DePIN and ReFi — Executive summaries on sustainable web3 projects with real world utility

Mark C. Ballandies
WiHi — Weather
7 min readFeb 2, 2024

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In the previous blog article we looked at how to create with web3 a global movement for the betterment of human society and nature by leveraging on the promising verticals of DePIN and ReFi. If you do not know what these are, make sure to read it!

Following the principles layed out in the previous article, this article provides executive summaries on some of those first movers that are bold enough to build DePIN and ReFi projects and are looking for first and second followers.

This article is envisioned to be a living document. Feel free to reach out to us in case you want your project to be listed below.

Projects included:

  • DePIN/ ReFi projects:
    proto, sunrise stake, srcful, ReFi Hub, WiHi, onocoy

DePIN & ReFi projects

Here are summaries of DePIN and ReFi projects highlighting why they are needed and their solutions.

Why proto: Multi-faceted and hyper-local community-maps

Traditional mapping methods, with their high costs, geographical biases, and often outdated data, fall short in capturing the intricacies of local environments.

This is where proto steps in, it is an innovative mapping platform that re-imagines the world of cartography by involving the community in real-time mapping. Envisioning a world where every detail, from hidden cafes to traffic conditions, is mapped by individuals rather than just satellites or street-view vehicles, proto welcomes everyone to contribute. Proto, therefore, steps in to fill this gap by empowering local communities to map their surroundings, making maps more accurate, diverse, and up-to-date. By acknowledging and compensating the efforts of mappers, especially in regions that have been underrepresented or inaccurately mapped, proto aims to give control back to the creators of the content. It envisions mapping as a form of content creation, where the creator benefits the most, fostering a more inclusive and equitable mapping ecosystem.

Proto’s unique approach revolutionizes the concept of mapping by making it a community-driven activity. It offers a user-friendly app that not only gamifies the mapping process but also rewards contributors, placing them at the heart of the platform. This method enables the capture of rich, varied data that traditional mapping misses. Proto is not just about creating more detailed maps; it’s about changing the way geospatial data is collected, managed, and shared.

Why sunrise stake: Mitigating the climate crises with sustainable staking

Sunrise Stake is a Regenerative Finance (ReFi) staking protocol on the Solana blockchain, dedicated to directing staking yields towards climate-positive projects. As a non-custodial and permissionless protocol, it allows SOL holders to contribute to retiring carbon tokens and other environmental initiatives. By staking SOL with Sunrise Stake, users receive gSOL, a synthetic derivative with a 1:1 ratio to SOL, which they can trade or use like regular SOL. This process supports nature-based projects without any loss of funds for the stakers. Additionally, Sunrise Stake offers feeless liquid unstaking, allowing users to withdraw their SOL instantly with minimal fees, and maximizes the yield sent to climate-positive projects.

Sunrise Stake also plays a crucial role in securing and decentralizing the Solana blockchain. By distributing staked SOL across a wide network of validators, it enhances blockchain security. Staking for longer periods with Sunrise not only increases the security of the Solana blockchain but also maximizes the climate-positive impact, as the longer the SOL is staked, the more yield is generated for environmental causes. Sunrise uses the Toucan NCT Carbon Token for carbon offsetting, with each token representing one tonne of CO2 equivalent. Future plans include supporting a broader range of environmental projects, such as reforestation, furthering their commitment to positive climate impact.

Why srcful: co-owned, resilient and efficient energy grids for everyone

Srcful.io stands at the forefront of sustainable energy, embracing the principles of ReFi to prioritize ecosystem health and sustainability by building an energy-production DePIN. The platform marks a significant shift from fossil fuels to renewable sources like solar and wind power, offering a unique opportunity for individuals to engage directly in a decentralized energy grid. Users can connect to this network via the Srcful Energy Gateway, validate their green energy production, and earn SRC tokens, a cryptocurrency that fluctuates in value based on supply and demand. These tokens can be used in the energy marketplace or exchanged for other currencies, fostering a dynamic participation in the energy sector.

