We Need To Talk About Governance

This post has been brewing in me for many months, and I’m just going to come out with it as simply and clearly as possible without unproductive venting.

This is my opinion as a Celo community member and individual and I’m not representing any of the affiliations as:

  • One of the three directors of Prezenti, an independent granting entity 100% funded to date through successful Celo governance applications
  • An elected validator for the Vladiator Labs group, currently supported by vote weight from the Celo Foundation

1. We Need More Rigor In All Governance Submissions

This year we’ve seen many inaccurate payloads, mistimed or malformed pull-requests to the governance repository, and duplicate submissions (as a result of the former or any other reasons).

We need to slow things down and have extremely clear gates before sending things to Referendum. I know there is a voluntary governance team who supports this process but I get the feeling applicants are really pushing to get things to vote as soon as possible, sometimes even while clarifying conversations are still ongoing in the community.

Malformed applications cost so many person-hours in the entire community and fragment the real conversations that should be happening on the actual content of the proposal.

2. Increase the CELO bond for an application, make it non-refundable

Current bond is 100 CELO as a deterrent for governance spam and this is too small in my opinion. Increase it to around 1000 CELO at least, and make it non-refundable. Send it to the Community Fund, Impact Market, or to a pool of funds to compensate the voluntary governance support team for the work they do connecting people and vetting submissions.

This will deter spurious applications and prevent applicants that are rejected from simply making trivial changes and resubmitting a week later.

(Note: I don’t want to remove governance as an option simply by the size of the CELO deposit for those who can’t afford it, prosperity truly for all here. So if this is too large, happy to hear ideas)

3. There needs to be a cool-down period before the same application can resubmit

We can’t be soliciting time and bandwidth from every CELO holder on the same applications that have failed for any reason. This is why I propose a little more rigor across the board. Reduce the number of operational errors, and if a proposal is anything other than a Passed, the process was followed and has worked.

  • No upvoters? This is your responsibility to garner minimum visibility and support
  • Malformed payload rejected by Approvers? Your responsibility to talk to the right people and double check your technical submission. I understand not everyone is an engineer but collecting funds from a blockchain protocol, you need to know how to find someone on your team or in the community to support you.
  • Didn’t reach quorum? This is a failure of successfully communicating your proposal
  • Referendum didn’t pass? The community has rejected your idea in it’s current form

I would propose something like 3 months cool-down here. I don’t know what protocol parameters we can change here, but this could be something implemented manually by the multi-sig Approvers…?

4. Understanding and visibility of Approvers is poor

As far as I understand, the top 3 upvoted proposals on any given day are then to be Approved by a multi-sig currently controlled by (I think) the Foundation before they can go to Referendum. I don’t know how this is managed, or who does the bulk of the work there, or even what the correct communication methods are. (It just sort of happens, if you propose your idea via governance calls and get enough support, it seems).

Further, I think the decision making process should be public and/or moved to a non-aligned working group. I think the Approver multi-sig was a progressive decentralization strategy and I would like to see the training wheels come off and a serious path to community ownership of this process.

5. Governance Proposals Content

To follow on from the Approvers topic, and decision making in public, I think we (the community) should perhaps come up with some soft guidelines for the usage itself of protocol funding.

This isn’t about maligning or block-listing any particular subject area or group, it’s about making sure there’s a minimum level of application quality and current relevance that would past muster in any other organisational context.

If the Approvers are moved to a diverse, community-elected group on a fixed length term, perhaps they could be the thought-leaders who are deeply embedded in the community in various ways, and have a really good sense of what Celo the protocol (and ethos) really needs to be funding at any point in time.

I would be completely satisfied if they rejected otherwise technically compliant and well-meaning applications simply on subjective criteria like “we wish to focus Celo resources elsewhere right now”, with public and clear explanations why.

Maybe the Foundation-elected multi-sig hasn’t wanted to tip the scales in this way to date, and I completely understand why, but with community ownership this could change.

6. Rant

My bias an an engineer is no secret in this forum and on Discord, and I’ve been extremely skeptical of the abundance of offline, broadly outreach-focused proposals of late. Of course these project have their time and place, and discussion and knowledge sharing is extremely important.

