Adam Neumann, the disgraced founder of WeWork, has ventured into crypto. His new company, Flowcarbon, just raised $70M for a private token sale led by a16z crypto. It wants to provide crypto-based carbon credits to offset pollution from the companies that are slowly killing us all.
When companies harm the environment, they can buy carbon credits to reduce their net emissions. These credits are sold by companies that work to reduce greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere. McKinsey predicts that the $3B carbon credit market could grow to $50B by 2030.
Neumann’s company wants to put this market on the (proof-of-stake) Celo blockchain. Its “Goddess Nature Token” (GNT) is backed by carbon credits certified by Verra, one of the four market-recognized registries.
GNT is a carbon credits stablecoin, essentially. Holders can cash in their tokens for offsets, similar to how, say, Pax Gold can be redeemed for physical gold bars. By putting the coins on Celo, the carbon credits market can access its frothy DeFi market, too.
A16z crypto led the funding round, which also attracted General Catalyst, Samsung Next and Invesco Private Capital, among others.
Flowcarbon’s other co-founders include Dana Gibber, Caroline Klatt, Ilan Stern and Neumann’s wife, Rebekah – although the Neumanns aren’t coming on board to lead the 30-strong company, which already has offices in New York, Montana and Berlin.
There might be a reason for that: while WeWork, the co-working real estate company, was worth $47B in 2019 – it imploded to a valuation of $5B due to concerns about its financial strength, debt, and corporate governance practices.
Neumann brought his luxurious party lifestyle into WeWork. As CEO, he faced controversies such as pregnancy discrimination and smoking weed on a private jet flying across international borders. Combined with WeWork’s financial issues, Neumann’s future at the company was cut short by a SoftBank takeover.
Neumann was ousted from the company in a deal that landed him $1.7B. After cutting ties, Neumann returned home to Israel with his wife to escape the public eye, sold a bunch of real estate, and then moved back to the Hamptons in 2020.
Neumann’s new venture, Flowcarbon, is far from the first to issue crypto for climate credits.
KlimaDAO, a DAO focused on reducing climate change, backs each of its KLIMA tokens with carbon offsets. The DAO has helped absorb over 17M tons of carbon since its launch in May 2021. (The world emits about 51B tons of carbon each year).
Toucan Protocol is similar to KlimaDAO, issuing one Tokenized CO2 (TCO2) token to those that deposit carbon credits. Toucan has bridged over 21M tons of carbon since it launched last October.