[DRAFT] Prezenti H1 2024 | Celo Grants

Prezenti H1 2024 | Celo Grants

Authors: Prezenti (Aaron, Maya, Wade)

Aligned Public Goods Bucket: CPG Funding Request - Grants & RPFs

Funding request: $343,000 cUSD

Summary


Prezenti is an independent grants organization for bootstrapping and public goods funding in the Celo ecosystem since 2022.

We ask for the community’s support in continuing to operate Prezenti through H1 2024 under the Celo Public Goods proposed budget (governance approved but needing re-execution).

We are applying for your votes to support Prezenti as the recipients of 343,000 cUSD under the budget line item called “Grants & RPFs”. The Celo Public Goods H1 budget document is available here

Based on the ever changing landscape and imminent move to L2 we have updated our disbursement goals.

Prezenti’s 2024 goals

  1. Prosperity for all. Celo must always have a clear doorway to bootstrapping and micro-grants in a truly global economy and protocol that invests heavily in leapfrog nations.
  2. Retain a healthy ecosystem of experimentation on one of the cheapest and most performant EVM-compatible networks out there. Maintain a funding source for pilot projects at a very early stage of development.
  3. Continue to support more mature projects in the Celo ecosystem to launch on mainnet, or grow their scope if already established.

To serve these aims, we plan to split our treasury into individual pools representing each area of focus (more detail below).

Motivation


For the last 18 months Prezenti has been the stewards of two allocations from the on-chain Celo Community Fund, and the sole managers of this vital funding source for small and medium sized ecosystem initiatives. The services Prezenti provided to the community in this remit were; grant application evaluation for scope and relevance, goal tracking, accounting, disbursement, KYC and legal agreements for grantees.

This provides for the community a delegation of trust to Prezenti, that funds are being used responsibly for grants without the community needing to micro-manage and operate each application and recipient directly.

Prezenti acts not as a replacement for on-chain governance (projects were and are always free to apply directly via governance), but a complement: fulfilling a managerial role for smaller scoped projects within our goals.

Additionally, being an independent body we have been able to reach out to Celo’s potential L2 partners to investigate alternative sources of funding to de-risk the on-chain Celo Community Fund and foster wider collaboration with our target L2 ecosystem. These are early conversations and exploratory until we know the chosen stack but represents our continued commitment to the ecosystem as a whole.

Since Prezenti has been closed to new applications since Q3 2023 there has been no clear entrypoint for small and medium sized grant applicants to get financial support on the network. Prezenti held back our application for funds to continue operations into 2024 to collaborate with the governance uplift activities under the Celo Public Goods Funding budget initiative. Now that process is nearing completion we have nearly 6 months of built up demand for applications and are very excited to open the doors again.

During our last two funding rounds, we have set up a robust, lightweight granting body. We have the experience of reviewing a huge variety of applications (141) and are agile and faster than governance. Prezenti received very positive feedback from the community, both on the Celo forum and directly. As a small team we are passionate about what we do and have been waiting to get granting again!

Specification


Prezenti v3 will be different from how it was previously operated. We are moving from 100% milestone-based disbursements to a more goals-based funding approach.

Our operational model to date has been predominantly milestone-based payments where we work closely with the grant recipient during the delivery process. This gives a lot of security that the Celo community won’t be funding under-delivered or inappropriate work, but at the cost of high levels of friction and administrative labor on the Prezenti side - reviewing progressively functional technical work, developing meaningful milestones, communication, and so on.

Applications need to be reviewed in detail and subjectively evaluated with rigor and fairness. While this part of the work is very rewarding and gives a good sense of what’s going on in the ecosystem, we were probably not opinionated enough in our disbursement aims. We stand proudly behind all of our grantees to date, yet recognize that the landscape has changed both for blockchain in general and Celo even more pointedly in the last year.

As mentioned we have updated Prezenti’s mission to 3 goals. To serve these aims, we will split our fully funded treasury into individual pools representing each area focus.

Each pool will have:

  • It’s own strategic goal

  • An individual multisig Safe and signers (the 3 Prezenti stewards)

  • A limited treasury size (which can be topped up individually via governance if popular)

  • Clear grant size for the pool

  • Specific application criteria relevant to that pool

  • Specific disbursement rules relevant to that pool

In general, the higher the ticket size and higher the potential impact for the pool, the higher the application requirements and burden of proof on the applicant they can successfully complete the project.

Matching Funding Goals to Pools


Goal 1:

Prosperity for all. Celo must always have a clear doorway to enable bootstrapping and micro-grants in a truly global economy and protocol that invests heavily into leapfrog nations.

