Regenerative Finance (ReFi)
I’ve always been interested in tapping into the “crowd” to fund things that need to happen and that our current institutions can’t figure out how to support. Our investment in Kickstarter back in 2009 is an excellent example of that. In the last thirteen years, Kickstarter has helped direct $6.2bn towards creative work that would not have been funded by the legacy institutions that support creative work. That has led to all sorts of interesting projects which are too numerous to mention here.
Our interest in web3 which started back in 2011 was also grounded in the idea that new forms of funding are necessary to finance innovation and creative work. I am not sure if anyone has tracked how much funding the web3 sector has directed towards new projects over the last decade, but I am certain it is in the tens of billions, if not more. And the vast majority of this funding has come from individuals, not institutions.
As we turn our attention toward climate and the existential threat of a warming planet, these ideas are top of mine for me. And that is why Regenerative Finance (aka ReFI) is so interesting to me. ReFi is an idea, like DeFi, based on a set of web3 technologies and economics, that suggests that efforts to combat climate change can and will be funded by the crowd.
My friends Gordon and Courtney built the New Atlantis DAO to create open public datasets about the evolving ocean climate and funding mechanisms to support work that moves the data in the right direction. If you click on the tweet I posted above, you can learn more about that.
But that is just one of many different ReFi projects that are being started right now.
USV is invested in the Toucan Protocol which is building the web3 infrastructure to bring carbon offsets on-chain and to allow them to be traded/invested/etc using DeFi protocols. There has been some negative press about Toucan, but that reporting misunderstands what Toucan is doing and why it is so important.
It is ironic that many in the environmental justice and climate movements are so anti web3. Because web3 presents a set of tools, technologies, and economics that can and is being used to bring badly needed innovation, innovators, and funds to the fight.
It is my hope that ReFi is the movement that brings all of these folks together and aligns us all to fight the good fight, the necessary fight and that we win this fight.