Regenerative Finance (ReFi) for Everyone

How to Get Started with ReFi Topics, Projects & Platforms

Arun Devan
5 min readAug 17, 2023
Finance to build solutions to overcome global issues like the climate emergency, environmental degradation, declining quality of fresh water, biodiversity loss, etc

Regenerative Finance (ReFi) is a financial system that prioritizes the health and resilience of ecosystems, communities, and the planet over monetary gain.

It is important for addressing social and environmental challenges because it uses money as a tool to solve systemic problems and regenerate communities and natural environments. It also leverages decentralized finance (DeFi) and blockchain technology to create transparent, inclusive and accountable financial systems that support regenerative projects and platforms.

Get to Know ReFi

ReFi is a multidisciplinary field that involves the integration of different domains of knowledge and practice, such as:

  • Finance: ReFi uses money as a tool to support change makers who are moving our economy from being extractive to being regenerative.
  • Technology: It leverages Web3 technologies, such as blockchain, to create decentralized, transparent and inclusive financial systems that support regenerative projects and platforms.
  • Ecology: ReFi supports ecological restoration and regeneration, such as improving soil health, biodiversity, water quality and carbon sequestration.
  • Sociology: It supports social justice and empowerment, such as addressing racial inequities, marginalization, ownership and representation.
  • Law: ReFi faces legal and regulatory challenges and opportunities, such as creating new frameworks and standards for green finance, regenerative finance and green fintech.

Key ReFi Topics to Dive Into

During your exploration of ReFi, the following are some topics that you should acquaint yourself with:

Baseline: The Tragedy of the Commons, UN SDG (Sustainable Development Goals), The Global South, Regenerative Finance (ReFi), ESG (Environmental, Social, & Governance), Inclusive Finance, Impact Investing, Regenerative Economic Theory, Regenerative Mindset, Doughnut Economic Model

The Climate Emergency: Green House Gas (GHG) Emissions, The Carbon Cycle, Planetary Boundaries, Biodiversity Loss

Distinction between: Extraction, Sustainability & Regeneration

Carbon Reduction, Removal & Sequestration

The Carbon Market: Carbon Credits, Biodiversity Credits, Carbon Exchanges, Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC), Emission Trading Systems (ETS), Voluntary Carbon Market (VCM), Nature Based Solutions (NBS), Carbon Credit Tokenization, Lifecycle Traceability

Global Accords: Kyoto Protocol, Paris Agreement, Conference of the Parties (COP), United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Net Zero Pledges, UAE Consensus

Web3 Tech: Blockchains, Smart Contracts, DeFi (Decentralized Finance), Oracles, Internet of Things (IoT), DAOs (Decentralized Autonomous Organizations), Fungible & Non Fungible Tokens (NFTs), Quadratic Funding, Decentralized Physical Infrastructure Network (DePIN)

Impact Measurement: MRV (Measurement, Reporting & Verification), dMRV (digital / decentralized MRV)

Denial & other opposition tactics: FLICC (Fake experts, Logical fallacies, Impossible expectations, Cherry picking, Conspiracy Theories), VCM Challenges

Learning Pathways

Learn about ReFi from various sources: books, videos, courses, discussions in community platforms, participating in ReFi projects, etc

You can learn about ReFi in several ways:

  • Read articles and books that explain the concepts and practices of ReFi. For example, you can read the book GreenPilled by Ken Owocki, the Ethereum Foundation’s ReFi site or by following this author who is publishing ReFi related posts.
  • Listen to audiobooks related to the topic. Examples include the aforementioned GreenPilled and Working to Restore by Esha Chhabra.
  • Review The Impact DAO Book. It is an excelent reference on impact DAOs that focus on positive externalities. They achieve this through actions targeted at improving the health of the planet or people.
  • Watch videos on YouTube. You could start with this playlist: Green Pill by Bankless.
  • Take online courses that impart the skills and knowledge needed to participate in ReFi. For example, you can take this free course that applies the patterns and principles of regeneration to the practice of finance: ReFi Talents by the Frankfurt School. You could also consider paid learning programs like Finance for a Regenerative Economy by the Capital Institute.
  • Following thought leaders on the topic on X, like Ken Owocki, ReFi Talents and Stephen Allen.
  • Joining communities and networks that share information and experiences about ReFi. You can find ReFi communities and networks on platforms such as Discord, Telegram, Twitter, Reddit, and Medium. Examples include ReFiDAO, a network state on a mission to regenerate the Earth and the Crypto Sustainability Coalition launched by the World Economic Forum

Discover Opportunities to Participate in ReFi Projects

One can participate in ReFi Projects in several ways:

  1. Join a DAO: You can invest in or donate to ReFi projects and enterprises that are creating positive social and environmental impact. You can also use their products or services, or provide feedback or suggestions. Participate in the discussions where you can contribute and if you are a DAO token holder you can join a guild, submit proposals, vote on proposals and be part of the implementation team. An example would be KlimaDAO, a platform to accelerate climate / regenerative finance on a global scale.
  2. Join a project: Either in a unpaid position as an intern or volunteer to build up your ReFi profile or as a paid employee working remote or in-person in an office. Some examples of ReFi projects and enterprises are Toucan Protocol, Quadratic Lands, Regen Network, RSF Social Finance, and many more
  3. Launch Your ReFi Startup: Launching a startup can be a an impactful and rewarding venture. While it holds the potential for success, it is also fraught with several challenges. Since ReFi is a multi-disciplinary endeavor, it may make sense to identify co-founders who have domain expertise in several areas. Do look out for an upcoming post where I will elaborate on the critical aspects that all startups should take note of.

Conclusion

If you are new to ReFi, a good starting point would be to learn about it so that you can make progress without facing too many challenges. During your learning journey and when you start to participate in ReFi projects, start to journalize your experience by writing blog posts, sharing summaries in social media, creating short videos for YouTube or TikTok or presenting during remote or in-person meetups. These efforts will create a ‘digital trail’ that will help you raise your profile in the ReFi industry and potentially uncover rewarding and impactful jobs or attract co-founders to your startup.

What Can You Do Next?

Check out the resources mentioned in the post above and start to get acquainted with the ReFi industry.

If you found this post interesting, please clap (as many times as you like!) and bookmark it for future reference.

I plan to publish additional posts related to ReFi. If you would like to be kept updated, please follow me. You could review my first ReFi related post: Employing ReFi to Develop Solutions to Tackle Global Polycrises

Thank you for making it to the end of this post. May we build regenerative and restorative solutions so that we can leave the planet in a better state for future generations!

Credits:

Images in this post were generated from Lexica.art.

Some research for this post was done with GPT-4.

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Arun Devan

Web3 explorer. Mentor with DeFiTalents.io. Enterprise blockchain trainer.