Funding for cLabs blockchain public goods work

@0xGoldo this proposal, if approved, would not affect/change Celo Foundation’s funding of cLabs. The idea here, from discussing with @tim, would be to accelerate the L2 roadmap and scalability work:

Note also that these funds would be initially locked, vesting over time.

With Celo’s recent adoption growth (active wallets up 500% in last 6M) and new major initiatives like MiniPay going live, I do appreciate @tim starting a conversation around how to unlock more funding for core blockchain work as well as key public goods (eg SocialConnect).

@tim how do you see other companies in the ecosystem, especially those that have the engineering capacity, be able to contribute to core public goods work (we have started to see some examples of that happening eg with Valora’s work around FiatConnect standard) - and could this proposal be updated to accelerate the way for that to happen at a bigger scale than currently.


That is a great idea. Lovecrypto Inc would love to contribute to Fiat Connect API and Connect the world, since we are already familiar with the API and would like to see the Connect the World initiative to grow.

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The advantage ReleaseGold has is that allows for locking and voting even on the unvested portion. We can definitely consider alternatives, or adding some extra features into ReleaseGold. Biggest wish list item for me would be a new, simplier ReleaseStCelco or using an off-the-shelf contract to do vesting on stCELO.

They’re worth every penny :slight_smile: And definitely the plan if this passes is to hire into the blockchain team, so if you or anyone here is into geth, golang, op-geth, cryptography in rust, distributed systems in general, we should chat :slight_smile:

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cLabs would love to continue to broaden the contributor base. My hope, leading on from the other Governance discussion going on, would be that the community could form a “Prezenti for Infrastructure” to receive funding to invite, select and support some of these core public goods contributions. I recognize that this may take a while though, so wouldn’t want to hold up this proposal behind that.

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cLabs’ work is fundamental to the Celo blockchain. Additional headcount to help accelerate the work to rejoin Ethereum is, in my opinion, crucial for the community.

Given the timing of work required, I wouldn’t be opposed to do away with the 6 cliff although I can see the value in the lock-up. Assuming that the expenses will be paid in USD/EUR, and given the size of the grant, I would ask that there is a plan to monetize the Celo assets in an orderly manner e.g., using an experienced trading desk to minimize the impact on the market.

All that to say, I am supportive of this proposal.


Thanks for the support, everyone. Please keep the suggestions+questions coming.

We’ll look to present this at the next governance call and then put together an on-chain proposal.

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@tim, if by “Next governance call” you mean this week’s call, please comment here or on the Github issue ASAP to be added to the schedule. If you are referring to the October call there is no rush.

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thanks for the nudge! I’ll be there Friday.

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Hi everyone! The proposal is now live on-chain: please consider voting!


Hey @tim and team,

Pasting my message from the Celo Ecoystem TG here!

I was surprised to see the proposal go up for a vote as the Forum Thread has been inactive for nearly a month, and few changes have been made since the first draft submission on the forum.

Generally - I believe passing any significant proposals (this is the largest proposal ever) under current sub-optimal Governance structures (as articulated here) is harmful to the Celo Ecosystem. Without clear guidelines and a rigorous and milestone-based proposal, this effort may set the wrong standard for Celo Governance.

cLabs - being one of the most respected entities and largest stakeholders of the Celo Ecosystem - has the responsibility to be a good example when it comes to clarity and transparency around budget asks, especially given this is a budget on top of what cLabs receives from the Celo Foundation.

I suggest we refrain from voting on this proposal now - collaborate on setting a proper Governance Framework and Proposal Structure as started in the Celo Governance Development Sprint ahead of CEL2 and resubmitting afterward.

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Let’s work together to find a solution to this. I appreciate your input, and as I said on the other thread, really appreciate your efforts to improve Governance structures on Celo.

My approach has been to put forward a proposal that funds the team, not a specific project - although the L2 project is one part of that work. I think it’s important that we can fund such activities in a decentralized way in the Celo ecosystem. While we have a strong conviction about the L2 direction, and have been actively working on it, the project is early and many aspects of it are tough to define because of the decisions the community has yet to make on it. I tried to highlight some alternative or additive mechanisms we can use to ensure that cLabs is held accountable for use of the funds above, but welcome to more suggestions and feedback on this (or any other topic).

