I’m Tim, CEO at cLabs. I wanted to share some background about cLabs and open a discussion on using the Community Fund to provide funding for and accelerate our blockchain and L2 roadmap.
As you may know, the Mento Reserve is returning 120M CELO to the Community Fund. As of 9/19, it has already returned 25M CELO and is planning to return an additional ~95M. Celo’s on-chain governance can then determine both temporary uses of the funds (e.g locking the funds in reward-bearing protocols, to provide liquidity and grow the funds) and permanent uses (to support infrastructure and developers and grow the community). I posted back in March about deploying these funds for core public goods infrastructure for Celo, and I think now is the right moment to consider this further.
cLabs is a major contributor to the Celo platform. The team comprises individuals that have been instrumental in making Celo what it is today, not least our CTO, Marek Olszewski, one of the Founders of Celo.
cLabs closely aligns with Celo’s mission to build a financial system that creates the conditions for prosperity — for everyone. We believe that building on and contributing to the Celo platform is the best way of achieving our vision.
cLabs is a non-stock, non-profit corporation. We have no shareholders or investors. The majority of our focus is on Celo’s public goods – i.e, those pieces for which there is no associated revenue model – development of the blockchain and core smart contracts, as well as building and operating services like Explorer and Forno, the Alfajores testnet, ODIS combiners, and much more. Our Security team proactively monitors for and responds to all kinds of threats from malicious actors. Our Product team works hard to gather input from developers and users and drive forward cLabs’ contributions.
Our income comes from three sources:
- Grant funding – currently entirely from the Celo Foundation
- Consulting income – we engage with enterprises and teams building on Celo where it’s strategic to do so and where it doesn’t divert focus from public goods
- (Long term) Equity in spin outs – we’ve spun out Valora, Hyperlane and Mento Labs and the equity cLabs holds could eventually become liquid
As a non-profit, any surplus income we receive is ultimately directed towards our public goods work – salaries, cloud and hosting costs, security vendors and auditors.
Right now, by far the largest source of income cLabs receives is a direct grant from the Celo Foundation.
Our eventual aim is to have cLabs’ public goods work be evergreen, funded in perpetuity through a diversity of revenue streams, including grants, consulting, and operating network services like validators/sequencers, and providing free and paid tiers for other services.
As a step towards this goal, I want to propose a Community Fund grant for one portion of our work – the blockchain and L2 roadmap.
I see several advantages to the Community Fund making this grant:
- It would allow cLabs to accelerate its contributions to the Celo L2 roadmap and blockchain scalability work, by funding additional resources for it
- It would diversify funding and make cLabs’ blockchain roadmap more directly driven by and answerable to the community
- It would put underutilized funds in the Community Fund to work on improving the platform for developers and users
- It would allow cLabs to direct funds from the Celo Foundation towards other areas of its public goods work
Funding cLabs Blockchain
cLabs blockchain team budget is as follows:
|8 existing engineer salaries and overheads||$157k|
|2-2.5 FTE additional engineer salaries and overheads||$28k|
|Google Cloud budget for performance, scaling, correctness testnets||$10k|
|Auditing budget, amortized||$10k|
|Total USD per month||$220k|
|Equivalent to total CELO per month @ $0.40/CELO||551k CELO|
I am proposing that the Community Fund begin to support cLabs blockchain and L2 roadmap work with a 12-month grant of 6608k CELO.
This would provide coverage for:
- Funding the existing blockchain team
- Full funding for 2-2.5 additional FTE engineers (depending on level, hiring date, etc) for the blockchain and L2 effort, speeding development once they are ramped up
- Scale testing: We stand up and tear down 100+ node testnets for performance and failure testing, invaluable in scalability work as well as helping make the network more resilient: this costs cLabs tens of thousands of dollars, and this proposal would allow the team to do more of that work.
- Auditing with highly regarded third-party audit firms for key portions of new code
These funds will be ring-fenced and not used to support other functions, projects, or individuals outside the blockchain. To provide deeper transparency and accountability for the use of funds, we will enable the Celo Foundation’s finance and grants team access to our records in order to make a public statement to the community to confirm that this grant was used for the purposes described here.
I propose that the grant be deployed into a
ReleaseCelo smart contract. This would enable the funds to vest monthly, over 12 months, and with a 6 month cliff before which point all of the funds are locked. The Governance contract would be the releaseOwner of the contract. This means that if cLabs doesn’t meet its commitments, or doesn’t use all of the funds for the described purpose, a subsequent governance proposal could revoke the contract and any unvested CELO would return to the Community Fund.
cLabs would aim to incur these expenses and deploy these funds over a target period of 12 months. The team is presently based in the European Union and in Argentina. If the exchange rate for CELO-USD or USD-EUR varies, then the grant may stretch to cover costs beyond the 12 month period, or may need to be augmented by cLabs’ own funds in the event of a shortfall.
Ongoing funding from Celo Foundation would continue to support all of the other public goods contributions that cLabs makes.
I recognize that this is a substantial amount of CELO, but it is one that cLabs, in the main part, is already committing – and hopes to continue committing into the future of the Celo platform. This team have been the primary driver behind the “Celo 2.0” Roadmap released in February, the L2 proposal, the Flan and upcoming Gingerbread hard fork, as well as ongoing maintenance releases, scalability work and Ethereum compatibility efforts.
If the response here is supportive, we’ll assemble a CGP and on-chain proposal once the Mento funds are returned.
Happy to take any questions or suggestions and shape this proposal with you.
Update 12/19: correct current amounts of Celo planned to return by Mento reserve