Since joining the Gitcoin Grants Climate team, I often receive incredulous questions from friends and family—even my dogs give me curious looks—all along the same lines: Why Crypto, Why Gitcoin Grants? Can Crypto really help address Climate and other in-real-life (IRL) problems? And what exactly do you mean by taking the green pill?
I’m excited to be part of the Gitcoin Grant climate team for two main reasons: 1) web3 has the potential to actually create value for those who contribute meaningful, positive impact in the world; 2) In my first-hand experience, Gitcoin’s quarterly grants program brings people from all over the world together to coordinate, fund and build local and global projects for the commons, using an innovative matching mechanism called Quadratic Funding.
In sum, there is SO much more to web3—yes, it’s a mystery why no one ever seems to capitalize the “w”—than simply Bitcoin and DeFi, including its mind-blowing potential to build, fund and accelerate the issue nearest and dearest to my heart: addressing Climate Change. Wondering how you can get involved in building a better world? Read on to learn how you can join me and take the green pill, become part of the ReGen community and use crypto to help fund, coordinate and support vital climate solutions.
When I first started navigating around the bold, new-to-me world of crypto, I spent time on Twitter searching on hashtags like #climatexcrypto and #blockchainforgood. Someone recommended following @Gitcoin on Twitter, which led to reading the Greenpilled book which led to listening to every Green Pill podcast, all three (Gitcoin, the Greenpilled book and the podcast) built by a charismatic, super-smart human who seems to inhabitant an alternative universe filled with endless new words like ReFi, ReGen, DAOs, DeSoc, Impact Certificates—the illustrious Kevin Owocki. It’s a brave new world and I encourage you to research these mind-expanding topics. See what inspires you to learn more and then get involved in collaborating in the design of new models not only for climate solutions, but also for ownership, identity, governance and incentivizing positive impact. My newest passion is impact certificates, but that’s a topic for another blog.
“So many systemic Networked Goods, Public Goods, ReGen causes that people could work on, and the fact that they could earn a living doing it to me seems like…the thing to shoot for." — Kevin Owocki
Another great resource for understanding the potential of web3 to transform our world and to contribute to building public goods is the work of Josh Rosenthal, a historian who is brilliant at putting crypto into historical context. I learn more and get more action steps each time I listen to Josh speak. Don’t miss his appearance on the Bankless podcast, episodes #63: The Crypto Renaissance and #126: The Crypto Revolution.
“If you’re into crypto, you’re into a story echoing throughout the ages, Renaissance and revolution now…it’s about what you choose to do and I’d like to invite you to build, to find your calling and pursue it at all costs for yourself and for your neighbor.” — Josh Rosenthal
If you are still reading this blog, then it’s likely you grasp our desperate planetary situation. In the midst of government inaction/institutional failure, corporate greenwashing and the unrelenting propaganda tactics of the fossil fuel behemoths, we clearly need a bold new mechanism to address the urgent threat known as Climate Change. Here are three reasons that we can no longer turn away from our problems and pretend someone else will solve them:
There is a better way and that’s why many are turning to web3 to fund public goods and incentivize the regeneration of our planet. We are venturing beyond cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, funding and creating and supporting new climate solutions that utilize Ethereum’s enhanced capabilities for smart contracts, programmable money and Regenerative Finance (ReFi)—these blockchain technologies have enormous potential to catalyze climate solutions at an unprecedented scale.
Many people fixate on the environmental costs of digital currencies, but it is also important to remember that web3 technology offers unique, much-needed tools to facilitate climate solutions. In addition, efforts are underway to significantly lower the blockchain’s energy usage. For example, Ethereum will soon transition from using Proof of Work (PoW), or cryptocurrency “mining,” to Proof of Stake (PoS) which requires 99.95% less energy.
While I wholeheartedly agree that we must continue the efforts to lower our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in web3, and everywhere, I believe that we can simultaneously use the immense power of blockchain tech to build and accelerate climate action. As veteran climate activist, Bill McKibben asserts: “Winning slowly is just another way of losing in Climate Change.” The challenge is serious, intense and acute, and now is the time to focus on harnessing the power of decentralized web technology to build and scale solutions.
If you search the internet and Twitter for crypto x climate, you’ll find many DAOs (Decentralized Autonomous Organizations) working to address Climate Change. I’m especially excited about ImpactDAOs, organizations using web3 to create positive externalities in the world. One exciting example is the Gitcoin DAO which runs a quarterly crowdfunding campaign called Gitcoin Grants with the expansive mission to empower communities to build and support public goods like Open Source Software, Climate Solutions and Support for Ukrainians.
Gitcoin Grants includes a Climate Solution Round dedicated to climate projects such as funding solar installations and tree planting, combating global climate disinformation, tokenizing solar RECs, verifying carbon offsets and so much more. It utilizes an innovative matching mechanism called Quadratic Funding, a democratic way to distribute funds via a matching mechanism based on the number of donors, not just the total amount donated. In Kevin Owocki’s words: “Quadratic Funding optimizes for the preferences of the poor and the many instead of the rich and the few.” When coupled with the global reach and regenerative, transparent capabilities of web3, I have seen for myself how this powerful funding tool works to align community values and incentivize people to build for positive impact in our world.
Diving deeper into this concept of funding public goods both locally and on a global scale, you may wonder why climate action is considered a public good; why does Gitcoin Grants include a Climate Solutions round? Many environmental resources such as unpolluted air, clean water, biodiversity and a stable climate are characterized as public goods because they are produced by nature and available to everyone. Despite a healthy planet having a seemingly obvious positive impact on human thriving, it remains frustratingly challenging to compel those who benefit from GHG emitting activities to be accountable for their negative “externalities.” Also, with short-term election cycles, our governments are not rewarded for taking the long-term, global coordination necessary to address Climate Change. In short, our economic system and governance model currently reward and incentivize the destruction of our resources and planet instead of rewarding those who are healing and protecting our Earth.
“Reversing climate change is probably best suited to web3 because climate is a mass coordination problem and web3 is a mass coordination tool.” — Craig Wilson, Celo Climate Collective
Are you losing sleep — and hope — worrying about the Climate Crisis? Are you as determined as I am to find new, impactful ways to fund climate projects? Consider taking a look at the Gitcoin Grants Climate Solutions. You will learn about inspiring projects from all over the world, and have the opportunity to fund and support the projects that most resonate with your area of passion. You’ll experience the power of Quadratic Funding and learn how Gitcoin Grants capitalizes on another core benefit of web3: removing the middleman to simplify the process of getting money directly to where it can be most useful. This means builders can secure project resources in proportion to their value creation, no matter their country, their education or their background.
“The only thing better than imagining a better world is co-creating it together.” — Ale Borde, co-author, Impact DAOs
Joining Gitcoin Grants opens up more than just a new path to accelerate climate action; it unlocks an exciting new community of optimistic, enthusiastic people working together from all parts of the world. As one of our climate team members likes to say, “People come for the money and they stay for the community.” So today, I invite you to take the first step, follow the Gitcoin DAO on Twitter, check out the Gitcoin Grants website, experience for yourself how crypto brings people together to support climate action and other key causes such as Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. By joining the generous, passionate, action-oriented Gitcoin Grants community, you can catalyze the power of web3 for the coordination and funding of the ultimate global public good: a healthy, resilient, regenerative, thriving planet Earth.