A conversation starter on the community roadmap and the role cLabs plays
Alberto Martin, Head of Product, cLabs
September 23, 2021
As members of the community know, Celo’s mission is to build a financial system that creates the conditions for prosperity for everyone. It is an ambitious mission and one only possible with the support and dedication of a global community. cLabs is only one of the many contributors. Many of the key milestones we have achieved to date are products of collaboration across the vibrant and fast-growing ecosystem. From building Celo’s incentivized network and successfully launching mainnet to the launch of cUSD and cEUR, Plumo, Optics and Defi For the People, it’s been a community effort.
A key responsibility of cLabs is to support like-minded entrepreneurs, founders and builders as best we can. We continually work to inspire their delight and gain and retain their trust by enabling them to build new tools, and by holding sacred our responsibilities and commitment to platform stability and security.
As an open, permissionless platform with unique features and full EVM compatibility, there are countless applications that can be built on Celo in line with our mission for prosperity for all. While we are excited about everything that’s being built on Celo, we’ve been particularly interested in three areas that arise from the founding vision of Celo:
Community Commerce: We see a world in which communities can bootstrap an economy that is supportive of the small-scale entrepreneurs in those communities. Commerce can be a potent force for strengthening community – we see this in local contexts, where independent retailers on main street often are the glue that hold small towns together, and we see this in the global context, where platforms like Etsy are known as much for their sense of community as they are for their platform capabilities. There are many efforts across the ecosystem in this space already: for example, creator platforms, mutual credit protocols, community currencies and vertical marketplaces. We see many more opportunities here, both on the protocol and application level, for example, community-created games, small-group cultural production, community DAOs, and more.
Regenerative Economies & Climate: We want to help foster a financial system in which growth in the economy leads directly to regeneration of global ecologies. The original Celo vision was that 40% of the Celo Reserve be in tokenized natural assets, from protected forest, peatland, regenerative ag, and similar tokenized natural assets. At the current Reserve size, this would meet 0.25% of the IPCC carbon removal goal! This effort will need to be a community effort — currently, a few community projects have started to create NFTs and tokenized representations of natural capital and carbon credits. We will need many more of these efforts, including staking services where people can stake-to-preserve forest, oracles that instrument and report on ecological state of forest and soil, exchanges and NFT marketplaces that create liquidity for natural capital assets.
Universal Basic Income (UBI) and Universal Access to Financial Tools: In the long run, we see universal basic income as an economic imperative, and because 1.7b people remain underbanked, we see the only viable path to global, inclusive UBIs to be through crypto. And a UBI alone is not enough: everyone with a smartphone should have access to the same financial tools as the top 1% — basic financial primitives such as credit, stable low-risk yield, and insurance should be available to everybody. We see many efforts here in the Celo ecosystem, from UBI protocols like ImpactMarket and GoodDollar, DeFi protocols like Moola, Aave, Ube, PoolTogether, and new services for savings and uncollateralized lending that are just popping up.
Building Tools for Developers
At cLabs, we see our role as building some of the basic building blocks that allow the developer community to build applications like these. We recently surveyed builders in our community to learn more about their needs, and two key areas of importance emerged from those conversations:
- Core platform features, like scalability
- Flywheel features that help generate necessary liquidity and use cases
We see cLabs address these priorities as follows:
Core Platform Features
Goal: Build a secure, reliable, scalable platform with the interoperable primitives Celo developers care about.
This may include focusing on:
- Improved speed. Continuing work to dramatically increase transaction throughput, including through strategic community collaborations e.g. working with the Mysten Labs team to bring the Narwhal and Tusk consensus innovations to Celo. We aim to make Celo the fastest EVM compatible platform over the course of the next year. We will contribute technology that will make bridging between chains 10x faster, and follow any Ethereum network updates with proposals that maintain compatibility between the two chains…
- A rich set of developer tools and platform primitives. Help developers efficiently build the dApps and digital assets they desire on top of Celo, and lead the community in adding rich primitives to Celo for identity, payments, and more, allowing end users to get a richer experience while seamlessly inter-operating across different wallets, apps and tools.
- A continued focus on security and decentralization. Explore further opportunities for expanding the community’s role in operating and governing Celo, including working to expand the set of validators to 250 by the end of 2022.
- More assets for local communities. Integrate additional stable-value assets that are easy for users to receive, send and hold.
Flywheel features for Liquidity and Utility
Goal: Incubate key ecosystem building blocks to (a) bridge the Web2.0 world with Web3 by building easy to use dApps and enterprise-like features; and (b) innovate around long-term platform differentiators (e.g., identity, reputation).
This may include focusing on:
- MoFi (mobile-first) applications that enable users to engage their crypto value in a number of ways in just a few clicks.
- Providing users access to uncollateralized loans based on users social reputation.
- Enabling online and brick-and-mortar store purchases for every user using stablecoins via mobile phones.
- Rapid check payments in crypto.
Prioritizing a healthy, secure, core platform and necessary flywheel goals will enable the community to build a wide variety of applications to benefit the ecosystem and the world.
We are excited to help provide the community with tools to help drive Celo’s mission, and this is the start of a conversation. We would love to hear what you see as priorities for the ecosystem and where cLabs can be most helpful. We will review cLabs priorities regularly, and we’d like to do so in community, in the open.