[Proposal] ReFi DAO x Celo - Onboarding the next generation of talent and capital

Greetings everyone, John Ellison here to outline a proposal for the beginning of a deep partnership with the Celo ecosystem. Look forward to hearing community comments, feedback, and follow up discussions!


Through our journey building ReFi DAO over the last 18 months, we’ve reached pivotal insights for a mobile-first product and social coordination layer that can onboard the next generation of talent and capital into ReFi via Celo. This proposal requests up to 267k cEUR from the Celo Community Fund to perform product research & design, continue building local and global ReFi communities, and create multi-lingual content to position Celo as the ‘Ethereum for Impact’ for the next cycle.


ReFi DAO emerged as a founder-led startup community in response to the rapid influx of talent inspired by the Toucan x Klima boom in 2021. Since then, and thanks to the support from Climate Collective, Celo Foundation and Gitcoin, we have become the cultural home of ReFi for top founders, investors and builders at the intersection of impact and web3. We’ve enabled more than 75 events in 58 cities, reached over 60k+ listeners, and served over 300 entrepreneurs including:

Some of the 32 VCs who we have supported with deal flow and insights include:

You can see the full list of founders, investors and events, content and deals on our website: refidao.com

The Problem

Every blockchain relies on network effects for its’ success—the problem is most networks are heavily distributed and difficult to coordinate towards a single goal. Most ecosystems spend large 7-figure sums hosting high-end events, advertising on major media platforms and funding high-risk engineering efforts.

At the same time, engaging with crypto is still a fringe behavior and accessible only to a fraction of society. If we want to regenerate the earth, we need a radically different approach.

Our vision is to bring crypto into the daily lives of every major startup community on the planet, reaching the top founders, investors and builders who have proven they can change the world. These startup communities are the key cultural and technical innovation hubs that will drive the radical change we need to realize the vision of prosperity for all.

The Opportunity

There are four key components in Celo’s strategy that we can leverage to build a global network of startup communities that engage with Celo on a daily basis as a core part of their identity:

  1. Mission-driven brand
  2. Mobile-first architecture
  3. L2 transition
  4. Regional DAOs

By aggregating the entire ReFi x Celo ecosystem (both IRL and online) into a single product experience, we believe we can radically increase new wallet addresses, daily transactions and TVL, as well as drive new founders, developers, and active Celo community members.

Furthermore, with Celo’s support we aim to realize our vision of a global Regen CoordiNation interwoven with other web3 impact communities like Green Pill, Regens Unite, and HerDAO. We see a globally-dispersed yet deeply connected network of local startup communities engaged in a single unifying goal: Regenerate the earth using the most powerful tools of our time.

Key Product Vision: ClassPass for Regeneration

Imagine a ‘ClassPass for Regeneration’ that rewards you for making a positive impact both in-person and online. You can access the local regenerative society wherever you are, whether it’s Paris for ETH CC or Istanbul for Devconnect. We make it easy to connect with people, places, and projects that matter while making it possible to earn money by taking action.

Whether you’re donating to UBI via impactMarket online, joining a local beach cleanup, or looking to find the most regenerative places to live, eat, or work —we can make regeneration the easy, fun and lucrative choice.

Having trained directly with Dr. BJ Fogg of Stanford University, we’ll employ leading behavior science to build daily, weekly and monthly habits to not only change the behavior of key leaders but also their identity—the key piece of the regenerative transition.


We’ll work with a world-class design studio to run a series of short research and design sprints to test the product hypothesis, behavior model and discover the highest leverage points for growth.

Our aim is to engage key stakeholders across key capital allocators like Celo Foundation, Climate Collective, Credit Collective and Flori Ventures as well as vital ecosystem initiatives like impactMarket, GoodDollar, Grassroots Economics, EthicHub and Kolektivo.

We want to create a product that leverages existing infrastructure such as Valora and Masa, and is symbiotic with ongoing developments such as Libera and Kolektivo Wallet.


This proposal outlines the use of funds over three months to fulfill a number of core objectives:

  1. Develop a product specification and roadmap for a ‘classpass to regeneration’ on Celo through research, design, prototyping and user testing
  2. Support the formation of 20+ events while forming 15 new local nodes in key startup cities alongside Celo Regional DAOs through a quarterly grant program run on Celo via Allo protocol
  3. Setup an impact and evaluation framework for local nodes hosting events, onboarding new users via Valora, and taking action on-chain
  4. Launch Source Studios as a network of regenerative ‘podcasters’ rooted in the culture and communities of the Celo x ReFi DAO ecosystem
  5. Host the first annual ‘Davos for ReFi’ after ETHLisbon on Nov 6-7 to galvanize community and coordinate action across the entire network


We’ll undertake four distinct projects for a total of 267k cEUR:

I. Discover — 50k cEUR

II. Local Node Incubator — 57k cEUR

III. Source Studios — 50k cEUR

IV. Annual Meeting — 50k cEUR

Project budgets: 207k cEUR

Core team operating expenditure: 60k cEUR

Total: 267k cEUR

I. Discover

The purpose of the Discovery phase is to understand the key leverage points across both the Celo and ReFi DAO ecosystem. We need to test product and behavior assumptions through prototypes, and develop a robust long-term roadmap, before pursuing production-grade engineering.

