The Future of Stuff

Gregory Landua on Planetary Ecology and the Secret WELLspring of Internet Culture

Episode Summary

Garrison and Vinay sit down with Regen Network founder Gregory Landua to discuss planetary ecology, Regen Network, and the secret roots of early Internet culture.

Episode Notes

On this episode, Garrison and Vinay have a deep conversation with Regen Network founder Gregory Landua, covering Gregory's journey from his permaculture roots to his current ecological restoration blockchain venture, Regen Network. We cover Gregory and Vinay's previously unknown shared history within a secret WELLspring of early internet culture: The Farm in Tennessee. We then discuss if Bucky Fuller's advice on creating meaningful systemic change holds out in the  present day, and how Regen Network is working to build techno-social protocols to empower humanity's role as a "keystone species for planetary ecology." 

Episode Transcription

  1. [00:01:30] Gregory's Path to Regen Network
  2. [00:09:47] The Farm in Tennessee
  3. [00:17:38] The Farm: The Secret WELLspring of Internet Culture
  4. [00:23:32] Does Bucky Fuller's Wisdom on How to Change the World Hold Up to Practice?
  5. [00:29:55] Overview of Regen Network
  6. [00:36:17] Success vs. Failure in the Financialization & Stewardship of Nature

Garrison: So Gregory, one of the things I'm fascinated by people like yourself in crypto is you're kind of showing this unique application of this kind broad set of technology to do more kind of restorative and ecological impact work. You know, it's not just constrained to, you know, finance, which is what most people think. 

Obviously blockchain and cryptocurrencies are kind of almost inseparable in terms of concepts. What is your background and what brought you to crypto and the start of Regen Network? 

[00:01:30] Gregory's Path to Regen Network 

Gregory: Sure. Yeah. And, and as I sort of meander around that, I will try my best to sort of just weave a thread of where I see the connection between finance sort of monetary systems, blockchain, and how that relates to hitting the ecology node. My background is in environmental science, forestry, agroecology. My vocational background up until the point where I sort of dove fully down the crypto rabbit hole, which was in early 2017 is when I sort of like, just the dive. 

before that had been tracking, like I read the Bitcoin white paper right after it came out. And so what I was doing back then was pretty crunchy, pretty rootsy, lots of small work with small holders, primarily sort of local community resilience. I was always really fascinated with economics, like political economy of regeneration and resilience you could say. 

So spent a lot of time researching complimentary currencies: Bernard Lietaer, Margaret Kennedy. Understanding LETSystems and, you know, TimeBanking and just different attempts that people had been, you know, I mean, for quite a long time, I mean, so there was complimentary currencies going on Wiemar Germany. There's a whole history of people trying to sort of hack the financial and monetary system. 

And for me, my journey has always been: I'm aesthetically and ethically attracted to concepts of sort of small holder, freeholder, agrarian lifestyle. I don't necessarily think that that's a sort of like a solution for all humanity. You know, I grew up rurally. That's just my or inclination. 

I've sort of been working in that space, trying to support diverse, healthy farms and businesses that relate to that in today's world. And then my of change or my instincts about what the world needs to address systemic complexity and cascading climate failures and poverty and the sort of Gotterdammerung death machine of global capitalism. 

has to do with, you know, the nodal intervention of constructed value, essentially. Monetary systems, financial systems. I'd really been swimming in that world, you know, basically my entire adult life really. I'm very stubborn. I was very, I've never held a job since I graduated from college I've never held a job in I've never been on salary for somebody else's project. I always managed to piece together a vocation where I could sort of be free to ensure that my time and energy was being spent on something that I was ethical and had potential change embedded in it. 

And obviously I may have made plenty of mistakes and done some things that probably in retrospect, I was like, ah, maybe that didn't quite, maybe there wasn't my theory of change at that moment wasn't quite as mature as maybe it could have been. And that's just been part of my I guess. 

in 2017 um, I wrote a book called Regenerative Enterprise, which became sort of a cult classic in the permaculture world. I think a lot of people teach from it all around the world in permaculture design courses. And some of that work emerged out of participatory design sessions, actually in rural Tennessee, where we were working with a community, mixed community, lots of quite conservative folks  

Garrison: Uh, we're  

Gregory: Hohenwald, Tennessee. 

Garrison: Yeah I've been there. I grew up in Tennessee. 

Gregory: Yeah fantastic, so Lewis County, Hohenwald Tennessee near The Farm which I ran an educational center. Capital F, capital T, capital F. Stephen Gaskin and Ina May's farm.  

