Topl Spotlight #23: DeFi as the Gateway to ReFi With ReFi Hub’s Numa Lunah

Tereza Bizkova
Topl
Published in
6 min readOct 9, 2023

--

Topl Spotlight showcases innovators and changemakers who are reimagining economic systems through web3 technologies. Today, we’re excited to be talking to Numa Lunah, the co-founder of Deus Natura, a studio that builds products dedicated to climate action. Numa also co-founded ReFi Hub, a decentralized finance (DeFi) crowdlending platform, and Coral Tribe NFTs, a collection curated for purpose-driven collectors with the aim of saving corals.

Can you introduce yourself and talk about your experience in web3?

Hi, I’m Adolfo — or Numa. While I co-founded Deus Natura, many recognize me more as the co-founder and community manager of Coral Tribe. My journey into web3 started about two and a half years ago. Before this, I was involved in managing a community of entrepreneurs, somewhat like an entrepreneurship accelerator. That experience sharpened my skills in sales, marketing, and community management.

For the past two years, alongside three other co-founders (and friends!), I have been building Coral Tribe, a business unit of Deus Natura. Our vision at Deus Natura is ambitious yet simple: Make climate action accessible to anyone through diverse products. Coral Tribe was my first NFT project, a space for the community and those who are at the forefront of blockchain adoption, the “degens”. This approach, merging the passion of collectors with the ethos of impact investing and sustainability, is essential to us. We realized that a heavy “green” label might deter some. People do appreciate sustainability, but it shouldn’t eclipse everything else. Transitioning these purpose-driven collectors from degens to “regens”, felt much more organic — and it really resonated!

In addition to this, for the past year, I’ve been actively collaborating with the Solana Foundation. My role involves bolstering their ReFi community, fostering connections among founders, and getting new people involved. It’s been super fun!

How did you become interested in the intersection of blockchain and impact?

Web3, in its very essence, felt the perfect match for driving real impact. It’s deeply rooted in transparency, showing us directly where funds are going. And then there’s the aspect of accessibility. What’s so fascinating is that literally anyone can step in, invest, and even initiate their own endeavors. Web3 makes everything more democratic: If a project aligns with your values, you can be a part of it. Seeing all this play out and understanding the massive potential to funnel money toward worthy causes was nothing short of awesome for me.

How do you think blockchain is helping to shape traditional economic systems?

The tokenization of assets is huge for me. We’re seeing fresh business models and new economic incentives emerge. One of the most compelling aspects is how it brings liquidity to markets that have historically been stagnant or restricted. It’s opening up a vast digital marketplace.

Beyond the technical side, what excites me about blockchain is how it empowers people. It’s creating a system where anyone, no matter where they’re from, can join in. For example, there’s this project, Gain Forest, that I admire. They’re using the ReFi space to reward people in places like the Philippines for planting trees. It’s not just about introducing new tech; it’s about ensuring everyone can get a seat at the table, make an impact, and find new ways to earn.

Can you tell us more about what you’re working on?

Sure! At Deus Natura, we have a couple of exciting initiatives underway.

With ReFi Hub, our ambition is to democratize impact investing. Imagine a decentralized crowdlending platform tailored especially for sustainable businesses. It’s similar to how platforms like Kickstarter work, but the core idea here is lending, not just donating. Lenders can set their own terms, from interest rates to repayment schedules. We’re partnering with innovative, sustainable businesses with an impactful mission and a profitable model. From companies using drones for large-scale tree planting to those innovating in turning plastic into fabric, we’re on the frontline of merging DeFi with real-world positive change.

Then there’s Coral Tribe, which we launched in April 2022. Our community grew to around 40,000 members, many of whom are purpose-driven collectors. Despite the hurdles and learning curves we’ve faced, our core members have remained supportive and engaged. We’ve planted close to 3,000 corals and rolled out unique art activations. One such project is the “Sea-MT” NFT, which changes colors based on real-world ocean temperatures.

I see Coral Tribe as more than just a project; it’s an identity, a lifestyle centered around impactful investing. We’re exploring what it truly means to be an impact investor and building a community around this. We run different features; for example, coral holders can earn aqua tokens as a form of loyalty reward. One of the major upcoming releases that these tokens can be redeemed for is our new merchandise line. Developed over the past eight months in collaboration with a well-known fashion designer, it’s something I’m really excited about!

The market has been tough on NFT projects. How have you coped?

Absolutely, this bear market has been brutal. Many NFT projects initially banked on profits from secondary sales and royalties, but sustaining that model over time proved extremely difficult. And that’s why many failed, too.

What helped us at Coral Tribe was our approach: We weren’t reliant on royalties. We operated lean, agile, and cost-effectively. We also received important support from organizations like Solana and Celo, which bolstered our resilience. Diversifying our integrations, exploring different blockchains, and even considering fiat options have been vital. There’s a saying in the community, “We’re so back,” capturing the rollercoaster nature of it all. Despite the ups and downs, we’re fully engaged and enjoying the ride.

What do you want to see more of in the ReFi space?

I’m genuinely excited about the direction the ReFi space is taking. There are so many amazing projects out there, and people like Monty and John from ReFi DAO are doing some incredible work. They’re absolute legends in the space — always driving things forward — and I greatly respect their work.

What I’d love to see, though, is a bigger involvement from the DeFi crowd. And one way to make that happen? More events like hackathons. Solana has been doing great with these events. They’re not just fun, but they bring together great minds and ideas, fostering knowledge sharing. We need more of that energy from the broader blockchain and DeFi sectors to explore and contribute to ReFi, especially in weaving in climate or social impact components.

Community is everything. In a vast and sometimes anonymous world as web3, there’s still that human need to connect and belong. Just look at how popular NFT profile pictures have become. ReFi DAO has nailed the community aspect, making everyone passionate about a shared vision. We need to cultivate a dynamic, sustainability-focused developer community that’s inspired and committed.

And one more thing: Let’s make things simpler. There’s a lot of jargon out there, and sectors, such as the carbon credits markets, can be very complex for newcomers. So, why not make it all more approachable and, well, fun?

What excites you the most about the future of web3?

Web3 feels like navigating a ship through unexplored waters, crafting new business models as we go. It’s genuinely exciting with all the innovation going on and the many chances for people to shape new markets and drive positive impact. And the transparency? It’s a game-changer.

I’ve got a personal soft spot for music, especially when it comes to tokenizing songs. As a musician, I can see how transformative it can be in opening up fresh ways to connect with fans and earn. On top of that, the idea of tokenized experiences has caught my attention; I’ve been diving deep into it lately.

Curious to learn more about Numa Lunah? Make sure to follow them on Twitter. And to explore similar content and stay up to date with Topl, make sure to join our Discord.

--

--

Tereza Bizkova
Topl

Ecosystem Communications Manager at Topl. Enthusiastic about innovation & development. 🍃