But it’s not 2019 anymore, we need to get real and stop pretending handing out T-shirts to the same 1000 guys on the conference circuit is helping the protocol in any way, let alone the many in leapfrog nations that Celo’s technologies could be serving.

The L2 proposal was the most positive, organic engagement from the wider community we’ve seen probably since genesis. We need to lean into this hard and get it done, get it done well, become the leader on this. All other ideological aims of Celo fail if the network fades into irrelevancy and financial stagnation.

Bonus rant: Stop DAO-washing, you’re a private company with a X of Y smart wallet.


Thanks for raising this issue @Thylacine ! Lately we’ve had a bunch of incomplete/duplicate governance proposals that I have trouble seeing a value in for the Celo ecosystem. I don’t mean to offend the submitters but the proposals come across as cursory, superficial, and devoid of the depth. Moreover, they seem to be missing tangible results or concrete outcomes.


Thanks Aaron for raising this issue. I have been feeling “governance fatigue” for awhile now, and am specifically concerned that we have funded a large number of marketing focused projects, but without a coherent strategy.

I understand that marketing a decentralized project is different than a web2 company, but I do believe that it’s prudent to understand the return on our (collective) spend, and also to ensure that efforts that we fund are complimentary, from a strategic point of view.

Does the community have a sense of how much we have spent on marketing related proposals over the past few years? What are some of the tangible outcomes that these efforts have yielded? As an engineer, I share your bias towards “things we can quantify”, but I sense that we have not put enough attention on outcomes.

Thanks for raising this issue. I look forward to working together to improve the governance process to help Celo deliver on its mission.



@Thylacine thanks for starting the thread! I’ve been meaning to put some thoughts down on this…

Proposals and Use of Funds

My first concern has been: there is a drip-drip of proposals, and how do I weigh one of these again the other? How much money is left? I want to be comparing a bunch of proposals against each other, and funding them according to their merits.

My second concern has been: many of the recent proposals have not been deeply rigorous, and have had gaps in terms of things like – asking for cUSD but the proposal being in CELO (approximately), asking for a buffer, asking for it all up-front without milestones, not making it clear who’s accountable to ensure the funds are well deployed, no means of recourse if the funds are not actually spent.

Luckily, I think we have a solution to this for the many small grants – I would say for all requests below a certain amount, let’s divert those requests to Prezenti. If Prezenti needs more funds to fulfill those grants, let’s have Prezenti request them. Or, if Prezenti stewards decide that this class of requests falls outside what they believe they should be funding, let’s set up another delegated Prezenti-like fund.

Most of these proposals are made by well-intentioned community members doing solid work and their projects and proposals would benefit from the guidance and mentoring of Prezenti and other community members.

I really think we need to get on top of this before (or at the same time as) the Mento reserve funds become available in the Community Fund.

I think we should also look at the quorum and participation parameters, and ensure that the right level of voter participation is required to ensure that only solid proposals get accepted.


I’m writing this section in my capacity as one of the Governance Approvers, but I don’t speak on the behalf of the others…

It’s our miss that the Approver process hasn’t been better documented or more accountable, so let’s start improving it now.

Every Governance proposal has to be approved by a 3-of-N multisig established before mainnet launch and comprising a range of individuals from the community. (That approval used to have to happen before the voting started; now it happens in parallel, and just has to be done before a proposal is executed).

The Approver role is technical – more like an auditor – and is mainly about ensuring the safety of the network and preventing attacks on governance. We set out some of the details previously but to summarize:

On the non-technical side, the role of the “approver” on the running protocol is intended to be:

  • Make sure the proposal does what it says: Does the CGP match the code to be executed? Are there any unintended side-effects or ambiguities that are not covered in the CGP? Does the CGP and the code match the discussion on the forum? For proposals that refer to the M-of-N multisig, is it really a multisig, is M right, N right, are the members’ addresses stated publicly on the forum, and any reason to believe they may not be who they say they are?
  • Make sure the proposal does no harm: It is all too easy to do something that irreversibly and totally borks the network. Are we certain the proposal is not going to break any dapp or part of the core contracts, or cause funds to get stranded, or put the security of the network at risk?
  • Make sure voters can verify the proposal: does the released version of celocli allow a user to look at the proposal and CGP and come to their own conclusions about the above?

