Building and musing about the future of blockchain-based regenerative finance in Medellin. Blockchain eco-warriors descended on Medellin, Colombia last week to stake a claim for the role the technology can play in regenerating the planet. The Cosmoverse conference seemed a world away from the “crypto winter” that has deflated some of the utopian hype around the alternative currencies. Pioneers of regenerative finance, or “ReFi,” aim to use blockchain and crypto to direct capital via carbon credits to projects restoring ecosystems on the ground, from urban forest restoration in the U.S., to regeneration of rainforest and wetland ecosystems in the Congo Basin. “Blockchain holds so much wild potential, and beneath the hype of token price speculation are projects using this technology to make the world a better place,” said Gregory Landua of Regen Network, a leader of the ReFi movement. Landua was in Medellin, along with hundreds of developers using the open source Cosmos blockchain, and ImpactAlpha’s Dan Keeler, to present the firm’s new carbon trading platform, which will enable nature-based developers to list projects directly without intermediaries (for context, see “Positive externalities: Carrots as well as sticks for the carbon era”).
Dealflow: Clean Energy
Bluestar Energy Capital launches with $100 million for renewable energy development. Bluestar Energy is a new renewable energy investment firm launched by Declan Flanigan, the former head of Danish power company Orsted’s onshore wind business. The Chicago-based firm will provide early-stage development finance and operating capital for wind, solar and energy storage projects in Europe. S2G Ventures and Great Bay Renewables backed the firm. Bluestar plans to launch subsidiaries to invest in projects in North America (Nova Clean Energy) and Australia (Bluestar Energy Australia).
Signals: Impact Management
VCs ♥️ ESG. Red-state politicians are fanning the flames of an anti-ESG backlash. Venture capitalists, meanwhile, are embracing environmental, social and governance practices to strengthen their portfolios. More than three-quarters of VCs claim to fully or partly adopt sustainable principles, according to PitchBook’s “Sustainable Investment Survey.” Driving the adoption: an influx of capital to climate tech and new disclosure regulations in Europe and the U.S., says Tracy Barba, the founder of ESG4VC, which helps venture firms fast-track their ESG policies and practices. VCs from HarbourVest, Softbank, Bay Bridge Partners and Sapphire Ventures last month turned out to “ESG Meets Silicon Valley VC,” an event co-hosted by ESG4VC. “Funding technologies without consideration of unintended consequences on society or the environment, backing founders that are accountable to no one, and their poor performance when it comes to diversity needs to change,” said Barba. “The time is now."
Agents of Impact: Follow the Talent
Shell Ventures' Phoebe Wang, Solar One's Angelica Ramdhari,and Apple's Lisa Jackson are among nine women selected by the U.S. Department of Energy’s for 2022 Clean Energy Education and Empowerment Awards… Farmers Business Networkseeks a remote managing director of equity investments… Bluestar Energy Capital seeks a senior director of business development in Dublin and a director of business development in Chicago (see Dealflow, above).