Opinion

How Crypto is Regenerating the World

ImpactDAOs are channeling a force of good in Web3. Take the Green Pill.
Kevin Owocki May 18, 20228 min read
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How Crypto is Regenerating the World

Dear Bankless Nation,

Let’s face it… crypto doesn’t have the best rep.

When the mainstream media covers crypto, it’s depicted either as a get-rich-quick dream or the wild wild west of Ponzi-land.

Is there a more redeeming take of Web3 we can portray to the world?

Thankfully, yes.

Thousands of Web3 developers and entrepreneurs are building DAOs which are solving real world problems and creating positive impact.

These efforts include combating climate change, funding public biotech research, creating digital public goods, assisting humanitarian efforts in the Ukraine war and much more.

Today, Kevin gives us a peek into this world of DAOs that are channeling a force of good.

- Bankless


How ImpactDAOs Are Regenerating the World

Many people entering crypto today were drawn to it because their curiosity was piqued by stories of high APYs and Bitcoin/NFT millionaires.

Enticed by a shortcut to riches, many make their first foray into Web3 in pursuit of overnight wealth. If that’s all you’re interested in, fine.

But if that was all Web3 had to offer to the world, it wouldn’t be a convincing sell to anyone outside the financial world.

More importantly, it wouldn’t be worth paying attention to.

Crypto needs to prove itself as a force of humanitarian good to the world:

  1. Can crypto fix societal problems that today’s political and market institutions cannot? Can it create credible solutions?
  2. What positive impact does it create for the average person?
  3. Can it create outcomes beyond financial wealth for the already-rich?

These are the questions that confront the crypto community, and that needs to be persuasively answered against its skeptics.

The world is watching, and judgment will be passed by consumers and policymakers alike.

Crypto as a force of good

The good news is that there are many projects in crypto already working to regenerate the world, and have the potential to scale to create much more impact.

We call these projects ImpactDAOs: An ImpactDAO is any DAO that creates positive externalities for the world.

Proof Of Humanity

An example is Proof of Humanity (PoH), a social identity layer system on Ethereum that aims to identify everyone through decentralized “webs of trust” i.e., a Sybil-proof list of humans.

How does PoH bring us closer to a regenerative society? Self-sovereign identity validation is the bedrock infrastructure to implementing ambitious policies like a Universal Basic Income (UBI).

Proponents of a UBI want to give a small money stipend to every unique individual. It’s a nice idea in theory, but to reach the pockets of a million dispersed anons around the globe is no easy feat.

If each person is entitled to one share of UBI distribution in the form of UBI tokens, we first need to reliably establish the unique identities of billions of people.

When properly executed, people in Kenya or Ghana will have the same access to financial income as someone in London or New York.

You don’t need a bank account or any crypto to be onboarded onto PoH. The only condition to receive UBI is to register as a verified human.

Today, 13,948 registered humans receive $UBI tokens every hour. The $UBI token is a necessary currency layer to put a value on time in an open, global market.

Proof of Humanity is just one example of an ImpactDAO. Many more successful ImpactDAOs operate in the world today across a diverse set of vectors.

GitcoinDAO

The impact of open-source software in modern life today is omnipresent. Open-source code underlies the apps and services we use on a daily basis from social media to ride-hailing and cloud services.

Open source software contributes $500B in yearly economic output, but very little value accrues to these developers, since creators and maintainers of digital public goods have no effective ways to monetize their work.

Gitcoin DAO empowers communities to build and fund many of such digital public goods.

Gitcoin's initial focus was to realign incentives between open-source software, those who use it, and those who create and maintain it. Gitcoin has distributed $58M through 13 Gitcoin Quadratic Funding Grants rounds. Although many projects on Gitcoin involve digital public goods, these rounds have gone on to support a plurality of global public goods such as longevity, climate change, and peace efforts in Ukraine.  The most recent round, Grants Round 13, had 2415 active grants, which is a 20x over the initial round two years ago.

Toucan

Toucan provides Web3 building blocks for a regenerative economy by bridging carbon credits onto public blockchains. Traditional brokers charge excessive fees that get passed along to the buyer, lack transparency, and are done OTC - which takes time to negotiate. Toucan cuts out the intermediaries, replacing them with smart contracts  to enable a transparent and efficient flow of money to impact projects.

Increasing credit’s demand and price signals catalyzes new environmental project development.

The Toucan Carbon Bridge allows anyone to transfer carbon credits from legacy registries (1-1 to a carbon token) to Toucan's blockchain-based Meta-Registry. It is a one-way bridge to prevent double-counting as users retire the credits on the source registry before bringing them on-chain.