So, out of that work where we were just sort of bringing people together, this exploration emerged a set of frameworks. A colleague of mine, Ethan Soloviev I used that opportunity to just sort of observe the patterns of discourse and rhetoric and frameworks. And we sort of surfaced a set of models and frameworks. We then co-wrote this book called Regenerative Enterprise Version 1.0, and it included a multi capital framework called Eight Forms of Capital sort of a set of other framings. And essentially it was sort of like a manifesto or something. It was just like, "Oh, here's some of our thinking." it in a way that could be read. And we wanted people to be able to read it in less than an hour. So we tried really hard to just make this lean, like here's a sort of a hypothesis and a loose set of frameworks and like, let's see how that goes. 

Anyway, in 2017 I put myself into a little bit more credit card debt. you, consumer debt for helping me be an entrepreneur for all of these years. And I put a few grand into ETH and BTC back in 2016. Thank you, Coinbase for making it easy. 

you know, in 2017 I had my first child and I also was on paternity leave from my pretty successful broad acre permaculture and supply chain consulting business, Terragenesis International, which is still a going concern, but I'm not really involved. And in 2017, I just, you know, was hanging out with my baby on my chest, going for walks and looking at my Coinbase app going like, holy shit. You know there's a phase shift that's just taking place.  

I saw the opportunity to really start trying to reconnect the social construction of value through monetary instruments and financial instruments to ecological health. The state machine of the blockchain, and statefullness, or state of ecosystems, ecological state. I just kind of like saw this convergence and it really hit me very strongly that it was a moment to you know, sort of take the plunge. And Regen Network was born. Early 2017, we sort of convened a group of us, mostly with permaculture and sort of like complex systems design. None of us in the founding team we're computer scientists or engineers, or had any formal background in economics. We were all sort of like more of a fringe edge, alternative economics permaculture side of things. But we were very lucky to bring in people who are much smarter than us to help start envisioning what it might look like to build a decentralized ecological finance Minting machine, basically to connect unique assets to reality on the ground: ecological health. 

And that was really the experiment and Regen Network is to really-- what does it look like to source our socially constructive value directly from ecological health. And, you know, at this stage of the game Regen Network: our primary go to market strategy and much of our activity is in voluntary carbon markets. 

I think the vision, we kind of really embrace that that is a pretty banalized and incomplete version of it means to sort of reconnect our economy in a meaningful way to ecological health. And yet here we are, you know, it's like, it's a big, it's a big thing. The corporate fiduciary responsibility is now starting to include carbon as a liability. That's driving all sorts of activity and movement. There's just this moment, I think, in time we've been surfing through serendipity and grace and a lot of stubbornness. So, you know, here we are, that's I guess my medium version of like how I tripped down the crypto rabbit hole. 

[00:09:47] The Farm in Tennessee 

Vinay: I didn't realize we'd both gotten our start at The Farm. That's super interesting. What year were you there? 

Gregory: So, I ran ecovillage training center in 2007, 2008, 2009. 

Vinay: Got it. Got it. The first place I went when I came to America in 1995 was The Farm.  

Gregory: Yeah. Awesome.  

Vinay: I went over there in might have been spring of 96, but my gut feeling is it was autumn 95. And Albert Bates, who of course you'll know.  

Gregory: Yup.  

Vinay: So Albert completely ruined my life a weekend. He just--  

Gregory: --peak oil pilled you and you know, and  

Vinay: Yeah. I mean, he basically was just like, "Hey kid, there's this thing called the environment..."  

Gregory: Yeah.  

Vinay: "...and 30 years from now, the planet will be trashed. And it's all going to suck and you know, you have to be ready for this. I think it was, I can't remember it was Albert or somebody else told me the story of how The Farm had been building a bunch of geodesic domes that left all this waste material leftover from the four by eight sheet.  

Gregory: Yeah.  

Vinay: And "Hey, you know a bunch of stuff about triangle math don't you new kid?" "Yeah sure. You have a graphics kit guy." "Could figure out how to make a geodesic dome with no waste? And those two questions, geodesic domes without waist turns into the hexayurt project. And then the whole thing about, "Hey, this environment thing, this is a problem." Those two forces totally defined the rest of my life.  

Gregory: That's amazing.  


Vinay: It wasn't really until after 911 that it went from being hmm maybe I should do something about this to oh my god this is my problem.  

That damn place.  

Gregory: Yeah. Yeah. The farm is a very interesting laboratory for sure. 

Vinay: It's a powerhouse of a place. I mean, extremely transformative but also very broken.  

