Flowcarbon funding round proves reputation means nothing in crypto

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Flowcarbon, backed by infamous WeWork founder Adam Neumann, announced over $70 million in combined venture investment and token sale proceeds on Tuesday — proving once again there’s no such thing as a bad reputation in crypto.

Flowcarbon is a ‘tokenized’ carbon-credit exchange, deployed on the Celo blockchain. It advertises itself as “creating deep liquidity in the carbon market and allowing for efficient price discovery.” 

What this actually means is Flowcarbon wants to be the corporate OpenSea of trading non-binding, self-created carbon offsets for excess pollution — with the specific aim of enabling DAOs and DeFi projects to burn on-chain tokens so they can market themselves as carbon neutral.

Samsung Next, General Catalyst, and Invesco Private Capital participated in the funding round. It was led by Andreessen Horowitz’s crypto fund. However, Neumann’s track record would — and should — make any investor wary.

  • Neumann reportedly had a penchant for tequila-fueled office parties and has been in a tight spot regarding illegal marijuana consumption on a private jet.
  • Before WeWork imploded, the now-43-year-old privately bought real estate and rented it to his own company. Meanwhile, Neumann was borrowing money from his firm with very little interest
  • Neumann trademarked the word “We” and later changed WeWork to “The We Company” — a transition that required the firm to pay him almost $6 million. After public outrage, the founder paid it back.

Flowcarbon feels like on-chain déjà vu

Indeed, short memories and a lack of skepticism seem integral to this particular style of investing other people’s capital. A similar endeavor, the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX), shuttered when carbon market prices plummeted amid concern US environmental legislation wouldn’t pass.

Flowcarbon describes why it thinks web3 is the way to go when it comes to carbon credits.

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Flowcarbon’s extensive FAQ page shows the lone differentiator between CCX and itself is “it’s web3, bro.” The venture even has its own proprietary carbon-credit-backed token, named Goddess Nature Token (GNT). As one would expect, it’s not listed on any major exchanges but the pre-sale waitlist is live on the website.

By now, failing upwards on platinum parachutes is a common occurrence in crypto. Time will tell if Flowcarbon and GNT end up enriching investors by saving the environment with blockchain … or if the man who trademarked the word “We” to sell to his own company ends up laughing all the way to the bank, alone, again.

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