Prezenti Q1 2023 Update

Recap on Community Fund

The Community Fund is an on-chain pool built into the Celo protocol topped up daily with a governable 25% of epoch rewards. As the fund grew, community members and our predecessors @Patrick, @Dee, and @deepak recognized this pool was under-utilized and set up the first stewardship program via protocol governance - called CCF (Celo Community Fund) - to assist ecosystem projects in need.

After their (planned) twelve month tenure ended, @Wade, @MayaRB, and @Thylacine formed the second stewardship and named it Prezenti to avoid confusion with the governable on-chain pool itself, and to highlight the independence of Prezenti as a community-owned initiative. Governance proposal 61 was executed on 11th June 2022 and formalized the creation of Prezenti. Our role as stewards fills an operational gap for smaller projects that do not have the votes reach to pass governance independently.

Our successful proposal gave us token approval to pull 800,000 CELO from the Community Fund to independently review, accept, manage, and disburse funds to ecosystem projects as stewards of this approval amount.

You can read about us and Prezenti’s grant thesis in our first post here - https://forum.celo.org/t/reopening-of-the-celo-community-fund/3475

Feedback from the forum community was instrumental in getting this stewardship operational last year and we’d like to share our progress so far, what we’re excited about, what challenged us, and what’s next for Prezenti.

What We’ve Achieved

Since last June, we spent many meetings learning from CCF(v1), building administrative and accounting processes, and learning how the three of us work together. We created a 3-person company in Canada, set up a simple informational website, legal terms, and most importantly - grant application form. Prezenti formally opened the doors for applications on 14 October 2022.

We have had an overwhelming response to date! In the 3 months since October we have had over 50 applications, of which 18 have been successful in getting Prezenti support. One major theme for Celo builders applying to Prezenti so far has been; payments, banking, and on/off ramps - especially in projects from the Global South. A great sign that one of Celo’s value drivers - fast, cheap payments - continues to gain traction worldwide.

Another large segment of applicants are working on educational platforms, with many wanting to host in-person events; lectures, developer training sessions, or a hackathon. There’s also been fantastic alignment to the Celo ecosystem as a movement, with many carbon credit and other ReFi solutions applying for funding to kick-start their idea.

You can read more about our successful applicants in our blogs here, or on Twitter.

Our Operations

Operational transparency is a major focus for us. A large part of the lead-time from June to October before opening for applications was setting up robust administrative practices that allow us to be responsive and clear with all of our applicants while avoiding costly rework.

We opted for fiscal conservatism, rather than playing traders with the governance allowance during this relatively tumultuous market and wider macro market uncertainty. Our aim is to ultimately add value to the Celo ecosystem and so we kept the governance approval denominated in the CELO token and only pulled from the Community Fund as we needed to ring fence grant amounts or pay for expenses. We’ve kept detailed records of all our transactions, which can be viewed on our website here (view the “Ledger” tab for details, and the others for summaries).

Our agreements with successful applicants are all denominated in cUSD. Each grant is broken down into milestone payments, where we review the work progressively for the duration of the grant. Before this however, after the grant is initially approved, the full cUSD sum of all milestone payments agreed by both parties is converted from CELO and isolated in our 2 of 3 multi-sig wallet. Here are the current accounting headlines to date (denominated in cUSD for clarity):

Item cUSD
Grant Milestones Pending Completion $264,185.77
Grant Milestones Completed $51,958.23
Administration Expenses (to date) $57,465.19
Administration Expenses (set aside for 2023) $65,353.56
Total Spent $438,962.75

Using the average CELO price from inception to today of approximately $0.76, as a fraction of our original governance approval for 800,000 CELO ($606,530), our management expenses currently sit around 9.47%, and closer to 6.39% at the original price of $1.12 when Prezenti’s treasury was created. The majority of the expenses are compensation for the three stewards Aaron, Maya, and Wade, the remainder some fixed accounting and technology items.

We’ve now set up a streamlined administrative process for grant management and have processed 51 applications. We’ve stuck to our thematic goals, and transparently recorded all of our financial accounting. Today, even with a minor bump in the CELO price recently, we are at the end of our ability to fund any new projects and we closed our online application form on the 31st of January 2023.