Gregory: Very broken. Yeah. very very messy. Very confusing. That particular sort of ideology that they have on The Farm. The sort of like vegan, no harm, the Western banalization of sort of like ahimsa you know, driving minivans with like "No oil, no war" and, you know, instead of having animals integrated into their landscape or doing any kind of forestry, they're buying plywood from Home Depot. 


Vinay: Right,  

Gregory: --it's just all, it's just full of paradox and contradiction.  

Vinay: Place of compromise, a place of compromise.  

Gregory: And yet, I mean, what a beautiful space and what a thing that they've achieved. And they've just been core to lot of-- I mean, a lot of innovation has taken place at The Farm.  

Vinay: I  

Gregory: It's a fascinating, beautiful, messy, complex, frustrating place. 

Vinay: I was always told the two kind of fundamental innovations that they'd shipped were everything to do with tofu america and everything to do with midwifery. It's everything you eat and it's half of your babies.  

Gregory: Yeah, totally. Well also they did a lot of, know-- they were manufacturing Geiger counters. They basically innovated portable Geiger counters. that's what drove the anti-nuclear movement because all of a sudden people, the activists, could actually engage that was The Farm that did that. They really drove that. And in fact, they ended up getting like DOD contracts later, later because they had portable Geiger counters that could be deployed at borders and stuff like that. 

Vinay: So suddenly they had defense contracts. that must be quite a conversation.  

Gregory: And then--  

Vinay: "Hey Stephen, we think there's something we think you should know. Yeah. The DOD wants to buy our Geiger counters. Is that okay with you, boss?" 

Gregory: "Is that good? Is that good?" And then the other big thing, they drove a lot of early solar innovation too.  



Vinay: Yeah, I've never gotten as deep into The Farm as I always wanted to. Life always pulled me in other directions. It sounds like it was basically like Xerox PARC for Greentech. 

Gregory: It was really a wild place. I mean, obviously I lived there for a few years, right, as an outsider coming in to run of the small businesses. Albert's Ecovillage Training Center essentially. So, I know a suite of apocryphal stories about The Farm and it's happening and whatnot, but, you know, I wouldn't consider myself a deep expert on the lore of The Farm, but know, the stories are-- you know, essentially at its peak there was several thousand people living on The Farm, which is, I think something like a 2000 acre, you know, a 2000 acre land trust in Middle Tennessee. You know, an hour and some south of Nashville, hour and a half maybe, in Summertown, Tennessee.  

They were growing the bulk of their own food. They were running an international organization called Plenty that was active in like the Guatemalan earthquake and all sorts of things. Basically bringing efficient, driven aid into disaster zones. They were running North America wide of trucking, like a trucking business to move  

their tofu and other things. It was completely communal. So if you showed up to The Farm and you wanted to live there, you gave all your assets up to the community. So was collectivized economy. The center of midwifery. They brought tofu and tempeh to North America and created that whole movement. Global network of ham operators. They had like a weird precursor to the internet going where they were know, like relaying information and, you know yeah. All sorts of crazy things going on there. Then Ronald Reagan came then Ronald Reagan happened.  

That's their story. You know, the story is, everything was like this exuberant hippy utopia. Then Ronald Reagan arrived and like they were crushed beneath the jack boot of the FBI and, you know, Cointelepro, everything imploded. It went 2-3,000 people people you know, doing all of these things. International aid, you know, all these businesses collectively-owned businesses, this stuff happening. just collapsed to just a few hundred people. But, you know,  

Vinay: Yeah.  

Gregory: over the course of a couple of years and shifted from, yeah, well, it shifted, it shifted from a fully collectivized, communalized economy in which Stephen Gaskin was you know, still sort of like the guru and some things happened around that and that it all just sort of like the dream collapsed and it turned into sort of like psychedelic hippie version of small town USA. There's a land trust. There's like a of like a city council and everybody owns their own houses basically.  

Or And then, boom, that's what it's been ever since. So  

Vinay: They de-collectivized the land. That was the core thing.  

Gregory: Well, they kept the land trust and then you, but yeah, you can  like, you sort of like own the rights  

Vinay: a  

Gregory: house Yeah, yeah,  

Vinay: house, little bit of land, something like that.  

Gregory: Yeah.  

Vinay: The story that I heard was a little more bureaucratic, which was what killed them was medical debt.  

Gregory: yeah.  

Vinay: So the story is they start to figure out that they're running out of money sometime the early eighties. It takes them a year or a year and a half to find every check book that has the ability to draw on the firm's collective bank account.  