When a carbon credit is tokenized, its on-chain version is a TCO2 "carbon token". Anyone with a wallet can hold, buy, sell, and retire carbon tokens. Often, buying a full carbon tonne is prohibitively expensive. Users can now buy small portions of credits with Toucan's native fractionalization.

As of April 3rd, there are 18M CO2 tonnes bridged and 167 projects tokenized. With the enhanced utility of carbon credits, we can put verifiable climate action at the core of our everyday financial system. Just by having, holding and using money, we can contribute to a regenerative economy.

Regen Network

Regen is creating an open-source toolkit to measure, value, and improve the health of our natural world and to align our economy to regenerative ecological outcomes.

Anyone can select a methodology within the Regen Network, register a project, begin framework implementation, and get financing through Regen Network’s marketplace. With on-chain governance tools, credits can also be used as local currencies. Working alongside land stewards, biologists, data scientists, and others, Regen has developed over 40+ methodologies with 12 million hectares of ecological regeneration in the pipeline.

Regen’s Web3 native carbon and ecological asset registry is community-driven, transparent, and dynamic. The methodologies that form the registry holistically value ecosystems. They are making it so everyone can invest directly in a multitude of ecological benefits which creates new nature-based markets.

Kolektivo

Kolektivo is enabling local impact economies for local communities to create and manage their own regenerative economies.

While implementing their own framework for Kolektivo's first MVP in the Caribbean island of Curaçao, Kolektivo will translate their work on implementing these economies for other communities.

They have allocated over 40 grants ($50K in total) to local impact projects, all proposed and elected by Kolektivo’s community members. Projects include planting 1500m² of Food Forest on the island as well as the launching of the CuraDAI pilot app on the Fuse network which empowers over 300 local community members to transact regenerative currencies.

Other Examples

Here are a few more examples:

The positive externalities of ImpactDAOs are not purely financial.

They cut across many vectors in any of the following eight forms of capital.

DAO cartography

As more ImpactDAOs appear, I believe there will be an increasingly important job to be done of DAO cartography. Cartography is “the science or practice of drawing maps.”, and we seek to create a map of different ImpactDAOS.

By cataloging these ImpactDAOs and articulating their impact to the world, we could enable the world to see the power of Regenerative CryptoEconomics, and we can route talent to the places where they do the most good for the world.

A few months ago, I realized there was a place for ImpactDAO Cartographers - people who would study ImpactDAOs - in the ecosystem - and help articulate their impact. I am happy to say that a handful of amazingly smart and dedicated folks showed up, and we've been assembling a number of resources on the diverse ecosystem of ImpactDAOs that has been proliferating in Web3.

We set out to map the ImpactDAO ecosystem by identifying credible projects and measure its Impact the best we could. Through our research process, we discovered hundreds of ImpactDAOs.

Once we assembled a database of these projects, the next step was to find opportunities for cross-pollination of intellectual/economic/human resources between them. Here is a map of how they all relate to each other on Twitter. Each dot is an ImpactDAO, and each edge is a follower that is shared between two ImpactDAOs:

Once we saw the social relationships between ImpactDAOs, we began trying to create a taxonomy of ImpactDAOs by type of Impact:

  • Regenerative Economies
  • Regenerative Finance
  • Coordination, tooling, & infrastructure
  • Applied Research
  • Commons Pools
  • Culture & Education
  • Decentralized Science

The result is the following ImpactDAO Map:

Our research culminated in a comprehensive ebook resource that catalogs all of the Web3 ImpactDAO projects doing good for the world.

There are dozens of examples of successful ImpactDAOs in the world today, and hundreds more inchoate projects. We articulate their value propositions, techniques, and provide a map to help members of the Web3 ecosystem who are working on regenerative crypto to find each other.

It complements our recently released GreenPilled book about how crypto can regenerate the world with a transparent, immutable, global, and programmable financial system holding $2 trillion worth of capital.

This capital goes toward an ambitious effort to construct a flourishing Web3 digital commons to support building local and global public goods.

Human action

Theory is the eye lens through which we use to view and interpret the world. But missing from the conversation thus far is empirical knowledge (obtained from observation) of how crypto is regenerating the world.

If the GreenPilled book is theory, this book is about action. Theory without action is impotence. Action without theory is directionless. But together, theory and action present a powerful Schelling point for resisting the narrative that Web3 is all speculative games for the rich.

We invite you to learn about the world of ImpactDAOs, the foundational atomic building block of an emergent, regenerative, peer to peer, pluralistic civilizational scale infrastructure for funding public goods.

P.S. If you want to pick up a copy of the book, get it at store.gitcoin.co (use code WEB3_4_GOOD and get 50% off the digital copies of the ImpactDAO book and/or GreenPill book - only 50 codes available). To join the ImpactDAO telegram, checkout https://t.me/+ORZ8joj8_AhjM2I5


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