Celo Governance Improvements - Initial Outline

This working draft aims to increase the transparency, accountability, and overall
effectiveness of Celo Governance by establishing a set of updated Celo Governance Guidelines ahead of CEL2.

The first suggestions for Governance Guidelines have been established based on research into existing L2 Governance Frameworks, the mapping of the Community Proposals and Treasury, and community input through the Celo Governance Calls and Forum Threads.

This thread will be updated as we progress through each of the elements. Input from various stakeholders will contribute to finalizing the framework. In light of the ongoing CEL2 timeline, the target date for a completed Celo Governance Improvement proposal to go up for Community vote by the end of 2023.

Please leave your input on this Forum thread or as comments in the Google Docs version.

Input is requested on each of the sections below:

A. Separate Celo Governance into different categories
Currently, every decision made by Celo Governance is facilitated through a Celo Governance Proposal (CGP) and is subject to the same decision-making process and guidelines.

By separating Governance Proposals into categories based on shared characteristics and establishing a suitable decision-making process for each category, decisions can be streamlined to match each proposal’s nature better.

The framework proposed to separate Celo Governance into the following three categories:

1. Celo Protocol Governance: Facilitates the maintenance and development of the Celo Stack through a Decentralized process guided by the, to be established Celo Improvement Proposal (CIP) standard. The CIP standard would outline the types of decisions that fall under the frameworks and prescribe a clear path for each type.

Examples of past decisions that could fit within the CIP framework are CGP 137: Increase Block Gas Limit to 50M gas and CGP 136: Set baseFeeOpCodeActivationBlock on GasPriceMinimum for Gingerbread hard fork.

We propose cLabs, as the most advanced engineering entity in the Celo Ecosystem, to lead the development of a CIP template and steward this category.

2. Celo Ecosystem Governance: Facilitates initiatives accelerating the Celo Ecosystem through the Celo Community Treasury. Celo Ecosystem Governance would cover any proposal that doesn’t fit in the CIP or MU categories, such as:

- Ecosystem Programs: Funding and Managing Programs that support the development of the Ecosystem. For example, CGP89 Prezenti (Celo Community Fund) stewardship follow-on funding requests and Regional DAO budgets.

- Service Provider Grants: Funding third parties to provide their services to enhance the Celo Ecosystem. For example, CGP142 Funding for cLabs blockchain L2 project.

- Strategic Grants: Funding third parties with a one-off grant to accelerate the Celo Ecosystem. For example, CGP 88 Celo to Join Chainlink SCALE Program To Accelerate Ecosystem Growth.

- Retrospective Rewards: Retrospectively rewarded Celo Ecosystem contributions through a process comparable to Optimism’s Retrospective Public Goods Funding.

  • Any other proposals directly influencing the Celo Ecosystem but not within the CIP or MU categories, such as Ecosystem Brand Guidelines and Community Treasury Management votes.

We propose the establishment of a Celo Ecosystem team that collaborates closely with the Celo Foundation and the wider community to establish Celo Ecosystem guidelines and steward this category.

  1. Mento Governance: Facilitates the maintenance and development of the Mento Treasury and Protocol updates guided by an updated version of the Mento Updates (MU) standard. This category will cease to exist in its current form when Mento transitions to native Governance.

Examples of a past decisions that would fit within the CIP framework are CGP 111: Mento Upgrade 01 Patch 1: MultiCollateral Support and CGP 139: Launch eXOF stablecoin.

We propose Mento Labs, as the primary developer of the Mento Protocol, to lead the development of an updated MU template and steward this category.

B. Celo Ecosystem Delegation and Voting Process
With Celo’s vision revolving around creating conditions of prosperity for all where equal access is table stakes, it is essential to make the Governance process, especially on the Celo Ecosystem level, accessible for a wide range of stakeholders.

Currently, voting on a Celo proposal requires the knowledge and effort of utilizing the Celo CLI - a process that not enough stakeholders are familiar with or using a custom solution such as stCelo.

To lower the threshold for participation and improve the quality of voices in Celo Governance, we propose the following two solutions:

  1. Formalize a Delegate system where involved community members can share their vision for Celo Governance and highlight their votes. This can be done simply by creating a Delegate Profile Thread in the Celo Forum and by each Delegate creating their own Thread to showcase their decisions and rationale. Over time, a Celo Native solution can be developed to enhance the Delegation experience further and connect to new initiatives such as the Delegated Voting Program.

  2. Move voting on the Celo Ecosystem Governance category to Snapshot to simplify the voting process and leverage the existing Governance toolset. To facilitate this, a locked Celo Snapshot strategy will have to be developed and tested.

C. Raise the Proposal Submission Threshold
Currently, any user may submit a Proposal to the Governance at any point by making a small deposit of 100 CELO.

It is proposed to raise the threshold for submitting a proposal. An initial idea would be to increase the submission minimum to have 100,000 CELO locked for a CIP proposal and 10,000 CELO for MUs and Celo Ecosystem votes. If an individual or group doesn’t have the voting power to submit a proposal, they can collaborate with a Delegate with sufficient voting power to submit their proposal. This promotes alignment with delegates and skin-in-the-game for each proposal and reduces the number of spam and rushed submissions.

Next Steps
The following steps are proposed to progress this towards a proposal ready for vote:

  • Gather input from Celo stakeholders on the overall direction of this framework in November.
  • Work out the separate Governance tracks in more detail together with the stakeholders
  • Submit a draft Framework on the Celo Forum in the first week of December.
  • Implement minor changes, and If no major blockers arise, submit the Proposal for Governance Vote in the second week of December.
  • The framework is to be ratified by the end of the year, allowing for a first wave of proposals to be submitted under the new framework in January 2024.

Open Questions:

  • What is the best way to formalize the Celo Ecosystem on/off-chain?
  • Do we want to introduce Governance Cycles such as MakerDAO’s Monthly Governance Cycles to provide a predictable cadency by which governance decisions are made?
  • Can we incorporate some basic constitution and dispute resolution framework/solution in this CIP?

Thanks @LuukDAO for driving this initiative!

Personally I am especially excited about the potential of adding retro funding to Celo governance:

Looking forward to see feedback folks have- I know this has been an area of high interest for the community.


Hey Luuk! You’ve been a massive driving force within the Celo ecosystem, we’re very lucky to have someone with your background and capacity leading and helping on multiple fronts.

I overall like the split between the 3 types of governance segments and we should indeed make it as simple as possible for anyone to participate in voting.

I think 100 CELO is too low, imo should be 1K CELO or even more to make a proposal to the community.

Let’s do this!


Hey! Thanks for this info.

Has there been any discussion/planning around effective separation of powers to ensure greater accountability and checks and balances in Celo governance?

Optimism’s ‘dual house’ model is a good example of this.

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Hey @Raam - we have given it some thought; however, in the case of Optimism, it’s not a full separation of power, as Delegates can also have Token-house voting power. In our case, I imagine a combination of a Delegation systems with for example a special community badge to amplify votes on Retrospective Public Goods funding would be a good fit!