Wework founder raises $70m for blockchain-based, “voluntary” carbon credits

It’s a scam matrioshka.

Cory Doctorow
7 min readMay 27, 2022


A burning landscape. In the foreground is a burned out building with a charred Wework sign. Over the doorway is a smoke-damaged banner for Flowcarbon with a picture of the planet Earth. Image: Lorie Shaull (modified): https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:A_man_walks_by_a_burning_building_on_Thursday_morning_after_a_night_of_protests_and_rioting_in_Minneapolis,_Minnesota_(49945327763).jpg CC BY-SA 2.0: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/deed.en A16Z (modified): https://a16z.c

Even crypto’s biggest boosters admit that the industry has a scam problem. This is especially hard to deny now that hundred of billions of (real) dollars’ worth of (fake) “stablecoins” have gone up in smoke.

Crypto apologists will tell you that there are scams everywhere, and they’re not wrong. The productive economy has been systematic dismantled and replaced with financialized grifts: private equity, REITs, SPACs, MLMs, ad-fraud, and monopoly. That means the only way to save for retirement, health emergencies or your kid’s college education is to roll the dice in a crooked casino where the house always wins:


But even at this moment of peak scam, crypto stands out as especially scammy. There are some structural factors behind that. For one thing, crypto is complex — in fact, it’s doubly complex, because things like smart contracts can only be truly understood if you can read source-code and a prospectus, and most people understand neither.

Complexity is a fraudster’s best friend. Any time someone adds complexity to a proposition bet (“I’ll pay you X if Y happens”), you should assume that the complexity exists solely to obscure the true odds and rope you into a sucker’s wager:


Then there’s pseudonymity and anonymity. Anonymity is key to the right to privacy, but when you combine anonymity with finance — not the right to speak anonymously, but the right to run an investment fund anonymously — you’re rolling out the red carpet for serial scammers, who can run a scam, get caught, change names, and run it again, incorporating the lessons they learned.

Go through the Web3 Is Going Great archive for scams and you’ll see that crypto implosions are rarely one-offs. Typically, the fraudsters who steal millions from crypto gamblers are repeat offenders who’ve refined their grifts through a series of crimes that they were able to outrun by assuming new identities:



Cory Doctorow

Writer, blogger, activist. Blog: https://pluralistic.net; Mailing list: https://pluralistic.net/plura-list; Mastodon: @pluralistic@mamot.fr