The insights from this phase will be articulated in a series of dashboards and reports, which will serve to inform any subsequent grant proposals. With a deep foundation of strategic insights, we feel confident we can deliver an outsized ROI for Celo and the ReFi ecosystem as a whole.

Key Objectives

  1. Develop a unified ecosystem growth hypothesis for Celo regional DAOs and ReFi nodes
  2. Define the product specification and roadmap for a ‘classpass for regeneration’ on Celo
  3. Publicly launch the ReFi DAO x Celo partnership with an ecosystem dashboard & report

Key Partners

  1. WE3 (ex-IDEO design collective)
  2. Behavior Delta (leading behavior design consultancy)


  1. Research & design sprints with WE3 — 20,000 cEUR
  2. Behavior design — 7,500 cEUR
  3. Solution architecture — 15,000 cEUR
  4. Celo x ReFi ecosystem dashboard & report — c7,500 EUR

Discovery total: 50,000 cEUR*

*Note: We are intentionally working with the best in the business as we believe efficient product discovery is essential to drive lasting behavior change and network effects.

Key resources

Role Engagement # FTE # Weeks $ / Hour Total Cost
Design researcher Agency (WE3) - 2 $125 10,000 cEUR
Interaction designer Agency (WE3) - 2 $125 10,000 cEUR
Behavior designer Agency (Behavior Delta) - 1.5 $125 7,500 cEUR
CTO - Erik Bairos (of Carbon Path) Contract - 4 $100 15,000 cEUR
Project manager & content creator Employee 1 8 $24 7,500 cEUR

II. Local Node Incubator

Starting in Q4, our plan is to pilot a Local Node Incubator and grants program on Celo via Allo Protocol that will propagate rich, founder-led startup communities (known as Local Nodes) in key cities across the globe. The purpose of these nodes is to onboard talent and capital into ReFi via regular events.

We’ll do this in close partnership with Celo regional DAOs to identify and form vibrant startup communities in key cities such as:

  • London
  • NYC
  • San Francisco
  • Tokyo
  • Seoul
  • Amsterdam
  • Barcelona
  • Madrid
  • Rio de Janeiro
  • etc.

You can take a look at the V0.1 Local Node Toolkit and browse through the list of existing Local Nodes from the Alpha cohort over the last three months at refidao.com/community/local

The vision is to a realize city-level global coordination layer that actively onboards new founders, builders, and users into ReFi via Valora, while also attracting value-aligned capital in the form of equity, liquidity and debt. This also becomes a key foundation for a product vision which will enable any organization to incentivize a global network to take a specific action on-chain and gain rewards. Further cultivated through a mobile-first product engineered through subsequent funding, we believe these nodes will provide a core infrastructure for building and implementing a regenerative society at scale.

Key Objectives

  1. Host 20 Celo sponsored local events through ReFi Local Nodes
  2. Form 15 new ReFi Local Nodes on Celo via Allo Protocol in partnership with Celo regional DAOs*
  3. Host monthly online events propagating knowledge and connections across local node leaders and Celo regional DAO leaders
  4. Co-create an impact and evaluation framework for local nodes and regional DAOs that are hosting events, onboarding new users via Valora, and taking action on-chain
  5. Develop a v2.0 Local Node Toolkit for running great events, attracting top leaders, and much more.

Note: This assumes the successful deployment of Allo Protocol on Celo before November 1 2023.


  1. Q4 grant capital (deployed on Celo via Allo Protocol*) — 25,000 cEUR
  2. Cohort design and delivery — 15,000 cEUR
  3. Community and socials — 12,000 cEUR
  4. Content production — 5,000 cEUR

Local node incubator total: 57,000 cEUR

III. Source Studios

Thanks to the support of Climate Collective and Celo Foundation, we’ve been able to produce the #1 podcast in the ReFi movement, reaching over 60k downloads with 28 episodes and 35 pieces of micro-content. Following on from this success, we want to launch a new brand called ‘Source Studios’ to support the emergence of up-and-coming regenerative storytellers in web3 and beyond. Think of it like the ‘Bankless’ for ReFi with a focus on the global south.

