GreenFi to Fight Climate Change: Interview with Sweetgum Labs

Climate change is the most imperative challenge in human history. Even though most people know this, many are not motivated to address climate challenges because there is a lack of a visualized platform for rewarding people for consistent green behavior. Sweetgum Labs, founded by Vera Wang and Michael Guan, aims to use blockchain technology and hyper tokenization to help everyone understand, record, and share individual environmental impact and reward climate-conscious behaviors.

Vera and Michael met at Yale and decided to work together because of their mutual desire to “inspire 7 billion people to fight climate change.” Vera Wang is a US Army Veteran, Yale MBA, and ex-J.P.Morgan Banker with a focus on ESG investments. Ironically enough, J.P. Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon’s negative opinion on cryptocurrencies helped to spark Vera’s education in the field: “Jamie Dimon didn’t believe in crypto back then, and a lot of our clients were very cautious about crypto investment, that was when I quickly got into the space in back into 2016 and empowered myself and my clients.” Michael Guan, a serial social entrepreneur and a recent Yale drop-out with a background in tech and crypto, “was always passionate about distributed systems and the tokenized world,” and his international experience across 68 countries allowed him to see the effects of climate change firsthand and urged him to change the world.

According to Wang, Sweetgum Labs is “leading a GreenFi revolution to incentivize people to live sustainable lifestyles while unlocking environmental and financial opportunities in Web3.” To accomplish this, they are releasing the OFF-SET mobile dApp, which uses GameFi elements to empower users to “have fun and visualize their environmental footprint.” They chose this approach to help fight the climate crisis because it gives individuals a chance to see the difference they can make at an individual level, a level that many think does not matter because of its small size relative to the rest of the world.

OFF-SET offers Green-to-earn incentives, the first two being Walk-to-Earn and Drive EV-to-Earn. The EV program will allow users to connect to 18 different brands of EV and hybrid cars for token rewards based on environmentally-conscious driving decisions. Wang expressed excitement about their plans to build a Green Metaverse, starting with these two features: “we empower users to create Green Metaverses. Based on green behaviors, users receive token rewards that can be used to upgrade their Green Planets, the [9,999] NFTs we designed with different features and characteristics. Based on users’ environmental impact and the collection of Green Planets, they can unlock higher token earnings and premium gamification elements.” The platform uses a dual-token model: the $OFF token is the utility token earned through the platform, and $SET is the governance token. They also work with others in the carbon market to generate real-world value and create sustainable tokenomics based on the carbon reductions and climate data captured through the dApp.

Besides their Walk and Drive-to-Earn initiatives, Sweetgum proposes a roadmap for sustainability and ESG. Michael Guan mentioned their “three strategic initiatives” to create global awareness of GreenFi. The first is the Green Academy program, a learn-to-earn platform where people can learn about ESG, sustainability, and how everyone can make an impact to fight climate change while getting rewarded. The second, Green Ambassador, is a university-focused program to “cultivate an off-chain and environmentally conscious community” through campus ambassadors, who will join locally as launch partners. The third initiative, Green Partnerships, is focused on corporate partners and “innovators in the micro-mobility space” like bike and scooter-sharing platforms to incentivize these low-carbon activities. They also want to create partnerships with mainstream corporations to help create “organic sustainability practices” beginning at the individual level. Furthermore, OFF-SET kicked off GreenFi Radio on Twitter, a series of broadcasts every Friday with guest speakers from leading projects in the ReFi and GameFi space to raise global awareness and share updates.

The OFF-SET MVP is scheduled to release at the end of the month, and Sweetgum is currently building its Discord community to find its first 100 users for alpha testing. The public beta will be released around the end of August. However, for those who want to get involved with the community before then, Sweetgum has their July Whitelist Campaign going on in their Discord. They also have an upcoming ReFi Silicon Valley event in early August for in-person community interactions.

Sweetgum’s founders have lofty goals for 2022: Wang wants to see “users across 5 continents who are having fun, earning tokens, and feeling motivated to take climate actions because they are doing good things for the Earth,” and Guan hopes to achieve “1.5 million tons of carbon reduction. ”

Sweetgum is attempting to bring the GreenFi revolution to the mainstream to address the climate crisis and get users excited about making environmentally-friendly changes in their daily lives. With the increasing urgency and popularity of this issue, Sweetgum with the OFF-SET app is positioning itself to be at the forefront of Web3 problem solvers in this industry.

By Lincoln Murr

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