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Just a quick note to folks to say that @LuukDAO and I chatted and we’re going to bring back a strengthened proposal next week.

I’ll mark the current proposal as “Please don’t vote” and since it’s not approved it will be rejected as Unapproved. (Withdrawing a proposal is a simple feature we definitely should add!)

I appreciate everyone’s input as we work to get the best result for the Celo community.



Let’s be honest, the “community” isn’t voting on anything. It’s two wallets that holds millions of CELO which is approving everything. Like Luuk said, we need more transparency and new governance structure. These votes as-is are essentially pointless and we all know it

The proposal is also too vague. Provide a detailed roadmap, which outlines milestones that needs to be reached in order to continue receiving the funding.

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Revised proposal: funding for cLabs CEL2 project

TL;DR - what’s changed vs the earlier proposal?

  • We’ve focused the proposal on a specific project, the development of the L2, rather than a team that does a range of public goods work.
  • We’ve published an L2 roadmap that details the milestones covered by this proposal
  • We’ve refactored the grant around the first ~6 months worth of milestones for this roadmap, taking into account all of the resources we’d need to execute it
  • The grant amount requested is commensurately lower, at 2,769,504 CELO in 6 equal installments of 461,584 CELO, in anticipation of a future grant request for subsequent milestones
  • We double down on best practices we expect to see emerging from the governance sprint:
    • We set the CELO price for the grant on the basis of the prior 60-day average close per CoinMarketCap
    • (As before) Grants made to a ReleaseGold contract, with a cliff and time-based vesting schedule
    • (As before) Grant is revocable at any time before completion by a future governance vote
    • We commit to report our progress to the Forum at each milestone, and on completion
    • We’ve added an FAQ that provides more detailed answers to common diligence questions

Thank you to everyone in the community who has worked to help make this proposal stronger. Once further questions are resolved, this updated proposal will be submitted again to on-chain governance as a new CGP.

The CEL2 Project Milestones

This governance proposal seeks funding from the Celo Community Fund to accelerate the workstream that cLabs kicked off with its proposal to transition Celo to an L2 on Ethereum, which was widely supported by the Celo and Ethereum communities.

Today we published an outline L2 roadmap including more detail on what we’ve done so far, and what we think is next – both in terms of the process we see for selecting a stack but also the development milestones beyond that.

The first part of this roadmap should be taken as the basis for the milestones for this project grant proposal. This represents the following milestones:

Milestone Overview Deliverables Time estimate
(1) L2 Transition Foundations (Completed: scaffolding for L2 testnets) Completed
S Stack Selection Guidance and recommendations on L2 stack – Temperature check decision by community Mid-December ‘23
2 L2 with Celo features First public L2 testnet ~2 months - End of November ‘23
3 L2 with 1-block finality Second public L2 testnet ~2 months - End of January ‘24
4 Data Availability Layer Third public L2 testnet ~1-3 months - End of March ‘24 (high uncertainty; depends on 3rd party eng teams)
5 Decentralized Sequencer Design Design docs and prototypes (testnet implementation is a subsequent stage) Further ~2 months - End of May '24

Cost estimates

Cost Category Details Monthly cost
Technical staff $191,250 - defrayed as ~70k EUR, ~60k cUSD, ~$60k worth of CELO
7.8 FTE blockchain engineers (senior to staff level)
1 engineering intern
1 FTE product manager
1 FTE devops engineer
1 FTE smart contracts engineer
Infra and tools Google Cloud budget for operating testnets $10k USD
Audit costs None (no production releases)
Travel and expenses None
Marketing costs None

Total estimates:

  • Time period: Nov 1 to end-May '24 (~6 months)
  • Cost estimate: $192,251 per month for 6 months → $1,207,503 USD
  • Grant requested: 2,769,504 CELO in 6 equal installments of 461,584 CELO each (Calculating CELO at $0.436 by CoinMarketCap average close price over 60 days prior to 10/27/23)


What happens after this project is completed?

We envisage this shorter revised proposal will require a follow-on proposal for the subsequent stages of the project, to take the Celo L2 to mainnet.

