Celo Foundation - 2022 Road Ahead

With the uncertainty and volatility in the markets these past two weeks, I wanted to share an update on how we at the Celo Foundation are thinking about priorities for the remainder of the year. Celo was started during the last bear market and if there’s one thing everyone seems to agree on right now it’s that this next phase that’s ahead of us - however long it is going to be - will be an incredible breeding ground for the protocols, products that will shape the next wave of crypto adoption - finally welcome billions of people around the world to web3. I see many Celo projects being at the center of this movement and I have never been more bullish as to what we can achieve when we come together as a community.

The Celo Foundation’s Role in the Ecosystem

Celo’s mission is to build a regenerative financial system that creates the conditions for prosperity—for everyone. We recognize this ambitious goal is best achieved as a community of organizations and individuals working together. The Celo Foundation is only one piece in the larger Celo story and as such we are excited to recognize, support and encourage efforts to nurture our ecosystem from wherever they emerge - e.g. Celo Camp, Climate Collective and Talent House are examples of community members jump-starting and/or co-creating key ecosystem initiatives.

Following a busy 2021 (see our recently published Annual Report for comprehensive information about the Celo Foundation’s work last year), we began 2022 with a ‘listening tour.’ We surveyed founders and builders in the Celo ecosystem to understand how we, as the Celo Foundation, can best support them as we all come together to make Celo’s mission a reality.

Here are the top requests, stack-ranked by mentions:

  1. Community building, partnerships, and ecosystem growth (30%)
  2. Increasing liquidity and fundraising support (24%)
  3. Celo awareness and ecosystem co-marketing (22%)
  4. Technical, engineering support / developer relations (12%)
  5. Support finding talent / growing team / organizational and program support (11%)

When asking new founders how they pick a L1 on which to build, and also in conversations with founders in our ecosystem, the following broad categories emerged:

  1. Liquidity
  • Centralized Exchanges and Decentralized Exchanges / DeFi
  • Fiat On/Off Ramps - inexpensive and easy to use / implement
  1. Founder Community
  • Create strong connections between ecosystem projects
  • Access to investors and capital (e.g., ecosystem funds and Celo angel network)
  • Programs to support people building on Celo (e.g., hiring, legal, grants)
  1. Composability
  • Key protocols and building blocks exists (e.g., for DAOs, yield, bridging, NFTs)
  • Educate how to create value by working across the ecosystem (e.g. via Alliance for Prosperity programs)

We think about these needs translating to the ‘product’ (or line of products) that the Celo Foundation supports through partnerships and grant awards. We strive to:

  • be agile and iterate our approach as needed,
  • respond to the changing needs of those in the Celo ecosystem,
  • maintain and improve what works well and minimize or deprioritize what does not.

The Celo Foundation’s Long-Term Objective

The Celo Foundation’s team structure (Teal circles) maps to the above areas, and earlier this year, we articulated our overarching objective, which we expect to remain our northstar for the foreseeable future:

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 mission.

We asked ourselves, How do we measure success? The answer is clear when taking a multi-year view, since a lot of our work has been and will continue to be around laying a long-term foundation for ecosystem success. Results may not all come this year. That’s OK.

Success In 2022

At Celo we focus on long-term, real-world adoption. With many exciting ecosystem efforts launching and growing in 2022, we see Celo emerging as a top-ten L1 ecosystem, as captured by a combination of the following key metrics:

  • Number of active developers (as reported by Electric Capital)
  • Number of native projects/protocols with 1k+ MAUs
  • Major ecosystem project to reach 1M+ wallets
  • Orbit model (Gravity, Love, Reach, Orbit Levels, and Presence)
  • Relative CMC rank of Celo, as another proxy for mindshare
  • Liquidity of tokens (e.g., stablecoins, project tokens) on Celo

More importantly, we see Celo as #1 when it comes to ReFi (regenerative finance), and want to ensure Celo is and remains the best and first choice for anyone building ReFi projects. We see roughly three dimensions within ReFi:

  1. Environment: climate, biodiversity, natural assets
  2. Community: community commerce, community currencies
  3. Individual: inclusive access to financial products, UBI

Value of Subtraction

Inspired by the philosophy of the Ethereum Foundation, we similarly value subtraction - we are here to help bootstrap and support but ultimately we are most thrilled when our actions make everyone else in the ecosystem stronger.

Progress to Date and Working In the Open

In the first quarter of this year, we kicked off several initiatives that map directly to the above mentioned priorities and ecosystem needs.

Bringing our global community together in person at Celo Connect and providing a supportive space for collaboration, were our top priorities. We celebrated the ingenuity, strength, and growth of the Celo community, and rallied around making Barcelona Blockchain Week a success. Community events will remain a top priority for the remainder of the year.

We’ve also revamped the DeFi for the People program, continued to grow our outreach efforts, started several collaborations to increase liquidity and accessibility for Celo assets, welcomed many new grant recipients to our community, co-hosted hackathons, launched new educational materials, and embraced new programs that support the ecosystem.

I look forward to us sharing more details here in the Celo Forum, especially around the larger initiatives, and working collaboratively and transparently with others in the community, seeking regular input and sharing progress and milestones. Many Celo Foundation teams hold office hours or post status updates here in the Forum (see Will Le’s Connect the World Update as an example) and we love seeing others in the community do the same.

Onwards!

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Very well said. In this bear market, only the strong will survive

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I believe that now is the time to further consolidate our efforts as the Celo community to build the infrastructure and community that will foster a regenerative financial system that works for everyone.

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This is just me speaking from experience with traditional web2 startup in Silicon Valley.

When the money is easy, a lot of silly ideas and weak/bloated teams get funded and their “vitamin” products can stay afloat.

Once the money becomes tight, only the “painkiller” products stay relevant and only the R&D teams that are truly lean and mean thrive.

The same thing can be applied to crypto.

You have painkiller products like DEX and Defi like Aave, compound, maker, Uni, and Curve etc… that are truly painkillers. These same teams if you check their true core dev headcounts, it’s only like less than half a dozen hardcore protocol devs, the rest of the team are marketing, misc frontend, etc…

Those kind of lean and mean teams will eat the competition in a bear environment. This isn’t an environment where you can afford to hire dozens of mediocre people and expect to survive.

Likewise, the protocol that survive has to solve a real problem and sustainably generate revenue without resorting to ponzi tokenomics.

It’s a better time than ever to be doing blockchain development for the small and nimble team. Someone else cannot outspend you with artificial bubble money anymore.

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