Going down the ReFi Rabbit Hole

Boyd Cohen, Ph.D. CEO IoMob
4 min readFeb 10, 2023

Based on conversations with people in ReFi or trying to enter ReFi I realized the community could benefit from a summary of key resources to explore when seeking to go down the ReFi rabbit hole.

Please consider adding comments if you wish to add other resources I missed.

Major Organizations Promoting and Uniting the ReFi Ecosystem

  1. ReFi DAO Great initiative designed to unite the entire ReFi community through grant programs, a podcast, a database of growing ReFi projects and more.
  2. Climate Collective A non-profit initiative launched by the Celo Foundation to promote climate positive crypto solutions. Originally they were more Celo-centric but they have gradually become more agnostic to projects built on other blockchains.
  3. Ethereum Climate Platform Launched last year by ConsenSys with a whole host of web 3 native ReFi committed supporters.
  4. Blockchain X Climate Leadership Network Launched in 2022 but formerly announced Davos in 2023, they have a similar mandate to Climate Collective regarding uniting Web 3 and legacy and Web 2 (and governments) to accelerate climate action on crypto rails.
  5. Loa Labs Leading strategic marketing agency globally for the ReFi movement. Also participating in many other initiatives including Blockchain X Climate.

Best Podcasts

  1. ReFi DAO Podcast From the ReFi DAO and clearly one of the best and must listen podcasts in the space.
  2. Green Pill Launched by Kevin Owocki (founder of Gitcoin) last year in partnership with Bankless (the best mainstream crypto podcast in my opinion). Kevin is a deep thinker and so are his guests.
  3. Crypto Altruism is a blog and podcast which is now going on 100 episodes and focuses on interviewing crypto founders in the impact space
  4. The Ownership Economy is a thoughtful podcast exploring the role crypto can redistribute wealth to value creators and contributors with a philosophical and deep commitment to sustainability
  5. Planet of the Klimates is a podcast from one of the early leaders in ReFi, KlimaDAO, but the podcast is not self promotion but rather highlight stories and founders of other ReFi projects
  6. Planetary Regeneration is a podcast by Gregory Landua, co-founder of the Regen Network. I had not heard of this one until someone in the ReFi community informed me it was missing from the original version of this post.

Early Leaders in ReFi Investing

It is very early days with respect to ReFi focused funds, but here are some of my favorites so far:

  1. Cerulean Ventures is an early stage seed fund focused deeply on ReFi. They are big fans of Cosmos but are blockchain agnostic. (Note: Jahed is both a partner in Cerulean and one of the co-hosts of The Ownership Economy)
  2. Flori Ventures is also an early stage seed fund in ReFi (at this stage most ReFi funds are). In their case they prefer Celo.
  3. Vanagon Ventures is also an early stage ReFi fund with a thesis focus on: financial inclusion, climate and user/community ownership.
  4. Allegory focuses at the intersection of web 3 and climate.
  5. eWealthTech (eWT) is currently in “stealth mode” but looks like it is about to make a major splash on the ReFi world stage as one of the first, and largest, growth stage ReFi funds. (Don’t judge them by their website!)
  6. Verda Ventures is one of the newest players on the block, and like eWT is also focused more on the growth stage, an area currently under resources so definitely rooting for them. Verda, like Flori is Celo oriented, not surpisingly given their MP is the former CFO of Celo.

Base Blockchain Protocols

Every Proof of Stake (PoS) blockchain is promoting their low carbon credentials. That does not make them a ReFi blockchain. PoS systems are by default very efficient, so it is too easy to become carbon neutral. You need to get under the hood to really appreciate what level of commitment they have at a leadership level as well as what kind of developer community is emerging around them.

In my opinion, there are at least five worth investigating thoroughly and I explained that in my post on the ReFi Climate Stack recently.

As you can see, in my opinion the 5 early leaders in the ReFi space are Celo, Cosmos, Hedera, NEAR and Polygon. Related to the prior category about venture funds, all of these five have ecosystem funds that allocate some or all of their funding to ReFi projects. And all of these have important levels of executive commitment and builder communities too. In this post, I explained why we chose Celo to be our partner for deploying the on-chain components of our ReFi project, WheelCoin.

ReFi Rockstars worth Following in Twitter

John Ellison, Cofounder of ReFi DAO

Rene Reinsberg, Cofounder, Celo

Anna Lerner, CEO of Climate Collective

Jahed Momand, Cofounder, Cerulean Ventures

Gregory Landua, Cofounder, Regen Network

Ethan Buchman, Cofounder, Cosmos

Evîn Cheikosman, Crypto Sustainability Coalition of the World Economic Forum

Nisa Amoils, Partner in a100x, advisor to Celo and all around superstar in the Women in Crypto and ReFi space (note I may be biased as she is both an investor in Iomob and a friend of mine :)

Conclusion

The ReFi space is moving even faster than the rest of Web 3 (which already moves exponentionally faster than the rest of the economy). So this list is likely to be woefully outdated soon. Would love for the ReFi community to add emerging players I missed or that arrive in the coming months (without self promotion please). This is not a post, or list of the growing number of ReFi projects, but intended to be a starting point for someone new to ReFi to get their feet wet and allow them to go down the rabbit hole.

Thanks!

--

--

Boyd Cohen, Ph.D. CEO IoMob

Boyd is a researcher and entrepreneur in smart, sustainable & entrepreneurial cities, He´s authored 3 books & is CEO of IoMob. boydcohen.impress.ly