Adapting To Current Market Conditions

This past Thursday, we assembled the whole team here at the Celo Foundation to review how we are adjusting to the current market conditions. Wanted to quickly share the key take-aways here.

The price has changed, but the mission has not

While crypto prices have moved dramatically from their bull market heights, our mission remains unchanged. We get up every morning fired up about our north star objective, as shared in my recent post here on the forum:

Attract and nurture the most talented, value-aligned founders directly and through a
variety of programs to build successfully on the Celo platform to further Celo’s

Our friend Olaf Carlson-Wee, founder of Polychain Capital, on a recent podcast talked about - and I’ll paraphrase a bit - how we as founders are going to build ourselves out of this bear market and that’s how it’s always worked, referencing e.g. how Coinbase made buying Bitcoin easy during the 2012 bear market and that leading to the next big wave of adoption at the time.

Bull turns bear

Over the past week, we’ve been looking at all initiatives in flight, as well as budgets across our entire organization, to ensure we can provide the best support possible to the Celo ecosystem throughout this bear market and emerge as the leading ecosystem:

  • Prioritize prioritize prioritize - make sure we have the right resources available across liquidity, founder community and composability categories per current roadmap
  • Embrace frugality - every $CELO matters, spend wisely with an eye towards supporting initiatives that have the highest ecosystem impact
  • Runway - ensuring 24-36 months of operating runway for Celo Foundation team and key initiatives

With many of the Celo Foundation’s programs effectively denominated in $CELO (eg milestone-based grants, paid in $CELO), expenditures are already programmed to scale up and down based on the price of $CELO.

The one big exception to this has been Celo Foundation payroll and I wanted to share some of the programs we are looking to deploy now that I believe can also be a helpful toolset for any web3 project looking to bring payroll expenses more in sync with web3 cycles:

  • One-time salary swaps for locked tokens and/or ability to take ongoing portion of pay in tokens
  • 4-day work week for equivalent adjusted pay
  • Introducing sabbatical programs to allow people to take a break and recharge
  • Support for employees looking to start their own ecosystem project and/or join ecosystem projects

While we will continue to hire for critical, key roles across the organization, we are placing a hold on other open positions until July to reevaluate. Considering all of the above, we are able to reduce monthly fiat spend on payroll by 30%.

Ecosystem Grants

The Celo Foundation grants committee will continue to provide grants. However, we will reduce amounts compared to bull market levels and prioritize grants that have clear milestones and provide the biggest utility to the ecosystem. Examples of this include: public goods, new protocols and primitives that advances Celo’s mission of prosperity for all, and projects that grow and support the Celo community. We are continuing our popular DeFi for the People and Connect the World programs but will consider them within the broader grants budget and over a 36 months time horizon to ensure we can maximize impact. For more on this, join us for an upcoming grants AMA (will post details in the replies below).

Capital for Ecosystem Founders

One big shift we are making short term is to figure out how to double down on supporting ecosystem projects as they finish fundraises or consider bringing in additional capital. We are excited about Celo Foundation capital we’ve deployed to dedicated Celo ecosystem funds around the world such as EchoVC, Flori Ventures, Polychain Capital, Unicorn Growth Fund, Lightshift and TKX that are excited about Celo projects tackling real world use cases and all are actively writing checks right now. My colleague Amit recently put together a set of resources. Check it out and feel free to reach out to us if we can help making connections.

I am incredibly excited for the opportunity ahead and to continue to grow Celo alongside you all. As one long-time investor recently put it in his letter to founders based on his 30-year history backing many of the most iconic companies of our time: “one of the top traits leading to successful companies is resiliency. Resilient founders build resilient companies, throughout all market conditions.” What’s ahead is a time of incredible opportunity for founders - some of the most impactful companies were started and/or stress-tested during bear markets. This is the time to build!


Hi Rene. Thanks for keep thinking about us, founders in the Celo Ecosystem.

One suggestion: Have you considered doing investments as Celo Foundation and the investments would be distributed in Celo? If this happened to us, we would be able to accomplish a long time plan of ours that is to create a validator for Celo and our own Celo tokens could bring us closer to be elected. Plus, imagine if all the groups and entrepreneurs Celo supported in those 2+ years would go on to create validators and further decentralize the Celo Network?

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Plus, imagine what it would mean for the Celo Treasury balance sheet if, in addition to various tokens, stable assets and ReFi tokens you could hold stocks of the companies of Celo´s own ecosystem?

It would be one more asset that is not correlated to the crypto market cycle and which could grow a lot in value in time.


Hi all, as Rene mentioned we will be hosting a Grants AMA on Twitter Spaces. Do tune-in tomorrow, 8th June at 11 am PT!

Once Social sets up a link for Twitter Spaces, I’ll post it here.



Hi Ed - thanks for your comment! We can cover this in the Grants AMA in more detail, but yes, we usually issue Celo Foundation grants in $CELO, though to the extend that projects have cash needs to cover expenses, grants will often also have a stablecoin component. On the validator front, I agree with you and my hope is that we can extend the validator set in the near term and I have talked to several groups, including many projects building on Celo, wanting to run validators, so I definitely see this as a priority.


Hi Rene. Thanks for your explanation. We from Lovecrypto got a grant from Celo Foundation in 2020 and it was essential for the development of our startup. But the expectation for the grants is to develop the product, what I was trying to suggest, is the possibility of Celo Foundation to invest in the startups in exchange for their equity. I am not sure if it is on Celo´s Foundation mandate to do so, but we would certainly welcome the investment in $CELO at market rate and we would love to use those staked Celos to create our own validator on Celo.

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Hi all, link for Twitter Spaces starting soon!