We’re very excited to be working with our current cohort of grant recipients! Additionally, even though there are many applications that were ultimately unsuccessful, we’ve had mutually beneficial exchanges and broadened our network of Celo ecosystem builders. In some cases we’ve given mentoring feedback on the application and project itself, and we welcome and expect to see applications from some of our connections in 2023.

What’s Next?

With the Celo Foundation itself following a path of progressively decentralising it’s grant programs, over time community-led projects will pick up the lion’s share of grants management and we are already seeing this migration of projects to date with the overwhelming response to Prezenti’s opening. It’s been a great success and we plan to submit a follow-on governance proposal to re-fill our treasury so we can re-open applications and continue supporting Celo creators.

With this post, we wish to update the community on our progress and run a temperature check with the community. Would you support a second governance approval to continue funding the current Prezenti stewardship?

Thank you for your support thus far and we welcome any questions about the current or continued operations of Prezenti.

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Yes.

I think this type of pre-seed grant facility is critical to keeping the Celo flywheel moving.

Looking forward to seeing it continue / grow.

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Thanks for the comprehensive report!

Totally.

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I would absolutely support a second governance approval from this team. It has been a pleasure working with you. The review and approval process of the grant was fast and transparent.

The ability to finance the idea developments at the earlitest stages is critical for the development of new projects. Prezenti is a great vehicle to achieve that.

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Would definitely support the next governance approval!

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Happy to support next round.

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We just wants to say Thanks to Prezenti Team :pray:
(@Wade, @MayaRB, @Thylacine)

They believe in our project and give us the funds we need to start the project. :deciduous_tree:
We are working now in accomplish the milestones proposed and will come back to show you the results of this amazing initiatives.

This is absolutely yes :100: we know that start a project sometimes overwhelm you, and this kind of supports helps a lot.

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yes! I believe programs like Prezenti are paramount to continue growing the ecosystem.

As a Prezenti grantee from the @BlockchainNaEscola project, I also want to highlight the great work the the team has been doing. The application process and milestone completion processes are well-structured and smooth, which makes us very confident on the success of Prezenti.

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Thanks for the transparent update! We’re all lucky to have you :slight_smile:

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Thank you @Thylacine for this comprehensive update!! It’s so impressive to see the work you’ve done and your commitment to add value to the Celo Ecosystem.

One piece of feedback I have is re-posting the grants recipients blog post as a Forum post here as well. Maybe it’s redundant but I think keeping the information on another site fragments the audience and I’m personally more likely to see the update if it’s on the Forum. I think the blog is beautifully done and you should carry on with it, but perhaps also post the cohort info here – maybe we can create a category called Community Grants? Happy to help you set that up!

Also, I trying to access the “Ledger” tab but the link brings me to an empty page. Let me know what’s the best way to access it to check out the tx history. I really appreciate the level of transparency this team has set up, I think it’s super important with any community fund.

*** Update: the page took a while to load, but it’s there! Leaving the previous text here in case anyone else experiences the same issue, mine was just blank while loading. ***

I think this is definitely true, we’ve seen it with Prezenti as well as the upcoming Regional DAOs picking up. I see a lot of pros but also some cons to be aware of in supporting another round of funding.

Pros

  • Progressive decentralization and placing decision power and funding in the hands of community organizations is super important for longterm resiliency of the Celo Ecosystem.
  • You’ve set up very robust admin processes, application, and reporting mechanisms – in my opinion this is one of the biggest hurdles and I would much rather support a team that has that set up because you can just hit the ground running without needing to do admin set up again. This is a major plus.
  • There’s trust established with the ecosystem and among the team members, which is key for success.

Cons

  • The on-chain Community Fund is rapidly drying up and the community needs to be aware of implications of funding not just this, but any proposal. There are currently 2 large DAO proposals, 3 more regional community teams, and a large Security ask. The on-chain community contract doesn’t accurately reflect how much funding is there because previously passed proposals still have claims they haven’t executed yet. While this data is publicly available by accessing the Github pages of proposals it can be difficult to query, so perhaps we need to put together a post that accurately reflects the current state of the on-chain fund.

