WeWork founder raises $70m for crypto carbon credit venture

Andreessen Horowitz leads $32m funding round while token pre-sale raises further $38m

Adam Neumann’s time at the helm of WeWork, the office-space unicorn that he co-founded, was nothing short of notorious. After reports of eccentric office behaviour and a doomed IPO attempt seeking a $47bn (£37.5bn) valuation, the Israeli-American stepped down. 

Neumann’s dramatic exit was depicted by Jared Leto in the Apple TV series WeCrashed. WeWork, having eventually gone public, has a market capitalisation of $5bn.

Although he has continued to invest in property, with a 4,000-apartment portfolio worth around $1bn, the businessman has also looked to the crypto sector for his latest venture. 

Flowcarbon

This week, Flowcarbon, a start-up founded by Neumann, announced it had raised $70m to develop a protocol that tokenises carbon credits. The protocol will seek to attract investment into projects that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. 

Venture capital company Andreessen Horowitz’s crypto investment fund a16z (which has $3bn in assets under management) led a $32m funding round that included Invesco and Samsung. Another $38m was raised from the sale of Flowcarbon’s Goddess Nature Token (GNT). 

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Backed by carbon credits issued over the last five years from nature-based projects, GNT will trade on the Celo blockchain. The Celo Foundation, a blockchain association that also received early investment from A16z, purchased $10m of GNT to offset its carbon footprint. 

Flowcarbon CEO Dana Gibber said: “There are powerful economic incentives to destroy and degrade critical natural landscapes around the world, but the voluntary carbon market is a brilliant financial mechanism that creates a counterbalancing incentive to reforest, revitalise and protect nature.”

GNT will by no means be the first carbon credit crypto. However, with such prestigious backing, it may well displace those that have gone before it. The day after Flowcarbon’s announcement, Toucan’s Base Carbon Tonne fell by 14% to $2.14 as of 14:40 BST (UTC +1) today.

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