Gregory: Yeah.  

Vinay: Cause it turned out that if you were doing anything that needed trade with the outside world, they'd just give you a checkbook and trust you to be responsible. 

Gregory: Yeah.  

Vinay: And when all was said and done, it turned out the what had actually kind of been piling up was enormous amounts of medical debt because there were just procedures that they couldn't do at the farm. You know, they could deliver babies and they could do a bunch of other kind of primary care, first aid stuff. They did a lot of preventative medicine. But for harder stuff like anything surgical or anything that needed, you know, like prolonged treatment, this kind of stuff, run it off with a million dollars medical debt to local hospital. And that was what triggered the great financial crisis that led to the unwinding. 

[00:17:38] The Farm: The Secret WELLspring of Internet Culture 

Vinay: And then a whole crew of The Farm folks wound up going to the west coast and getting involved in the early days of the internet.  

Gregory: Yeah,  

Vinay: Specifically, Cliff Figallo went to Whole Earth Electronic Link. And so you've got this kind of Whole Earth Catalog publication plus the kind of transfusion of farm culture the WELL. And you know, for those who don't know, our younger listeners, Whole Earth Electronic Link was a pre-web bulletin board system basically connected all kinds of fringe, hippie, California. Was where It was like, you know, Stewart Brand and Kevin Kelly got their first email addresses. And it was a huge cultural nexus. 

then a Lot of the kind of social norms of the web of expanded out from there to the rest of the world. know, the culture kind of got established on the WELL. As more people came onto the internet and the WELL people were like, "Yeah. we've been on this thing for awhile. Let me tell you how we do it."  

Gregory: Yeah.  

Vinay: And so you wound up with another one of these huge kind of cultural platforms, which was forum culture, mailing list culture, kind civilized and genteel days of the internet that kind of ended in say September 93. You know, all of that sort of stuff was hugely influenced by Farm culture in this very indirect way.  

Gregory: Yeah. I stumbled into the middle of that kind of like ignorant of context, but attracted  

Vinay: --so you just rocked up to the place with no idea what you were dropping into. Oh my God.  

Gregory: Sort of, yeah, I did sort of do that. So I after I graduated from college. I went to a state school. I grew up in Alaska. I I'm sort of like a hodgepodge of like odd and strange, you know, pieces. I grew up in Alaska. I went to Oregon State University because I got a scholarship there and I was able to like get out of state because I didn't want to go to school in Alaska for a whole set of reasons. 

I wanted to go to school somewhere that had ivy on buildings. This that's more or less what I and how to division one men's soccer program. Cause I wanted to, you know, I wanted to play soccer and athletics. I went to Oregon State graduated and I had this, like I found this thing on the internet. I had this of like choice point the choice point was either sort of like go the bliss in any route. 

like, just felt, you know, like there's only two sane things to do as a young man. And, you know, and I graduated from college in 2004, I guess. So either sort of like a sailboat and sail around the world and be a backpacker or something like that. It's just sort of like escape, just like escape trajectory, like there's nothing really meaningful to do here. And burning and I'll just peace out or just sort of like attention to the challenge, you know? 

And I chose the attention to the challenge route, but I couldn't trust any institutional narrative is like, what do you do? Where do you go to actually engage with this? I read this website on the internet, was guy university. It was Andrew Lankford's writing, essentially a university, which is like born out of farm in Tennessee. 

Basically it was born on The Farm in Tennessee. It was a global action learning network centered on local resilience, permaculture, know, hard skills for, know, sort of like an agrarian regenerative, agrarian revolution, eco villages, lots of experimentation in different social structure. Sociocracy whatever it is. 

I read website and I was like, screw it. I'm going to guide a university. They didn't really even have an accreditation or whatever. I was just like, I'm going, was on the farm in Tennessee.  

Vinay: literally just YOLO'd right into The Farm.  

Gregory: I just YOLO'd directly into the farm and like landed there. And then two years into my master's degree program, it took me four years to finish a two-year program because honestly it's the hardest. Hardest education. if you do it appropriately, man, it was, it just was mad at learning to learn essentially at a really an actually quite a rigorous way. And guy, you back then was amazing. I mean, we had a university currency called the amate, which we were playing with. There was all sorts of crazy things going on in that moment. 

YOLO'd right into the farm. Two years later, ended up being the program director for the Ecovillage Training Center. So essentially Albert back and didn't want to run things. So I was just running, coordinating educational experiences for people to do passive solar building, natural building, organic small agriculture, forestry, all this stuff. 