Will all code and work product be released under open source licenses (and which)?

Yes. All code will be released under the same permissive licenses governing the core Celo code bases, except where necessary to respect licenses inherited from other projects.

What happens to profits that arise from work done under this grant?

The work done under this grant will be released under open-source licenses and made available at no charge to the Celo community. cLabs is a non-profit organization focused on public goods work and none of this work has an associated revenue model, beyond furthering the mission of the Celo project.

What happens if you don’t get this grant?

If cLabs does not receive this funding, it will continue work on the project using funding from other sources, but with fewer resources. The project will be delivered more slowly, and likely in a less fully-featured way. Other cLabs public goods work will also be curtailed to ensure this project gets prioritized.

What are the risks around successful execution of this project?

The errors bars on these milestones are significant because:

  • The community decision between L2 stacks is ongoing: the architectures of these stacks vary significantly, and are under active development
  • The design is likely to depend on the availability of key services provided by 3rd parties, for example proto-danksharding or EigenDA, which are still under active development and whose timelines may shift or whose designs might change
  • Blockchain client development is challenging work requiring a deep understanding of distributed systems, decentralization, and security.

What happens if this project falls behind or the plan changes?

Given the ongoing high degree of community input, plus third-party dependencies, the timeline for the project might change, making certain milestones simpler or more complicated. Any likely schedule changes will be highlighted in updates to the forum, and the community involved in discussions around scope changes. In the event the project is completed ahead of schedule, subsequent milestones can be started using any remaining funds. If the reverse, a follow-on proposal may seek funding for additional work remaining to be completed.

How can the community ensure the funds are only used for this project, and that the project is delivered after the project passes?

As described previously, 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 and any governance grant coordinators access to our records, subject to ensuring confidentiality of employee records and commercial agreements, in order to make a public statement to the community to confirm that this grant was used for the purposes described here.

We propose that the grant be deployed into a ReleaseGold smart contract. This would enable the funds to vest monthly, over 6 months, and with a 2 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 (while allowing for the significant timing risks outlined above), 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.

How will you keep the community informed about progress?

cLabs will maintain an active dialog with the community and regularly seek input to direct the work, through regular forum posts and its open source project and bug tracker. We will make a forum post every milestone, and at completion.

Milestones 2, 3 and 4 will result in public testnets being made available or updated. Milestone 5 also results in public design docs.

How is an L2 stack getting selected?

cLabs’ initial proposal included a detailed design based on the OP Stack. Since the governance temperature check passed, other builders of L2 stacks have made alternate stack implementation suggestions. While this has pushed out our goal of a stack-specific roadmap by some weeks, it has triggered many productive conversations in the community. Ultimately, we believe the final outcome will be more compelling as a result. This update on CEL2 work has more detail. While cLabs will actively participate in this evaluation, only the community can determine the final decision through voting on a governance proposal, and ultimately validators by choosing to follow a hard fork.

Does this proposal bring new individuals (of what skillset) into the Celo community?

The grant will fund at least one new senior blockchain developer role (for which strong candidates are already in the interview process), and one new intern (hiring not started), bringing new talent to work full-time on the most impactful technical projects being undertaken in Celo today.

Who are cLabs?

cLabs is the largest 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.


Thank you Tim for taking in the community feedback like a champion. This revised proposal together with the additional clarity on CEL2 makes proud to be part of the Celo Ecosystem. I propose leaving this version up for a day or two, and unless there is any large pushback, getting this up for vote this week.


I love the integration of feedback here to hone into a proposal that aims to execute on a tangible project that I believe is instrumental to the future success of Celo as a unique ecosystem connecting to the broader Ethereum galaxy. @LuukDAO hats off to you for putting in the time in to support the refinement of this proposal, and @tim for integrating feedback.


Hi all, the updated CGP-0106 is merged into the repo, and I’ll propose it on-chain shortly.

Proposal 142 is on-chain and in upvote stage, ready for voting tomorrow!

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24hrs left on this proposal and we are not yet at quorum – please make your voice heard!

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Hello @tim ! Let’s get to work with this proposal! The initiative can only bring positive impacts for the Celo protocol road map and the entire community. come on!!

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