What the approvers’ believe their role is NOT:

  • Policy: e.g making a decision on whether X should receive funds from the community fund – that’s for voters.
  • Quantitative parameter settings: Whether a parameter should be X or Y, so long as either don’t violate the bullets above, should be for voters, not approvers.

So you’ll see by this definition, Approvers are almost never going to not approve a proposal asking for funds, provided the proposal is well-formed, and consistent. In the current framing, that’s up to the voters to decide.

Approver Multisig Membership

I would love to use this as an opportunity to get community buy-in (by replying to this post, DMing me, or other Approvers) for the membership of the multisig.

In particular, we have a few new community members who’ve agreed to be an Approver, but they haven’t yet been added. In order to do that, technically, we only require approval from other Approvers, but I know the sentiment is that the current Approvers would love to get broader community input and buy-in on this.

So current (and proposed) multisig members are:

  • Marek Olszewski – Celo Founder and CTO at cLabs
  • Tim Moreton – Celo protocol engineer 2018-2022 and now CEO at cLabs
  • Asa Oines – Celo protocol engineer 2018-2022 and Founder, Hyperlane
  • Zaki Manian – Cofounder of Sommelier Protocol and early contributor to the Cosmos ecosystem
  • Rob Witoff – former Chief Architect at Coinbase, former CTO at Polychain Labs, and CEO, Unit 410
  • Eran Tromer – Professor of Computer Science at Boston University, and Founder, Sealance
  • Kobi Gurkan – cryptographer at cLabs, and head of research at Geometry
  • Plus two others who for personal reasons wish to be rotated out.


  • Eela Nagaraj – senior protocol engineer, cLabs
  • Bogdan Dumitru – CTO, Mento Labs
  • Martin Chrzanowski – Celo protocol engineer 2018-2023 and Advisor, cLabs
  • Zviad Metreveli – founder of WOTrust validator group and maintainer for Celo Terminal
  • Mariano Cortesi – Head of Engineering, cLabs
  • Martín Volpe – Lead Protocol Engineer, cLabs

Also, please take this as an invite to participate – if you are interested in this role, please reach out. We are looking to broaden diversity of all kinds in the makeup of this community function. There is currently no compensation other than a warm glow (though Governance could always decide differently!).

An ideal approver might have:

  • A technical background and security mindset
  • Understanding of the Celo Governance process
  • Understanding of the Celo and similar protocols, and the core contracts
  • Solid Solidity experience
  • A history of participation in the Celo community
  • Willingness to confirm your identity to other approvers
  • Generally responsive on Telegram!

Again, I (and I’m sure the others) welcome feedback and input on this membership and the role itself.

Happy to answer questions + take suggestions, as always :slight_smile:

UPDATE 9/26: adding new volunteers, Mariano and Volpe!


Thanks @tim for some of the clarifying information, helps a lot.

@Wade Made a site earlier in the year to try and visualize the current pool. It’s difficult to get a single number because of the differences in status, approved/executed but not drawn from etc, but this site makes it much clearer: https://www.celocommunityfund.xyz/

Definitely agree here!

This is fair, and what I expected. Glad to see the full list there too, I hadn’t seen it before. I guess the process isn’t clear to me though. How do the Approvers contact the proposal owner for clarifying questions? How do proposal owners contact the Approvers to request them to sign (if they haven’t already)? Is there a “approvers@<somewhere.com>”? Are there alternative contact methods than Discord / Telegram if they are down or blocked in your region? Would be nice to perhaps have a Approvers attestation page where there is a comment for each proposal and a checkbox next to the principles they have verified for each one.