In my usual way did several like, "Hey, we're going to change the world just by hosting this event" sort of like overly ambitious, people move. And in some weird way actually came true. We hosted the financial permaculture course and the Bioregional Congress and the carbon farming course, basically this magnetic fields that there on the farm of humans came to engage with sort of like larger concept of the regenerative economy. We sustained that for two years in a row for multiple months with leading people from the fields, just like there all the time and just sort of conjured this wave that in a lot of ways, I've just been surfing ever since really. Just like those things were born and I've just been doing my best to just continue to serve those threads that sort of emerged there. 

Vinay: You got it right the first time. and then after that, it's just the case of growing it until something happens. 

Gregory: Yeah,  

Garrison: So,  

Gregory: keep going.  

[00:23:32] Does Bucky's Wisdom on How to Change the World Hold Up to Practice? 

Garrison: So we have about 20 minutes left. So I wanted to kind of segue into this kind of last part of the conversation with a from someone that we're all familiar with. So humanitarian engineer, Buckminster Fuller once said, " You said that you never change things by fighting the existing reality to change something. You have to build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete." 

You see this quote everywhere, even people who aren't even familiar with. you know, Bucky's work will use that quote because it tends to fit in a lot of different contexts. But what I want to ask both you Gregory and you Vinay: is that true? Do, Can we expect, you know, governments, institutions, or people to simply adapt to, or adopt a new system, even if it works and it is better than the incumbent system, or is there too much social inertia and various political complexity attached to actually expect people to just make the move. Bucky's wisdom: does it actually up to practice? 

Gregory: I would start by giving the classic permaculture answer, which is, it depends. I think that has truth in it. do think has truth in it. I think that the nuance though, is that you have to make that alternative system. It can't exist in isolation. It has to have a particular character of relationship with the existing system in which it seems attractive. It actually sort of like pools resources and metabolizes those and turns them into something else. And it has to do so in a way to at least a certain section of the, you know, established way that things are isn't threatening, it's attractive. It will likely be threatening to part of the existing world, it to enough like a critical mass, whatever that is, it's like, oh, This is attractive and interesting financially viable, lucrative way to, to get something that I want.  

I don't really love the terminology and there's some things about the community, which are a little weird, but you know, there's like the Game A and the Game B crowd. I think there's some utility to those memes, right? Where if think Game A is like business as usual, Game B is like Bucky Fuller's, you know, you build something new and you experiment with it. 

There's a specific relationship that I think can make what Bucky's saying true. But it really depends a lot. And it depends on the details and it depends on the execution. And I don't think you can just go like go off somewhere and just build something beautiful. Build it and they will come Field of Dreams sort of scenario. I don't think that's quite right. So hopefully that's a little bit of a more color into the, you know, why it depends.  

Vinay: I mean, like the solar industry is a good example of this, right? That, you know, you get your magic solar panels and they're cheaper every year. And it's a huge part of our hope for the future rests on the fact the cheap solar is here and it's getting cheaper every year. But it's still plugging into electrical grids the most part. You know, if we were going to the total replacement model everything that was done with solar was off the grid and there was no compromise and you were a bad person if you had solar panels and a grid connection to your house, you know, that was like the sellout position. If we imagined a kind of solar vegan thing, then if we'd gone down that track solar panels would still cost 20 times what they cost They would never have gotten the scale. know, it required this kind of hypocritical merge with the existing system to get the scale of kind of creating the potential breakout. But then once you create a potential breakout, if things are evolving in the systems of mainstream, you know, there's always that tension of like, is this victory? "Hey, we've gotten everybody do 20%. We're green." It's like, is that better than 20% people being a hundred percent green? And there's always this kind of tension of, you know, is it dilution when everybody moves a little bit or is that victory? 

Gregory: Yeah, definitely. And there's something in there around the kernel of that razor's edge  

Vinay: Hm,  

Gregory: think has to do with speculation. So  

Vinay: interesting.  

Gregory: ability for speculative capital to gamble on the new thing actualizing itself into reality, without that it won't actualize into reality meaningful way. It may maintain itself in some pure marginalized state, it won't actually merge and change and shift, you know, like Bucky Fuller's tab. It won't actually like move the bigger societal inertia. track in that direction in a meaningful way.  