As a result of existing grant capital, we have already begun production on three new shows in three languages, and are seeking 50k cEUR to fulfill the following key objectives:

Key Objectives

  1. Design a generative AI brand framework to support a network of regenerative storytellers in three Celo regional DAOs (LatAm, Europe, Africa)
  2. Build a network of global distribution partners including Ecosia, Waterbear, Pi Network to reach hundreds of thousands of listeners
  3. Produce 12 episodes of Chad Frischmann’s Climate Quest show—founder of Project Drawdown
  4. Support an up-and-coming storyteller to produce 12 episodes in Portuguese
  5. Support an up-and-coming storyteller to produce 12 episodes in Spanish

In total this would produce 36 pieces of Celo-branded content in three languages with an estimated reach of over 100,000 listeners. Long-term, we’ll look to sell sponsorship slots to other value-aligned actors who want to tell their regenerative stories to leaders across the globe.


  1. Branding — 12,500 cEUR
  2. Partnerships — 7,500 cEUR
  3. Production — 21,500 cEUR
  4. Merch — 5,000 cEUR
  5. Equipment — 3,500 cEUR

Total: 50k cEUR

IV. Annual Meeting — Davos for ReFi

On Nov 6-7, we will be hosting the first annual meeting for leaders of the regenerative economy—the Davos for ReFi. This gathering will take place every year in a different location across the ReFi DAO and Celo network, but this year it’ll take place in Lisbon immediately after ETHLisbon and will lead up to NEARcon. We’ve shifted the dates to allow Celo leaders attending Devconnect to get to Istanbul, and to capture the energy and magnetism of Lisbon leading up to Websummit.

Our vision is to gather the entire ReFi DAO x Celo community into an immersive gathering that covers inner and outer regeneration with top leaders across the globe from public, private and third-sector institutions. While most of our growth efforts are directed at onboarding talent and capital through a decentralized network of local events, we see the importance of going deeper with top leaders from each of these communities in an exclusive event. We intend to have representation from:

  • Celo Foundation
  • Climate Collective
  • Verra
  • Gold Standard
  • WEF
  • IETA
  • Portuguese Ministry of Environment
  • NOVA University Lisbon
  • Flowcarbon
  • Gitcoin
  • GreenPill Network
  • Toucan
  • Senken
  • Regen Network
  • Moss
  • Mento Protocol
  • Allo Protocol
  • Filecoin & Protocol Labs
  • HBAR Foundation


The following are contributions towards the total cost of the event which we are actively sourcing through other partnership discussions.

  • Venue: 25,000 cEUR
  • Catering: 15,000 cEUR
  • Production: 7,500 cEUR
  • Celo merch: 2,500 cEUR

Total costs: 50k cEUR

Known Risks

Informed by our knowledge in the blockchain and climate space, we recognize the market risk posed by the current macro economic context, as well as the regulatory uncertainty chilling much of the crypto space. We also recognize product development risk as a core facet of any new technology.

To mitigate this risk we are seeking a smaller initial pool of funding while we engage in world-class research and design, and prove our product hypothesis and growth model, before developing production-grade software. As a result we aim to ensure that any future engineering efforts result in products people want to use and behaviors that will ultimately result in impact and ecosystem growth for Celo blockchain.

Core Team

We’re currently operating a small, lean core team assisted by a suite of AI co-pilots. We are actively working with leading AI experts at AI.PT to improve our workflows and operational efficiencies across every aspect of our organization.

Current members include:

  • John Ellison :us: — serial entrepreneur, behavior designer, podcast host (ex-Toucan Protocol, OpenGov)
  • Emilie Viallon :fr: — HR executive, kundalini yoga instructor, (ex-Checkout . com)
  • Rica Amaral :brazil: — positive blockchain, web3 and impact pioneer, former Celo employee
  • Monty Merlin Bryant :uk: — ReFi evangelist, Masters in Management and Innovation from University of Bristol
  • Anna Kaic :croatia: — multi-lingual marketer and growth lead, (ex-ReFi Spring, Urbanika)

Additional members:

  • Community Manager - we will be looking for a full-time community manager to maintain our position as the leading community space for ReFi both online and in-person.

We’ll be compensating the core team with a mean salary of 3,333 cEUR per month, with a plan to increase back to market rates as further funding allows. As such, with six core team members, this will equate to 60,000 cEUR over the 3 months for delivery of this grant proposal.