Regarding governance content, I think it definitely makes sense for the Approvers not to opine here, and there’s a good argument that no “standards” or consensus is required - that’s what the voting stage is for. But the reality is most voters don’t have the bandwidth to be project managers / treasurers / analysts for day or more trying to understand the benefits and relevant metrics of a 6-figure spend request. Most simply vote “Yes” if it looks generally OK and move on. Although I’m seeing many more Abstain and No than before, which is good.

So I don’t want to subvert the existing voting process, but I would love to see more “Temperature Check” style conversations (that we often see on Snapshot) like: “Would you support a soft spending cap for the 20XX calendar year of XX million CELO on the following class of proposals: <A, B, C>”?"
Class A is defined as:
Class B is defined as:

Perhaps some of these secondary funds could manage this process however, and alleviate some of the governance fatigue.


Thanks @Thylacine for raising and starting a conversation about this. Feels like Celo has entered a new phase and looking at recent proposals we are seeing both an increase in the number of proposals as well as the ratio of new community members that are proposing … it’s fair to say our governance processes haven’t grown to prepare us for this new phase.

Would welcome to hear additional ideas and/or have folks share best practices folks have seen in other onchain communities.

Some changes - eg the DVP already in the works (Introducing the Delegated Voting Program (DVP)) should also have a positive impact once implemented.

Maybe worth also setting up a series of calls to more actively brainstorm.


Hi - some time lurker, first time poster.

I want to echo this point about coherent strategy. I think the answer to poor capital prioritization is rarely more subcommittees but clarity of vision. Laundering decisions through more hands and more mouths does not increase the quality of the decision-making, but rather obscures it.

Completely agree with Tim’s point that most community members are well-intentioned. With a coherent strategy, decentralized efforts can more readily self-organize to forward the Celo mission.

Finally, I want to emphasize that a focused, commercial lens is necessary for the long-term survival of any currency area, in addition to technical sufficiency.


But it’s not 2019 anymore, we need to get real and stop pretending handing out T-shirts to the same 1000 guys on the conference circuit is helping the protocol in any way, let alone the many in leapfrog nations that Celo’s technologies could be serving.

Maybe leading with short-term incentives (money, swag and parties) isn’t the best way to build a “through thick & thin” community. @Thylacine thank you for bringing this to light


@Thylacine Always appreciate your thoughtful feedback.

@rene_celo The CGP Editors hold a bi-weekly Governance Planning call where this feedback would be great to have!

@juanjgiraldoc @willkraft @Wade can we set the agenda for the next one to be ideas for Governance improvements?


Thanks a lot for raising this @Thylacine.
I’m fairly new to the governance part of Celo, even though been here since the beginning with impactMarket.

My reply here, is also my sole opinion, not related to impactMarket project or the validator group.

I do really agree with this. I feel like, it’s such a bad feeling it gives to the outside world about Celo. I’m the one voting from the impactMarket group, representing the group/project. I usually know what to vote. When I don’t, I look for more details. But lately, I needed to ask the team and we barely got to an agreement (we are not usually like that). So, I feel like, it’s unclear, and this “rush” for the unclear, makes me uncomfortable. And as other said, it’s turns out to be tiring.

I personally would prefer to vote on a grant to Prezenti than a proposal grant to someone I know nothing about and need to spend time reading through.


I also suggest that we explore using streaming payments protocols like cask.fi or superfluid to avoid paying lump sums up front. People and projects requesting funding should be able to articulate milestones that the community can use as inputs to decisions to continue or halt funding streams based on achievement of objectives.



Sure, If I am not wrong the next Governance Planning Call is the following one, and you always can find this info inside the Celo Signal Newsletter:

  • Date: Tuesday, Sep 5, 2023
  • Time: 8:30 AM PDT / 11:30 AM EDT / 3:30 PM UTC
  • Tune in here
1 Like

Thanks @Thylacine for starting this important conversation.

As an active member of Celo EU for the past months, I’ve experienced firsthand the limitations and uncertainty of the current Governance process.

Overall, I agree with adding more clarity and rigor to the Governance process (1,2,3,4).