Pool: Mini Pool

  • One-off payment for contributions in the Celo ecosystem
  • No KYC, no legal burden on the recipient
  • Maximum disbursement $2,000 cUSD
  • Starting size of pool $48,000 cUSD

Expected use cases:

  • True bootstrapping for projects at the start of their journey.
  • Retroactive funding by request or discretion to support individuals going above and beyond in the ecosystem. Some examples might be:
    • Community management
    • Open source code contributors
    • Governance management
    • Educational content

What this pool is not:

A free-for-all petty cash.

Goal 2:

Retain a healthy ecosystem of experimentation on one of the cheapest and most performant EVM-compatible networks out there. Maintain a funding source for pilot projects at a very early stage of development.

Pool: Pilot Pool

This pool is very close to how Prezenti operated in 2022 and 2023.

  • Must be be open source or published
  • Must be built, tested, and deployed on Celo testnet or (hopefully) mainnet
  • Direct application process. Applicants must fulfill our subjective criteria which relate to: project goals, financial sustainability, impact to the network, cohesiveness with other protocols, and so on.
  • Payments will be split 50% at project onset, and 50% after agreed delivery.
  • Delivery of project includes socializing and communicating your work
  • One-size fits all disbursement of up to $10,000 cUSD total
  • Applicants will sign a short contract with Prezenti and be KYC’d through TrustID
  • Starting size of pool $120,000 cUSD

Expected use cases:

New projects, yet to build and deploy a feasibility study, pilot, low-fidelity prototype, or MVP. Emphasis here is that this pool has a small ticket size for simply getting off the ground. Applicants will be expected to deliver to at least testnet (if technical) of a sufficient quality to potentially continue if the pilot is successful. At this stage, we are not expecting a fully-fledged project. Projects must open-source the code and communicate anything learned along the way. Priority will be given for public goods style projects over commercial enterprises (although the latter is not disqualifying, if it meets the application criteria).

What this pool is not:

  • Operational expenditure for established projects
  • Marketing expenditure for established projects
  • Funding for events management
  • Cash incentive for an established project on another blockchain to deploy on Celo
  • Liquidity provisioning for a project
  • Disbursement for incremental new features on an established project
  • Disbursement for once-off projects that have no aim of financial self-sustainability or cohesiveness with the wider ecosystem (for example to pay an artist for a NFT PFP collection)

Goal 3:

Continue to support more mature projects in the Celo ecosystem to launch on mainnet, or grow their scope if already established.

Pool: Growth Pool

This pool is very close to how Prezenti operated in 2022 and 2023.

  • Must be open source or published
  • Must be built for and deployed to Celo mainnet and be open to the public
  • Direct application process. Applicants must fulfill our subjective criteria which relate to: project goals, financial sustainability, impact to the network, cohesiveness with other protocols, and so on.
  • Payments will be split 50% at project onset, and 50% after agreed delivery.
  • Delivery of project includes socializing and communicating your work
  • One-size fits all disbursement of up to $25,000 cUSD total
  • Applicants will sign a short contract with Prezenti and be KYC’d through TrustID
  • Starting size of pool $150,000 cUSD

Expected use cases:

Grantees for the Growth Pool are expected to launch on Celo mainnet. Applications for this pool may be for incremental features for ecosystem mainstays or public goods, as long as all the standard application criteria are met. Capitalization and needs-assessment may be a factor in application success. VC-funded, private, for-profit companies are not disqualified as a hard rule (these companies are often the best placed to deliver complex and high quality solutions) if they are clearly delivering something pivotal to the community.

What this pool is not:

  • Funding to directly pay for continuous project salaries
  • Purely marketing expenditure
  • Venture capital investment in the company
  • Funding for events management
  • “Pay for play” cash payments for an established project on another chain to deploy on Celo
  • Liquidity provisioning for a project
  • Token listing fees for a project
  • Disbursement to fund a well capitalized, privately controlled, commercial-only company

Current status


This will be our third request from the Celo Community Fund after two successful tranches since June 2022. For details on the past successful proposals, the discussions and some project highlights, please see:

To date we have:

  • 141 received applications

  • 43 contracts signed (totalling over $924.6k cUSD)

  • 30 grants have been completed, 12 still ongoing.

Because this is essentially ‘top up’ funding there will be no additional set up costs required.

Timeline and milestones


As a self-governing grants organization, setting a concrete timeline or milestones isn’t quite straightforward for our operation. Our progress is deeply influenced by the diverse and quality applications we receive, which means our path is shaped by the innovative ideas and projects that come our way, keeping things fresh and exciting.