Vinay: Without return on investment. It's very hard to get things to points of economies of scale. This is a very kind of Ken Goffman/ R.U. Sirius, Mondo 2000 thing. Mondo 2000 was a precursor to Wired. Ran in the eighties and nineties. And it basically showed you everything that Wired showed you in 2005, but it showed you it as design fiction that it didn't tell you was fiction. So I got my whole start in like the weird side of tech, virtual reality, when I got Mondo 2000 in like literally a games shop in Edinburgh. The kind of place that would sell you a chess set.  

Gregory: Yeah.  

Vinay: and they have this magazine that was Mondo 2000. So I was a teenager reading about all this wild cyber culture stuff. 

I don't think there was even an ISP that serviced that part of Scotland in that year. So I didn't have any way of figuring out if this stuff was real or not. I just took it at face value. It was in a magazine. This had to be what's happening in California. And that was sort of how I became a graphics engineer with an interest in reality.  

Gregory: How much does that happen? How much does that happen? That somebody just conjures a story and then people think that it's what's happening in California. So they show up and then they make it happen in California.  

Vinay: Yeah.  

I think it's ubiquitous. I mean, like the Burning Man crew, most of those folks were not native Californians. Mostly they were people that had drifted to California looking for the thing that didn't exist. And then they ended up making Burning Man.  

Gregory: Yeah.  

[00:29:55] Overview of Regen Network 

Vinay: We're running out of time, you better tell us what Regen Network actually does.  

Like how are you spending your days? What is the network actually doing?  

Gregory: Yeah. So Regen Network is a full stack blockchain, web3-- I dunno what we're calling it these days-- a proof of stake blockchain that is domain specific and allows unification of monitoring, reporting and verification, quantification, the Oracle Problem in blockchain speech, to create digital assets that represent ecological state. 

And this is sort of like the most abstract, right? So if you have the first layer, which is like bringing in data about ecological state and turning it into a claim that an asset or some other form of programmable magic internet money. Turning ecological state into a programmable asset, and then being able to govern and curate that and market it. 

I think at an abstract level you could be applying that to renewable energy, or you could be applying that to other physical world goods like Mattereum does. We're just very, like, this is about ecological state. Our go to market as I was mentioning earlier is really focused on the voluntary carbon market.  

And so, we've done a couple of things. Hybrid web3 engineering, you know, R&D, Inc., which I'm CEO of R&D Inc. There's other organizations in the network at this stage. R&D Inc. Is sort of a hybrid web3 engineering firm. We maintain the Cosmos SDK, which is the most used public proof of stake development There's over 250 Cosmos blockchains. 20 of them have upgraded and are communicating with using Inter Blockchain Communication Protocol, which allows fast finality, state machines to seamlessly move value back and forth but maintain sovereign security systems and governance, which is something we really believed was important.  

Because a proof of stake model, we really felt like you needed to optimize the match of stakeholders who are governing the system. you  

Vinay: see.  

Gregory: get drift from that, there's all sorts of oligarchy problems which arise. And so anyway, there's like a whole piece there, which is why we've been moving through since 2017 with this sort of like Tendermint Cosmos SDK based state machine approach. Cosmos SDK secures over a hundred billion dollars worth of assets. If you think of it as an ecosystem. It's third, behind Ethereum in terms of like blockchain networks as a meta network. Quickly going to be merging and integrating with the EVM side of things. Yeah, there's bridging. There's Evmos, which is basically Ethereum 3.0, in a way, it's a fast finality Tendermint based Ethereum virtual machine. Regen Network could like trigger smart contracts on Evmos from our state machine. You can do all sorts of cool stuff.  

So anyway, that's like the tech side, and then we have a science side, which is working on machine learning, remote sensing, you know, a little tiny bit of research, but not much into IOT, just science, the old fashioned way. Earth observation science. How do you make meaning? How do we make a claim about state that results in you know, in our credit that people are like, "Oh yeah, I agree. I agree that that's a unit of carbon."  

Like, do you do that? And how do you bring the blockchain to that process essentially to create an auditable claims process?  

Vinay: Because it's a super hard thing, right?  

Gregory: It's super hard.  

Vinay: Figuring out much carbon is in an acre of surrounding trees is a legendarily hard  problem. 

Gregory: It's not trivial. And soil, even worse. Soil is the hardest, right? And soils are the largest, besides oceans, the largest earth of carbon is in soils. an order of magnitude more carbon is in soils than the atmosphere, Soil is the foundation for agriculture, et cetera, et cetera. 

So, you know, whether you're talking above ground or below ground biomass, we are definitely fervent believers in the potential of shifts in land use to radically transform the global carbon economy, essentially. And you know, there are other people just don't believe that.  

Vinay: It's the kind of geoengineering you can trust, right?  