Structure & Multisig

A Multisig wallet will be used to manage and deploy the funds with a required 3 of 5 approvals for transactions. The Multisig contract address is TBD and will be established following feedback on this initial proposal. The initial signers on this multisig would be:

  • John Ellison— Source Steward
  • Rica Amaral — Partnerships
  • Monty Merlin Bryant — Content & Product
  • Anna Kaic — Community
  • Emilie Viallon — Chief of Staff

cEUR Denominated Budget

Given most of the core team and project expenditure is located in Europe, the currency of choice mitigates risk of potential market fluctuations.


We have been grateful to receive support from the following strategic advisors:

  • Phil Fogel — Flowcarbon
  • Patrick Rawson — Curve Labs
  • Simar Mangat — Magic Ventures
  • Ian Poirier — Toucan Protocol

Road to sustainability

We intend to turn the ReFi DAO into a self-sustaining organization by the end of 2025 with the following primary paths for recurring revenue:

  1. Membership Fee
  2. Protocol Fee
  3. Event and content sponsorship

The first two long-term value capture mechanisms need to be designed and tested through product discovery and implementation. For the third, we’ve already proven we can gather event sponsorship revenue at ReFi Lisboa with a self-sustaining event business in just 6 months.

Going forward, we intend to raise further funds from value-aligned capital allocators as the market sentiment continues to improve alongside our ongoing Gitcoin fundraising efforts.


Excited to see this!


Thanks for the support @MilaRioja


Amazing proposal :seedling: @climateXcrypto @ricaax and the whole team.


Looking forward to see this proposal get approved and further cross collaboration with CELO Europe DAO.

Note: was expecting to see Lisbon in the Local Node Incubator list! :wink:


Thank you, @pcbo, for the support! Looking forward to further cross-collaboration with Celo Europe DAO as well! (also Africa and LatAm)

Lisbon is not on the list because is already an “established” node, we listed new nodes for incubation only :slight_smile:


This is really interesting! Thanks for the proposal. I enjoyed reading it.

Being candid - I’m surprised that this post is the first I’ve heard of the proposal. Some of this feels duplicative to Climate Collective efforts, and so curious why we weren’t engaged ahead of time to explore ways to support this, particularly given that we’re already a funder and partner of ReFi DAO’s earlier efforts.

On first read - it may be more straightforward and more cost effective as a first step for CC to explore another direct grant (and evaluate the ROI of the last grant in that context) for ReFi DAO as opposed to a separate community fund allocation. I’m curious also what other routes ReFi DAO has explored for this funding. I know there was an attempt to fund this through a VC round. What was the feedback from that process? Was any money raised?

Just to be clear - I think the more projects and stakeholders working to support ReFi on Celo, the better off we are. And I am a huge fan of ReFi DAO and JE. I just want to make sure that we’re being strategic and thoughtful about how we allocate resources, and it concerns me that there’s been zero coordination between ReFi DAO and Climate Collective around this to-date. And so I think we need to get aligned on overlap and prioritization first.


@edward, I want to expand this discussion to understand the defined role of Climate Collective (CC) on Celo more fully and how I may be seeing it as different from the vision of ReFi DAO. I also take this into consideration when I think about all of the Celo initiatives that are currently being developed (e.g. Credit Collective is a recent example).

It is my understanding that the Climate Collective brings valued stakeholders together for the purpose of scalable climate action!

What I am seeing as the vision of ReFi DAO is to add individual and community regeneration to the great work that CC is already doing. The voice and members of CC act as a powerful connection point for bringing the largest players in ReFi together. I believe that the complementary addition of ReFi DAO at the local and individual levels creates a powerful opportunity for these stakeholders to leverage the larger and more sophisticated members/organizations of the ReFi movement. Additionally, I feel that the individuals of local communities are enthusiastic and driven to join this movement, but currently do not have a “ever present” and user-friendly onramp to participate in the ecosystem.

Additionally, the power of coordinating individuals at the node level allows communities to begin building networks to access all of the partners in the Climate Collective, while also creating a whole new offering of rich in-person experiences at these localities so that even a newly engaged, mission-aligned nomad traveling from another part of the world can participate and feel welcomed.

I absolutely agree that there should be direct communication with CC as well as all of the other initiatives within the Celo ecosystem to ensure that we are utilizing all collective resources and not rebuilding foundational systems that are already built, as well as creating organization and structure to reduce duplicate goals.

Erik @ CarbonPath


This is a needed and holistic approach for the ReFi movement!
As a burgeoning category, ReFi lacks the structure and organization of a platform where large and small contributors can coalesce to share and acquire information, and drive regeneration efforts forward.
This framework feels measured and thoughtfully constructed for success and steady growth.