Payment Terms
We request 100% payment upfront. As noted, our plan is to create a multi-sig and safe for each new ‘pool’. We aim to be transparent about how much cUSD is available in each pool at any time and be able to quickly request a top up if the community deems it needed. We have a history of transparent accounting that can easily be verified here

‘Pool’ per month for 6 Mths No. per half yr Project max Total Notes
Mini pool 4 24 2,000 48,000 One off payment. No feedback, cool down period, public submission, list to pick from
Pilot pool 2 12 10,000 120,000 50% upfront, 50% after delivery of community presentation
Growth pool 1 6 25,000 150,000 50% upfront, 50% after delivery of community presentation
Sub total 318,000
Admin 1 6 800 25,000* We will utilize existing funds for most of the associated management fees
TOTAL 343,000

*We request only a small top up of our admin to create a buffer for unforeseen events. We fortunately still have a healthy amount to cover the existing grants. So essentially our work is mostly paid for by the previous governance proposals. Our current administrative wallet contains $63059. It should also be noted the extra allocation is to act as a buffer and will likely be returned. If this proposal is not successful, any additional funds will be returned to the Celo Community Fund once all grants have completed.

Utilization of existing funds

Est. monthly spend Per/month 6 months Notes
Steward time 7,200 43,200 No increase, as per previous proposals, $134/hr
Admin/accounting 2,050 12,300 Subscriptions, accounting and legal costs
Directors meet up 833 5,000 Annual meeting
TOTAL 10,083 60,500

Metrics and KPIs

Success for Prezenti is successfully granting all the allocated treasury to a globally strong set of ventures and ideas. For obvious reasons successfully signed contracts depend on good quality applications coming in, that move the needle for the Celo ecosystem. This can often only be measured with the passing of time; of course a lot of well-intentioned work and projects do fail - that is the nature of web3 and giving of early stage grants. For readily available metrics Prezenti aims to:

KPI Pool: Achievement
KPI: 1 Mini Pool: 12 grants issued within a 6 month timeframe.
KPI: 2 Pilot pool: 7 grants issued within a 6 month timeframe.
KPI: 3 Growth pool: 3 grants issued within a 6 month timeframe.
KPI: 4 No. of grants needing to be terminated is <2
KPI: 5 No. of grants not completing on time <4 (pilot and growth pools only)
KPI: 6 Annual Directors meeting held in 2024 H1
KPI: 7 Transparency of accounting to community

Team


Wade

Wade’s career transitioned into crypto, founding TPT, an independent validator firm, and w3sc, a consultancy supporting blockchain projects. His early work with Celo influenced his role in Prezenti and other ventures. Wade actively contributes to open-source projects in various ecosystems throughout our industry and is a council member at Staking Defense League. Prezenti, funded by Celo, reflects his commitment to funding Open Source Public Goods.

Maya

Founder and steward of Prezenti, with a background in project management, grants and INGOs. During 2021-22 she was the Chief Operating Officer for a UK based fintech building on Celo, helping them deliver cash transfer programs to help vulnerable users use Celo to meet their basic household needs. Previously she spent 5 years running a low carbon technology grant programme for a UK quango, disbursing over £50m, and for 7 years worked for Save the Children UK supporting end-to-end grant management in East Africa managing funds from a variety of donors. Recently, Maya also became a passive Celo public good steward.

Aaron

A career software engineer, technologist, and founder and operator of atalma.io: a protocol-aligned infrastructure company validating on Celo, Ethereum, and expanding to the Cosmos ecosystem. Aaron has deep experience in the Celo ecosystem, having been a validator since genesis, and a Foundation grant recipient for the node visualization tool Vido (https://vido.atalma.io/) used to debug and review network performance. One of the founding members of the Staking Defense League, an infrastructure special interests group aimed at promoting decentralization in the staking space. Freelance Solidity, blockchain, and cloud engineer. Recently, Aaron also became a passive Celo public good steward.

Additional support/resources

Depending on the types and quality of applications, we may reach out to the community for specific experts to help with particular reviews. This currently remains tbc.

This proposal is currently linked to the Governance uplift proposal. We will not submit our on-chain governance request until the outcome of the uplift proposal.

9 Likes

Full support to the new initiative, for funding projects based on goals based approach - as it helps to keep track of the progress of projects building on Celo and their impact in the ecosystem alongside funding the initial development stages.

4 Likes

Hi @Wade,

I’m thrilled with this proposal; I think all the buckets make sense, and Prezenti has proven to execute effectively (shown by the leftover budget and progress).

Can you add [DRAFT] to the title for now and update it to [FINAL] when you’re ready to submit it to Celo Public Goods funding? This way, stakeholders can track stages!

Based on your final comment about Uplift - the earliest that the Prezenti proposal would be able to submit is next week Wednesday, assuming Celo Public Goods voting starts this Friday and Uplift submits from day 1.

5 Likes

Prezenti is operated by awesome and beautiful people, and everyone should support this!

Note: I’m just reserving top-level reply space so I can add additional information later if needed. :slightly_smiling_face:

5 Likes

The Prezenti team has been helpful towards our pilot program at Wasset. Kudos to the amazing team :champagne:

3 Likes