other projects can build upon, to dApps that incentivize real-world change through gamification, these innovative projects are helping us reimagine the path we’re on. They’re showing us that protecting nature isn’t just ethical, but can be a sound financial choice as well.
How Can I Get Involved?
If you’re inspired by the impressive work these projects are doing or excited about the ability of crypto to impact our world, there are so many ways to get involved. In our next post, we’ll cover some of the opportunities to get deeper and put your desire for change into action.
In the meantime, we’ve curated this Twitter list with the incredible initiatives mentioned above so you can keep up with the latest developments and learn more about the amazing #regens working hard to build a more sustainable future.