Beyond being a mere energy trading platform, Srcful.io embodies a comprehensive system that rewards green energy production and contributes to a more sustainable energy ecosystem. Key features include Proof-of-Source, which authenticates green energy production, and Proof-of-Control, aimed at stabilizing the power grid by allowing brief control over renewable energy sources.

Why ReFi Hub: Paving the way for a new future

For many individuals keen on sustainable investing, the challenge lies in the high entry costs and lack of clear impact visibility associated with traditional investment options. This creates a disconnect for those wanting to actively support environmental and social causes through their investments. Hindered by these barriers, these individuals often find themselves unable to participate effectively in initiatives that align with their values, leading to a sense of frustration and missed opportunities in contributing to global sustainability goals.

Here is where ReFi Hub comes in. It is an innovative investment platform that combines blockchain technology with impact investing. It offers users the opportunity to invest in vetted, impact-driven businesses with as little as $1, ensuring transparency and security in investments. By tracking the real-world impact of each investment, ReFi Hub not only democratizes access to sustainable investing but also provides tangible proof of the positive change generated by these investments.

Why WiHi: Weather and climate intelligence everywhere, anytime

Weather and climate impacts are intensifying, affecting society, businesses, and individuals. There’s a growing need for accurate predictions of extreme weather events, understanding the effects of climate mitigation, and microclimate knowledge. Novel and improved models calibrated with high-quality, dense data from weather stations are crucial for this, which would benefit various fields, ranging from business including insurance and trading over science to even hobbyists like drone pilots and farmers, spanning a $17 Billion industry improving weather forecasting. We observe that countless individuals worldwide are motivated intrinsically to contribute to this endeavor by either researching/ improving those models or by installing weather stations, creating vast pools of untapped data and weather models.

This is where WiHi steps in. It is uniting these different actors on a community-owned platform for weather and climate intelligence, forming a three-sided marketplace that connects data from weather stations with an expert community of researchers and data scientists delivering advanced intelligence services for B2B and B2C customers. WiHi not only directly contributes to ReFi, such as climate impact assessment via enhanced modeling capabilities, but also serves as a DePIN for other ReFi projects requiring its models and data (e.g. carbon markets) while providing valuable insights to businesses such as extreme weather events. WiHi is the meeting point of the w3ather movement, bringing together enthusiastic researchers, hobbyists, and weather station maintainers who are committed to positively impacting the weather, climate, and the planet.

Why onocoy: High-position positioning everywhere, anytime

Satellite navigation systems like GPS currently offer accuracy up to ~10 centimeters. However, for technologies such as self-driving cars, accuracy needs to be even finer — to the sub-centimeter level. To achieve this, a widespread network of real time kinematic (RTK) reference stations is essential. This infrastructure is well-established in developed nations, but it’s largely missing in Africa and is inconsistent in many other developing regions. And even in developed nations, the access is limited due to high price endpoints.

This is where onocoy comes in. The company motivates individuals, governments, and small to medium enterprises (SMEs) to set up GNSS stations across the earth in a fine grid. These stations gather atmospheric data, which is crucial for enhancing the positional accuracy needed for robotic applications and autonomous vehicles. onocoy’s service is cloud-based and fully automated, leveraging the Solana blockchain to operate an efficient burn&mint tokenomics model. This strategy allows onocoy to offer high-precision positioning to a broader market, beyond the limited high-value sectors currently served by the industry. Thanks to its blockchain-based automation, onocoy’s service is more affordable, has wider coverage, and is accessible worldwide.

Conclusion: web3 is solving real-world challenges

We showed how multi-faceted challenges are solved by leveraging on web3 success mechanisms of token incentives and DAOs — thus providing an answer to the why web3 is needed and hopefully rectifying its public image.

Let’s start spreading this message to the rest of web3, and then to web2 and beyond.
Let’s start moving ❤

Here are some resources in case you like to dig deeper:

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Mark C. Ballandies
WiHi — Weather

PostDoc@ETH Zurich; co-founder@onocoy&WiHi, Lecturer@FHV. Views shared are my own. Always interested in academic, philosophical and hands-on exchanges.