With that said, I really believe the Prezenti team has Celo Ecosystem’s best interests at heart and will be able to navigate these decisions gracefully. The on-chain fund is a commons that our whole Celo community shares and we need to be mindful about how we steward it but I think this is an important and worthwhile endeavor to continue to provide grants to teams in the ecosystem. I’m looking forward to more updates and happy to provide any other feedback on the future of this fund!

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The on-chain Community Fund is rapidly drying up and the community needs to be aware of implications of funding not just this, but any proposal. There are currently 2 large DAO proposals, 3 more regional community teams, and a large Security ask. The on-chain community contract doesn’t accurately reflect how much funding is there because previously passed proposals still have claims they haven’t executed yet. While this data is publicly available by accessing the Github pages of proposals it can be difficult to query, so perhaps we need to put together a post that accurately reflects the current state of the on-chain fund.

I agree with you about the importance of the community Fund and I think is crucial to highlight to the voters the % of the Funds that each proposal ask to weight it with the execution time and the expected result to have more informed and responsable voters.
Quick example: If tomorrow I put up a proposal to ask for 25% of the total community Fund for 1 year of runway and after it what the proposal brings back to the community fund is just 5% of what was given then it clearly don’t make much sense from a cost/opportunity standpoint.

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Thanks @0xGoldo, good comment. I’m definitely up for a retrospective impact analysis of the projects we have granted (or Prezenti as a funded program itself), however success metrics for projects we fund are mostly non-financial in nature. If we were operating as a VC, it would be a little easier to rank outcomes in simple way, but evaluating grantee impact against Celo as a human and economic movement is a bit trickier.

We are paying grants out not in large one-shot payments to successful applicants, but in smaller milestone-based payments paid in arrears to each grant recipient after pragmatic blocks of work are complete. This gives a good ongoing record of which projects are kicking all their goals, and which are languishing without progress (hopefully none). Needless to say we wont be paying out milestones that are incomplete, so there is some element of course-correction built in to our agreements with each project.

Once more of the projects are working through their milestones we’ll definitely have some completion statistics to share which could be the start of some sort of impact dashboard or feedback post to the community. Will be a good chance to share what the community has funded and do a little bit more of a showcase of our grantees as @annaalexa mentioned as well.

High-level though - it’s a great question to ask: “what is the community getting out of this?” This should be asked frequently, especially as the pool of funds gets lower.

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Hello everyone, grateful to see programs like this one running over Celo, this kind of programs are very important helping new developments of projects that are aligned with Celo’s Mission like us. :smile:

We arrive late to be part of the actual cohort, but we really want to be part of next cohort, hope to be in a near future.

Greetings everyone.

Thanks for your valuable points @annaalexa .

It is a great idea to have a thread inside the Celo forum to capture the initiatives that have been funded via Prezenti. We have created a post here(Prezenti Grants - Recipients and Updates) and this will be the one stop view of all initiatives and updates on progress when it becomes available.

We believe transparency is key. While the Governance contract is at the top level transparent, the initiatives it funds downstream are subject to disclosure from the stewards. While the initiatives in Celo are great with being transparent, grant programs within the industry leave a lot to be desired on this front. We set out to be the industry standard and allow all of our transactions to be publicly available to anyone. Glad that the tx list showed, we will try to make sure it does not lag in the future.

Thank you for your amazing comments on the Pros. As for the Cons, we could not agree more. Early on, we had issues finding information about the Community Fund and its current status. To remedy this we helped create a beta dashboard that shows the status of Community Fund and open sourced it(this is a voluntary contribution and was not funded via Prezenti). We welcome feedback or feature requests by creating an issue on the GitHub repository:

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Thank you all for your positive feedback and support! Its been amazing getting to meet and help community members in the ecosystem.

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Some advances with the funds the project have received and more cooming:

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In my opinion, grants are very important, especially for those who are bootstrapping. It would be amazing to have more rounds like this

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Hi All,

Our proposal is now live!

Please upvote and vote :slightly_smiling_face: