The Celo Ecosystem Treasury

We’d like to announce the Celo Ecosystem Treasury proposal as a CGP for the Celo community.

The purpose of the Treasury is focusing on 3 parts:

  • Research & Development + Special Projects
  • Ecosystem Activation
  • Community Empowerment

There are many opportunities to accelerate R&D on building a new client, improving EVM features, as well as allocation of funds to support upstream clients we rely on. Also, lot’s of opportunities to do R&D on cryptography, DID, and mobile-first improvements.

We also want to focus on special projects and wild cards that can really push the envelope on Celo innovation.

For Ecosystem Activation, it’s time we stop looking at emerging markets from the eyes of VC-enabled saviours, but to give them the tools they need to succeed and more importantly governing funds for their local regions. We need more DAOs and hackathons and language translation for them with boots-on-the-ground support.

With community empowerment, we strongly feel that community support is lacking in Celo. We kickstarted a lot of initiatives for the core community and we need to expand that to support them and the larger community. Supporting working groups, sponsoring events, marketing the on-chain community fund and supporting community projects are a piece of what we will target.

The proposal will ask for 3 Million CELO from the on-chain governance in order to target large projects. Building a new client from scratch can reach up to $1 Million USD. Supporting the EVM is expensive. Blockchain developers are scarce.

We believe with this Treasury proposal we can simulate large developer activity on the EVM and cryptography R&D for Celo, Ethereum and Web3 at large. Also this will generate more emerging market governance and experimentation using those protocols.

The multisig for this proposal is composed of the following folks:

  • Yaz Khoury - cLabs
  • Jarrell James - cLabs
  • Eric Nakagawa - cLabs
  • Gab Micheletti - ProsperDAO
  • Medha Kothari - she256
  • Maya Zehavi
  • Elizabeth Barnes - Figment

We welcome feedback on the CGP here.

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:clap::clap::clap:Love the focus on initiating and empowering local, decentralized community through this fund. That’s what will lead to long-term sustainability and local prosperity.

6 Likes

Love to see more ideas for using the community portion of the block reward. It feels very underutilized right now. I also think the multisig is an awesome group of people and will steward this well.

I still share most of the same thoughts as from the last community fund proposal (Discussion for CGP [0017]: Activation of Celo Community Fund - #10 by cmcewen). It seems like a lot of money, investing can be a time consuming job, and I am interested to hear further exploration of this effort in contrast to some of the other funding sources - the foundation, Flori, etc. I again would like to suggest using ReleaseGold contracts or some form of vesting if folks decide this size of commitment is appropriate.

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Great proposal @Yaz. There is so much work to do in the ecosystem and I agree that it makes sense to fund a greater diversity of projects through additional channels. Each channel brings a unique perspective and opportunities for new projects and teams to be discovered, get support and ultimately improve the ecosystem.

I agree with @cmcewen that this is such a large request that it may be difficult to get approval without more elucidation about how the team will source, evaluate and support funding recipients to ensure successful outcomes. It may be easier to request a smaller amount, demonstrate success and ask for more later, but not sure. I’d be happy to help think through and define some of these processes with you.

It might be worth thinking about how the treasury might fund some of the proposed programs through retroactive public goods funding, as described by the Optimism team. Or possibly collaborating with them on some areas of common interest. This can help de-risk the funding request by funding projects based on their real impact rather than their anticipated impact.

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I think exactly something like this is necessary to put the on-chain community funds to work on developing our community and advancing Celo’s mission.

I don’t share the concerns of @cmcewen and @josh. I think too detailed plans and processes will rather limit the effectiveness of the community funds and the motivation of its stewards. While expecting open communication and transparency, I am in favour of a community fund allocation more aligned with teal-values: Lean processes and trust in the community-proven MultiSig members to allocate the funds to grow and develop the community in alignment with Celo’s values.

3 million may sound like a lot. However there are 7.5 million CELO and 2 million cEUR in the community fund at a growth rate of around 5 million CELO per year, of which less than 1 million CELO are currently allocated. I don’t think 3 million CELO allocation would be too much risk for the community. Rather an investment with a good risk / reward profile. I also don’t see high opportunity costs as there are currently no other proposals how to put those funds to good use.

All in all I’m in strong support of this proposal :slight_smile:

6 Likes

Great proposal!

I agree with the need for more DAOs in the CELO ecosystem, it would even be interesting to have a project to create DAOs and simple customization for greater community engagement (Similar to what NEAR does with “Guilds”).

In my opinion the development and research of DIDs will be vital for the main cryptoecosystems in the future and also for #defiforthepeople.

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Thanks for putting this in perspective @Tobi. You are right, 3 million really isn’t that much considering the current size of the pool, current allocations and the growth rate. At these rates, it feels like we should have a greater bias toward action.

This kind of experimentation can help us find high leverage ways use the community fund. I support this proposal.

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I think it’s a great idea using the community fund to advance large goals that will be beneficial to Celo. Also, it’s a great group of people :slight_smile:

What I’d want to see from the group is a strong commitment and process of transparency, both in funding choices and how due diligence is performed, not only as a list of activities performed.

The motivation is that as someone who is not involved in it, I would like to feel as if I was, and that I would also make the same choice, or at least have no strong objection. Of course, people have different opinions and you can’t satisfy everyone, but maximizing that portion would be good.

For this, I’d concretely suggest to divide, at least the first, project to measurable milestones the community can give its opinions about, and the first or two milestones having smaller amounts. In the case it doesn’t succeed, commit to returning the rest of the funds back to the community fund. In this way, the community can gain trust in your ability to make good funding choices, while trusting you to give back the funds if you don’t. The latter is simpler to be at ease with.

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I love the proposal, I whole heartedly welcome and support any initiative that brings funding closer to the under served communities on the globe.

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Happy to see more proposals to start using the community fund. However, I personally think that the amount is too large for a single group to use.

I personally would prefer multiple, separate, medium sized, treasuries/funds vs single huge fund. I.e. I would rather have 3 separate groups each wielding 1 million CELO vs one large group wielding 3 million CELO.

More than that, I would rather have 6 separate groups each wielding 0.5 million CELO vs one group wielding 3 million CELO.

From my perspective, I think 0.5 million CELO is a good amount for each fund/treasury to start with and if they manage to spend/deploy it well, they can increase their funding in 6-12 months time to larger amounts.

This way, community can more easily see which efforts are working better vs not and decide on future funding based on performance more easily. In my view, having single really large treasury is both anti-competitive and also anti-decentralization.

While I understand that 3 million can seem like a lot - in reality with the cost of talent in this space and the breadth of initiatives that this community still doesn’t have in comparison with other layer 1’s both legacy and new, then this amount becomes a lot more obvious in perspective. The geth work alone would eat up the majority of .5 million CELO. While it may seem ideal to have a bunch of different funds in charge of different initiatives - your ideal situation would require a far more robust community dedicated to CELO and as it currently stands I personally believe the raw web3 talent within the Celo community doesn’t exist to support this many funds. In fact this initiative directly intends to bring more of this talent to the ecosystem.

We are web3 natives dedicated to accessibility - we are offering to leverage our personal networks, time, and hard skills to create more opportunity in this ecosystem.

When it comes to your argument of anti-decentralization - currently funding for the CELO ecosystem is in theory coming from two sources: the Celo Foundation which is heavily tied to cLabs, and the “Community Fund” which has yet to deploy capital so in reality the current funding of the entire CELO ecosystem is coming from one source and it doesn’t look like anyone is trying to change that any time soon. With this proposal we are actively addressing the need for decentralization we have sourced multisig participants that are not involved in the ecosystem at all yet but have a deep understanding of the fundamental needs of Layer 1 networks such as [Maya Zahavi] (https://twitter.com/mayazi?s=20) as well as folks who are formerly involved in cLabs but are now doing separate things but want to give some of their energy to seeing this community grow in a holistic and impactful way. Myself I have personally tried to shepherd developers and founders from around the world through the current funding avenues of Celo and found that there is far too much friction for these folks due to the nature of how big the ecosystem is and it’s not easy to get focus for these - while there are plenty of great initiatives coming out of the foundation grants efforts there’s only so much bandwidth available from one source of funding.

In addition there isn’t enough focus on innovating new approaches to ecosystem growth and we intend to address this outright, the web3 space (especially in a bull market) becomes a land of copy & pasta initiatives designed to capture the crypto twitter currency of attention - we hope to front run this trend and create truly unique approaches to fostering the Celo community and the future of the network as a whole. We truly believe we are the best folks to do this and with this amount we can ensure that real results are shown and real impact made. Asking for small amounts every 6 months sounds good in theory but in reality the opportunity cost is far too great.

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Thanks for the response, Connor! The Treasury won’t focus on investments but on strategic grant allocations for large tier projects. For the first 90 Days, we will target 5 large projects from what is listed in the Appendix. Our thesis here and differentiator is that the Treasury is designed to drive technological improvements rather than supporting DeFi and builders directly. So we are more interested in building the technology that will fuel a healthy developer community and larger global ecosystem. We want to create the conditions for prosperity and it starts by understanding the reality with emerging markets. We can explore ways to improve our orbits and flow by investing in universities, translations, local region hackathons and workshops, and better yet, allow trusted members in each emerging market to govern this as a grant allocation.

Totally cool with using ReleaseGold contract. Something like 6 months distribution can make sense. Also, the structure of the CCF where their multisig can access the on-chain community fund without the funds leaving the on-chain community fund is also a good model. That way it can authorize us to allocate from the on-chain community fund while the funds never leave that contract.

Thanks for your feedback, Josh. The plan is to focus on large projects as per the Appendix here: https://github.com/celo-org/governance/blob/main/CGPs/cgp-0038.md

There’s no core focus on DeFi as it’s already served and supported. This approach focuses more on supporting the open-source community and ecosystem. For instance, one major project we can do is supporting an entirely new client and also adding new improvements to the EVM. Furthermore, sponsoring independent core developers to work on the protocol or drive research is something we are considering. More research on consensus designs and investing more in DID technology is another example. Kickstarting several independent regional-focused DAOs is another thing we plan to do in the first 90 Days.

Thank you Tobi for your feedback, glad to hear you like this proposal. We are for sure committed to a fully transparent process and information about the Treasury.

Yes, we are definitely planning this! It’s part of the Ecosystem Activation.

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Thank you Kobi for your response! We are 100% committed to a fully transparent process, even considering making the whole process public on Github. Our track record with the core community when it comes to advocating for transparency is a good indication of what our values are with this. I like what you’re proposing with milestones. I think if we follow the CCF model where there’s no movement of funds from the on-chain community fund but just the multisig having a specific amount it can authorize payments on, it keeps the fund in the on-chain community fund while allowing the multisig to facilitate funding of important open-source projects and ecosystem.

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I appreciate the feedback, Zviad.

Personally I disagree it’s a lot given how much is in the community fund and how fast it’s growing. Your scenario paints a world of several grant programs as a protocol mechanism, when in reality, the main source of funds is currently the Grants program which has done a great job targeting builders. So having a Treasury that focuses on developing the new technology that builders can then use to develop their startups is certainly a differentiating thesis than what currently is the norm. Also, for context, a validator needs at a minimum 2 million CELO to participate in validating. We are proposing 1 more million than that amount to invest in the ecosystem. I think using some of the capital to improve the ecosystem for all will provide a higher value than having an extra validator, for context.

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Great thoughts + shares here, everyone — so appreciative of your feedback.

Highlighting some especially resonant points here:

“Love the focus on initiating and empowering local, decentralized community through this fund.”

  • Thank you @adri - the driving force and ethos of what the proposal aims to achieve is in fact more decentralization and distribution of funds with velocity that many are familiar with in the crypto space

“I again would like to suggest using ReleaseGold contracts or some form of vesting if folks decide this size of commitment is appropriate.”

  • Also totally cool with this @cmcewen - I, too, would welcome using ReleaseGold if appropriate

“While expecting open communication and transparency, I am in favour of a community fund allocation more aligned with teal-values: Lean processes and trust in the community-proven MultiSig members to allocate the funds to grow and develop the community in alignment with Celo’s values.”

  • This feels very encouraging to hear about alignment + calling out teal values, so appreciated @Tobi

“At these rates, it feels like we should have a greater bias toward action. This kind of experimentation can help us find high leverage ways use the community fund.”

  • For sure @joshc this is exactly how stewards of this proposal are aiming to operate

“What I’d want to see from the group is a strong commitment and process of transparency, both in funding choices and how due diligence is performed, not only as a list of activities performed.”

  • Could not agree more with strong commitments to open communication and transparency, @kobigurk. if there are any tactical and/or tooling recommendations that folks would also like to see here, would definitely be welcomed

“I whole heartedly welcome and support any initiative that brings funding closer to the under served communities on the globe.”

  • Great to hear this, @Umarsebyala + we are intent to meet those priorities with action
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I support this @Yaz and getting some smart people to get a significant amount of funds to work in a quick and flexible way.

I am personally highly supportive of this. The biggest mistake Celo is making right now is not deploying funds more aggressively. Celo should be following the Polygon and Solana playbooks to jumpstart adoption. At this point the goal should be to find product-market fit so in my opinion investment should focus on dapp and user acquisition. However, some investment in research is necessary, due to Celo’s heavy reliance on Ethereum’s tech stack.

I worry that 3m CELO may be too small of an ask. However, I think that’s fine, because this first tranche can prove out the use case, and follow-on asks can get additional funding.

The only other bit to point out is that there are two ways to ensure the program is accountable. The first is to institute clear process, decision making, criteria, etc. early on. The second is to be completely transparent on an ongoing basis. I would strongly caution against the first approach (defined process) because it will significantly slow down efforts while negligibly improving the results. I would instead recommend defining high level guiding principles and then being completely transparent going forward with regular updates, community calls, etc. This will allow for the approach and decision making to adjust with regular feedback. Lido is following the second approach and it has been working out very well for them.

So stay nimble, deploy aggressively, and track outcomes. Good luck folks!

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