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!


Hello Community, love the energy generated by this thread as it’s kinda getting uncommon to see contributions on discussions like this on the forum. Shout out to @thylacine for kicking off the discussion and everyone who’s jumped in with feedbacks on the topic.

I’d like hop on one of the points above on Raise the Proposal Submission Threshold.
First I’ll give a scenario of a past events of which i believe also fueled the drive by @thylacine to champion this thread.
CELO X ARTS was a prop I drafted for artist and creatives alike and it was taking onchain after a few feedbacks had been incorporated into the prop from the governance call. At the time, my team and I were full time into driving the project so didn’t see much need to wait for so long once we saw that there wasn’t a single comment or feedback on the forum asides @Juangiraldoc who opinionated we collaborate with @arigallerry who proved abortive to meet with.
Prop went onchain for voting but didn’t pass and @wade reached out to me that Community members are concerned about the multisig being 1/1 which was one of many oversights we made during the first prop vote so we asked to put it to a vote again having met all criteria’s we were initially advised of.
It was only until the second vote had commenced that we had @thylacine jump in with feedbacks on the prop that triggered other feedbacks from the Community of which I must say, made us excited about the community regardless prop passing or not.
To us , to see responses and opinions, and even contributions on our prop gave us a sense of validation of our identity and membership. It also helped us better understand the community more and how to be part of this Community building.

Web3 as a whole is still very young in prominence & hasn’t even combed 10% of world population in user activity. if celo must ascend to heights only imagined of, we must at least try to welcome & embrace all contributors and their ideas regardless how unconventional they may come, not by necessarily approving but by at least engagement for There’s a kernel of truth in every innovative concept. Celo must be flexible enough for adaptation to grow spontaneously.
Albert Einstein, once said, "Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.”

We are all trying to contribute in a decentralized manner to building our community and we must embrace collaboration & engagement for us to strive in this competitive ecosystem.

To enhance this collaborative spirit, it would be beneficial to provide constructive feedback on ideas before they reach the community call stage. If you have insights or suggestions that could positively influence a proposal, sharing them early on can significantly contribute to its improvement.
It’s encouraged not to remain silent and wait until the voting stage to express reservations. Offering feedback before a proposal goes on-chain allows the proposer to incorporate valuable insights from the community. Many of us are continuously learning, and a well-revised proposal can have a substantial impact on the community.
Waiting until the voting stage to voice concerns can be unwelcoming and counterproductive to the principles of prosperity for all and financial inclusivity. It may give the impression that some delegates with ongoing projects on Celo prefer to avoid new initiatives that could compete for follow-up funding. If an idea is not worth considering for voting, expressing reasons early on can save community members time and reduce gas fees associated with voting against proposals.

Secondly, if community continues the trend of usually not engaging or showing interest in opinions and contributions except moderators, and then governance as we know it changes and with these new protocols in place, the only way to take a CGP onchain Is to have 100,000 CELO or get a delegate in the Community with that much voting power to take it on chain for you, how would anyone without that much voting power be able to contribute to growth of the community. How can anyone make impact being a fresh member in community without engagement, it’ll frustrate discussions and ultimately decentralization.
I understand the purpose is to promote alignment with delegates and skin-in-the-game for each proposal but if delegates hardly ever contribute to proposals in building stage except it has to do with them directly or indirectly, there’ll be no game at all to get skin into… if that makes sense.
Especially when a lot of delegates only read props when it’s in voting stage and hardly visit the forum for discussions even when being redirected from discord.

CELO right now has arguably the most actively decentralized community where anyone can come in and have a voiced heard because anyone with 100CELO can make a difference in the community. hinder that and we’ll stunt growth of CELO.
Opera mini has been in operation within Nigeria for years and is almost as popular as the internet itself within Nigeria yet of all Ecosystems to partner with, its celo that’ll be collaborating on the project with mini pay and its on celo it’ll be deploying on. That goes to show that our structure isn’t really that bad. Changes are required yes but we must be careful as to not shoot ourselves in the leg in the name of change.
In the last 18 months, I have never heard of or witnessed any web3 community event as big as the ones I’ve seen in Nigeria till I came across CELO TRIBE and CELO AFRICA.
Was really proud to walk into one of the most prestigious halls in a Nigerian metropolis (CIVIC CENTRE) and see CELO Africa hosting an event and it was dynamic.

I’m not saying the idea of having someone with huge voting power submit proposal for anyone without huge voting power is not a good idea, I’m saying that if we as a community don’t take up collaborations and ensuring engagement in any form on majority of ideas that come up on the forum AS A RESPONSIBILITY, this new proposed protocol will only make CELO more centralized. As we well know, there’s only about a handful of people on celo who with a single vote can be the deciding vote on if a project will pass or be rejected.
The proposed protocol will eventually establish a system where only those actively participating in Celo governance become the active delegates, advocating for proposals aligned with their interests. And concern is that this approach might inadvertently limit governance participation and potentially lead to a situation where a subset of early participants exerts significant influence, potentially steering community funds toward their personal agendas.
I’ve seen this happen so speaking from experience.

All I’m saying in a nutshell is we must take it as a responsibility to try to participate on any idea proposed to the community no matter how small and in any way we can.
With proper questioning and in-depth discussions, we can even sieve out scammers and agendas that don’t favor CELO’s righteous cause.

Sorry for the long read but I had to be detailed in my communication.



I share @sholasparks concerns about the introduction of a submission minimum, recognizing the balance between simplifying mechanism design and the potential introduction of privileges that demand careful consideration.

In this context, I advocate for the creation of a structured list, detailing current pain points alongside proposed features, with an additional field explicitly outlining the rationale behind how each feature addresses a specific pain point. This comprehensive approach can provide valuable insights for individuals not deeply engaged in the ongoing discussions and lowers the barrier for discussion.

I believe one critical issue within the current governance setup is the ratio of stakeholders who fulfill their ‘responsibility’ to vote. I think it is important to understand whether the low participation is a result of numerous unclear proposals or a lack of awareness regarding the heightened importance of individual contributions within a decentralized governance structure. While passive investment behaviour might be less problematic in traditional setups (e.g. stocks) where the equity aspect is stronger than the governance aspect. But for decentralised protocols it can kill the system.

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Additionally, it’s worth noting that innovative proposals may not necessarily come from large stakeholders. Larger stakeholders often focus on stability and securing their investments, and their primary objective may not align with creating new innovations or does not leave them sufficient time to do so. Therefore, introducing a submission minimum, even if the bar is lowered by allowing delegation via large stakeholders, could inadvertently act as a brake on innovation within the system.

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