Stoked to see this come to fruition!


Hey @edward! Thanks so much for jumping in.

Would love to jump on a call with you this week and talk through all of this! The hope with this forum post was to gather all interested parties before submitting a proposal. Given the deadlines around upcoming Gitcoin rounds we wanted to get this in review for the governance call on August 8th, so apologies for missing the 1-1 beforehand!

We are absolutely committed to align these efforts with Climate Collective and other capital allocators in the Celo ecosystem, as is mentioned as a key priority in the ‘Discover’ phase of the project. Given the wide range of stakeholders, it felt important to take a holistic approach rather than just start with what we know.

If you think a direct grant with Climate Collective would be more cost effective—we’d be super open to explore this. In terms of the VC raise, we had about $1.2M committed without a lead before the SVB collapse after two major commits were pulled and it became clear this was not the right time to raise. We were also in deep discussions with several other ReFi blockchains for grants of a similar size.

After conversations with @rene_celo and @Xochitl there appeared to be a significant appetite from Celo Foundation to become a long-term value-aligned partner.

We’ve decided to go deep on Celo and lay the foundation for a global network here with diverse community ownership at the local level to provide the greatest opportunity for the people on the ground facilitating the work of regeneration.

Once the L2 transition came into center view we were guided in the direction of the Community Fund which is why we’ve arrived to this forum post.

I think the beauty of Celo’s ecosystem architecture is in its’ diversity, yet sometimes as a member it can be hard to navigate which path is the best one given the wide range of actors and capital sources. Hopefully that helps explain why this didn’t come to you sooner!

Will drop you a DM and we can sync on strategy and prioritization. Definitely keen to avoid overlap and to ensure tight collaboration moving forward.


Greetings @climateXcrypto :wave:

From the CGP Team I would personally recommend to avoid delays in your future submision to adjust the proposal and indicate next to the total value expected to receive (EUR 267k) the equivalent value in Celo (You can use for example as a conversion rate the average of the last 90 days)

This requeriment based in the fact that the Celo Governance Contract only manages a portfolio composed of Celo and the only cEURs that existed in that contract (that were there since the beginning of the creation of the contract) are already committed with the approval of the Onchain Proposal 166 Credit Collective equivalent to CGP-0084.

  • A technical note: If you open the Celo Governance Contract you will se the cEUR there, but they are already compromised with an expendig approval to the Credit Collective Multisign, and the way this contract is refilled is by a portion of Celo each epoch validators sent to the fund, so there will be no more cEUR refilling this contract, that’s why every proposal should be made asking for values in Celo.

Any further questions happy to help :raised_hands:


Thanks @juanjgiraldoc!

Very much appreciate this recommendation. I’ll go ahead and update the proposal to request up to 267k EUR worth of CELO (at a 90-day average).

Thank you!


Excited to see this proposal come forward. I see great value in the classpass for regeneration as it could increase growth and retention and further solidify Celo as the home of ReFi.

As part of Celo EU DAO, I also see a lot of overlap with the Local Node Incubator. I would love to explore how Celo EU can help incubate and grow regional Nodes in the EU.

The only improvement I could see to this proposal is having more Co-Sponsors for the event in Lisbon to reduce the commitment required from Celo and have more partner diversity/buy-in.


Thanks so much @LuukDAO! We are super stoked to dive deep with you and your team on the product vision. I think there’s a strong interoperable design pathway for us to explore.

It’d be an honor to support the development of rich ReFi communities in the EU alongside Celo Europe DAO—I think this hyper-local plus regional coordination framework could be incredibly powerful at onboarding institutions into the regenerative movement.

We’re deep in discussions with a number of other co-sponsors for the Annual Meeting in Lisbon and want this to be a true gathering of the whole ReFi movement—not just one segment. There are some other really high calibre players likely to come onboard. Given Celo’s position in the ReFi space, I think it’s only right for Celo to take lead on this inaugural event…


Link to the Call: https://meet.google.com/iyt-sktc-keq

1 Like

Super excited to see Refi DAO continue to grow and support the growth of the Refi ecosystem!!


Thanks so much for your support Phil! So appreciate your leadership in the space. We need more experienced founders like you who are so willing to give of their time and attention to move regeneration forward!


Nice proposal @climateXcrypto ! I hope it gets approved!


Thanks so much Luiz! So appreciate your support.

Posting the link to the Github Repo here:

And I would suggest the members of the multisign (@climateXcrypto @ricaax @MontyMerlin Anna Kaic @Emilie and Daryl Edwards) to post each one your respective address here for disclosure.

Thanks again for this interesting proposal.