Gregory: Yeah, exactly.  

Vinay: You know, it's like, "Oh, the farmers are doing things a little differently and it's soaking up a ton of carbon. Wow. Actually it's a ton of carbon per acre. That's a leaf bear. Not much is going to go wrong with enormous changes to agricultural practice and forestry practice. You know, you've got very, very safe carbon management approaches there. 

Gregory: Very safe, pretty proven. I mean, there's lots of argument, which is essentially like how much carbon is actually getting sequestered, the permanent, if you have a drought, some of that carbon is going to be released as it oxidizes. But to me, the way I look at it, those are silly things to argue about and we just better to create a monitoring system and learn from it.  

Vinay: Yeah, figure out how to measure it, right? 

Gregory: It's really no risk. So if you, if you lose 20% of your carbon due to drought, it's still better than if you hadn't it.  

Vinay: Yeah absolutely. And I mean, this is something where we've got-- there's a whole faction who want to do machines that run on solar or nuclear fusion or whatever is, and they spit out enormous piles of lamp  

Gregory: Yeah.  

Vinay: Powdered carbon comes off these things, take powdered carbon, you dump it in a landfill, you dump it in the ocean. Boom you're good. And you know, simple, like here's a kilogram of carbon. Want to see my kilogram of  

Gregory: Yeah.  

Vinay: And if we go down that track, it might work from a CO2 management perspective, but if we don't change land practice, the next problem we're going to have is probably something like oxygen. 

So, well, you know, we've got the carbon dioxide control, but there's nothing to eat anymore. Nothing grows. Did we do this wrong?  

Gregory: A hundred percent.  

Vinay: The problem is land use. 

Gregory: A hundred percent. We're very anti carbon reductionism, and yet our go to market strategy is in carbon markets, but that's just  

Vinay: so bad, right? I mean, my go-to market strategy, having very similar goals is Star Trek toys.  

Gregory: Yeah,  

[00:36:17] Success vs. Failure in the Financialization of Nature 

Vinay: I got a question which I always like to ask, which is kind of, what's the difference between success and failure? Like if this Regen thing really goes, you know, 10, 20 years down the line, how does the world work?  

Gregory: That's a great question. I mean, so look, natural capital, carbon, carbon biodiversity, water, is going to be internalized into the global economy with or without Regen Network. It's going to be a giant generational boom with or without Regen Network. The mechanisms of, you know, like neoliberal capitalism-- they already smell the blood in the water or whatever, you know. There's already a gold rush. It's moving. The Davos crowd is in, everybody's in, it's it's all moving. 

Vinay: You know, the left have their Green New Deal and the right have their Great Reset  

Gregory: Exactly. That's happening. So we're operating in a situation. I don't think a lot of people understanding that that's already what the shift is taking place we operate with the assumption that shift is taking place. question is, result meaningful transformation? Will it result in the inclusion of the world, like humans of the world meaningful that create substantive change in their material economy, they have healthier lives and are more empowered as members of the body politic, et cetera. 

Whether we succeed or fail financialization of nature under the presumption that it will transform the world for the better is going to happen, some other, you know, left version of that, materialism, et cetera.  

Vinay: Wow.  

Gregory: success means a couple of things. It means that indigenous peoples, land stewards, farmers of the world, they're materially engaged in both the governance of the ecological FinTech infrastructure as well as the financial affluence that comes from being sort of like member owners of the financial infrastructure that runs that whole machine. That's number one.  

Number two is that there is, you know, global transformation of working lands and conserved lands in such a way as to really transform the material economy to be sourcing from that look way different, way, way different. They're more diverse. You have to solve, you know, scaling issues more localized means of production manufacture, global shipping. All of that is demanded if you transform agriculture. If you shift from a farm that one monoculture for thousands of thousands and thousands of acres to a farm that produces 20 crops, right, and is enormously diverse, it just totally changes the logistics and supply.  

So there's going to be a transformation of the material economy, logistics and supply, and just the landscape will look much different. You'll be walking through agriculture systems look significantly more. It won't be entirely mimic, but they'll look more like a natural, you know, system from whatever the ecozone is and less like a desert. 

Vinay: Lots of, kind of agroforestry, mixed ecology,  

Gregory: Heard grazing, you know, you wanna, you want big, bigger groups of animals moving across larger landscapes, you know, so that, so that they can nutrient cycle in an efficient way. Those are like the material and social changes that if we succeed will occur and a result of surfing this of nature wave that, you know, my thesis is that's going to happen one way or the other. We need to just make sure that it happens well. 

