Foundation Validator Voting Program - EOY Program Updates

Hello Validator Community,

Eric here from the Developer Relations and Community team at the Celo Foundation. I have some updates to the Validator Voting Program to share with you.

Shortly after the launch of Celo Mainnet, the Foundation Voting Program began to support the Celo network by helping to establish a diverse set of validators. Since then, a large set of validators have been elected by a diverse set of voters using a number of community-created tools and dapps. As ongoing progress towards community-driven self-governance continues, I am sharing some adjustments to enable the community-led efforts and to continue the work of further decentralization of the network.

To that end, over the past two years the Foundation Voting Program has been lowering the amount that it votes for validators and has required validators in the program to increase the share of votes that they receive from other sources. These changes have had the desired effect of increasing decentralization over time. We intend to continue this trend with the eventual phasing out of the program in its current state, tentatively, at the end of 2024. We think this change will contribute positively to the security of the network and encourage all validators receiving foundation votes to slowly prepare for this change by continuing to solicit votes from the broader community. We also envision community-run programs to step in, e.g. the Celo DAO can decide on how to stake the Celo Community Fund.

Upcoming Program Changes & Developments:

We are initiating important program changes that are effective immediately. These changes will be relevant not only for our current validators but also for future cohorts. Rest assured, we’ve dedicated significant effort to ensure a seamless and minimally disruptive transition for all involved.

Voting Allocations - The amount of CELO votes given to validators, across the program, shall continue to decrease at the same rate.

Validator Cohort Size - The program aims to concentrate its votes by reducing the cohort size.

Vote Delegation Now Available - The Celo CLI has been updated to allow delegating votes to up to 10 delegators. Validators are ideal candidates for receiving vote delegation. Delegated voting can also be a way to raise your group’s visibility and attract community votes. Some notable organizations that are shifting to delegating their votes include a16z.

Progress to Community-Driven Validator Voting - Work is underway with the Celo DAO to rethink how the Community Fund is managed. With the return of CELO from the Mento Reserve, there is an opportunity for the community to redirect some (perhaps 25 million CELO) for up to 25 validators. A complementary community-driven program will also enable more community accountability and influence in the validator selection process.

Additionally, other organizations and large token holders in the ecosystem have started their own Validator Voting programs distributing their votes amongst validators.

Why These Changes?

After careful deliberation, community-driven changes will support the expansion of our community and allow the community to establish higher standards for the network, ensuring a fair and diverse ecosystem, and gaining additional accountability and influence.

For existing or new Validators impacted by these changes:

Validators interested in gaining more votes from the community should work to highlight their contributions to the network and the community, keep their online presence up to date, and participate in validator community discussions.

Active presence in the Celo community is always encouraged and celebrated. Examples of an active presence include actively voting on governance proposals, joining governance planning or proposal review calls, supporting the validator community on Discord, interacting with the wider community through posts and comments on the Forum, and most recently voting with delegated votes. Since Validator groups are visible members of the community they are becoming best first candidates for vote delegation.

Your input matters:

This evolution is a collaborative effort, and your feedback is appreciated. Please share your thoughts below and help us shape the path forward for the Foundation Voting Program.

Thank you for your support and active participation, which continually drive us to strengthen and diversify our network.