Vinay: Yeah. So you're kind of goal state here is that we wind up with a kind of merger of the internet things and the of pre-invasion Amazonian forest  

Gregory: yeah, yeah, yeah. And I  

Vinay: people in nature. The nature has been assisted to produce enormous amounts of food surplus. The people eat the food surplus you keep track of everything with a bunch of digital stuff, rather than this sort of notion of genetically engineered monoculture plus enormous machines that output carbon then throw in the ocean.  

Gregory: exactly. There may be a little bit of all of this, right. There's a substantial enough of that, that, you know, that that is a the most common land management approach. And therefore we have a resilient, healthy biosphere that is sustaining life as, as the positive externality of our human material economy. 

So I like to use terms like "humans as a keystone species for planetary ecology." to talk about the ethical imperative that we both maintain the potential for space faring civilization while also maintaining space for feral or wild bands of hunter gatherers on the same planet a way that doesn't preclude one or the other in which the middle is, you know, a regenerative agrarian system in which a lot of humans are involved in that. 

Use software and automation to empower the human capability as a steward, as a gardener, as a steward, as a keystone species, essentially. 

Vinay: Yeah,  

Garrison: So, yeah, So we're at the end of the hour here. Where can people follow you and Regen Network? 

Gregory: I'm tweeting from Gregory underscore Landua on Twitter. And you can also follow at Regen underscore Network. Regen dot Network. And we have a great resources page if people want to peruse, that's a lot of dense material, everything from our white paper and technical specs, of that. So you can go to to look over our approach to sort of bringing carbon registry systems on chain and you know, all of the other activities that we're in the midst of. Yeah, so I think those are generally like Twitter. I'm pretty active on Twitter days. It feels like it's an integral part of my job as CEO of a crypto company.  

Vinay: absolutely. You can go talk to the people. We should also mention that Albert Bates the very influential guy from The Farm that we both had huge interactions  

Gregory: Hmm.  

Vinay: is on Twitter as at peak surfer.  

Gregory: Yeah. And Albert's great. And he's written a lot of really influential books and is active. And I think vision and my vision-- I'm definitely very heavily influenced by his vision. I think that they're pretty close in terms of just like the perspective of human's role, our role in creating a regenerative future. 

Vinay: The farm is so important. so important. Yeah, crypto people. If you're interested in communities and change the world through the power of community, learn about The Farm.  

Gregory: yeah, totally. going to just kind of going here a little bit. I mean Farm, so DAOs and there's a whole sort of movement. Mattereum is really like in the middle of a lot of this, right? In NFTs, fractional ownership, governance, you know, all of this stuff, there's this intersection. And, you know, we should all recognize it. Groups like, you know, The Farm as Vinay was pointing out. The source code of the internet is deeply related to these experiments that took place in the sixties and seventies and eighties as the Steward Brands of the world and Wired and all these things that it's just so intrinsically part of what many of us subsequent generations, you know, I'm like a geriatric millennial, you know, you're gen X, right. 

You know,  

gen Z. I just think  

the further you go from those origin stories, the less you realize how of the pattern of our thoughts, assumptions of the world are actually being sourced from those moments of innovation and how important it is to look at the successes and also the failures. That's like type one errors. Sequence of fundamental errors and assumptions that are really important for us to understand. So, you know, if you're one of those like me, who's sort of like solar punk, Gaia punk, hope punk, crypto futurists,  

Vinay: Yeah.  

Gregory: listening to this and, you know, engaging in the crypto space and maybe the intersection of that with, you know, regenerative agrarian space. Definitely go connect with and learn the history of places like The Farm, Oroville in India, right? Tamara and Portugal. Places like Damanhur in Italy, where been a lot of experimentation and some successful experimentation in ways that weren't maybe desired. It's like the weren't planned, but yet they're there. And so anyway, there's something really interesting to look and learn from I think, and all of that. 

Vinay: Absolutely. Absolutely. This has been great. We should do this again sometime  

Gregory: Yeah. I'd love that. I'd love that.  

Vinay: Like we're just scratching the surface of these conversations, you know? yeah, next time we ought to talk about circular economy. We ought to talk about RMI's model versus, you know-- RMI was like technical thread of Buckminster Fuller and none of the social values. Oh, there's so much stuff we could get into. It will be amazing. We should get Albert on the next time out.  

Gregory: Yeah, we do that. We should get Albert. That would be super fun.  

We should we should get Albert on. 

Vinay: Ah, that would be amazing.