Related to your 5th point - when supporting the CeloDAO EU proposal creation process, there was no clear overview of priorities and the currently available budget. Because of the lack of these guidelines, we discussed starting a Celo Governance Wiki during the CeloDAO EU gathering in Paris to make the governance process, current holdings, active proposals, and guidelines clear to all stakeholders. This seems to connect well with your work on CeloCommunityFund.xyz, and I would love to contribute more to this effort.

On the importance of transparent accounting and financial strategy
While not an easy task, I think it’s critical that moving forward, the Celo stakeholders gather to establish jointly agreed priorities and standards for allocating the Community Reserve.

On separating governance decision
While excited about the prospect of a Delegation system - I wonder if we should distribute some of the decisions to individuals, groups, or committees with the proper context to make these decisions. For example, deciding which types of in-person events to sponsor is almost impossible without having a clear overview of all events Celo’s partners, cLabs, Celo Foundation, and other stakeholders will participate in and have the right background to understand and negotiate events organization and sponsorship deals.

I imagine having separate processes (and potentially budgets), e.g., Builder and Growth grants. This would allow the existing governance system to focus on the more significant and critical decisions, such as Protocol updates and Large Mento changes.

In the past, I helped set up Balancer Grants, which is still running after over eight waves, and I’m happy to participate in ideation sessions on if and how we can have such specialized budgets/grants programs for the Community Fund.

It scares me that the majority of the Community Fund consists of CELO. As it feels, every time we spend, we’re cannibalizing our treasury value by putting sales pressure on CELO.

Final Note: I 100% share your sentiment about the L2 proposal. I believe we should focus on executing this well. While it’s understandable there are technical considerations to be made and conversation to be had before Celo can formally commit and deploy on the proposed stack, I see incredible value in aligning ASAP with the OP stack.

Not only does the Optimism Network share many values with Celo, being focussed on public good production, but it also operates one of the most exciting ecosystem rewards schemes in the form of Retrospective Public Good Funding. This Fall, for example, 30M OP (~$45M value) will be distributed retrospectively to Optimism Network contributors. Participating in such programs could open an additional income stream for many Celo-based initiatives. I imagine many proposals (especially research, advocacy, events, and education-related) to potentially become co-funded by other stakeholders in the Optimism Network besides Celo. It allows us to preserve the Community Treasury resources while increasing our reach and impact.


Thank you @Thylacine for your thoughtful post and for bringing up this very important topic! I wholeheartedly agree with much of what you wrote and wanted to provide some additional thoughts on this.

For those of you that don’t know me, my name is Xochitl Cazador. I was drawn to Web 3 and Celo due to its potential to democratize wealth and technology. This is something I feel very passionate about — my mother is from a small town in Mexico that didn’t have access to running water or electricity. I was born and raised in East San Jose, a predominantly Latino community in what I like to call the shadow of Silicon Valley. I’ve seen first hand how the existing systems fail those that need it most. This perspective shapes my beliefs on some of the points that I will raise below.

I lead Ecosystem Growth at the Celo Foundation and have been working on Celo since 2019. As part of my role, I led the Celo Foundation Grants Program from 2019 to 2022 (when the program was put on pause), helped launch & create the Celo Camp curriculum, led mainstream partnerships (such as Grameen Foundation, CARE, Telefonica, Google Cloud, Chainlink, etc), and have supported many projects in the Celo Ecosystem including Impact Market, Kolektivo, ReSource, Good Dollar, HaloFi, Grass Roots Economics, and many more. My comments on this post, however, are from my personal perspective and do not represent the views of the Celo Foundation.

In addition to the points raised by @Thylacine and others on this thread, I believe we need to address a few more issues in governance:

  1. Overall Transparency & Approachability
  2. Strategic Use of Funds
  3. Democratization of Votes
  4. Community Engagement and Politics

Overall Transparency & Approachability:

The governance process is not easy to navigate. Up until recently the process on docs.celo.org did not provide an overview on the best practices such as creating a forum post and attending a governance call. Due to the way voting is structured, it’s not easy to understand how many votes are required to pass. Someone needs to look at CLI (Command Line Interface for any non techies reading this) to access this information. The only tool to see the status of different proposals (https://celo.stake.id) has had various issues – including being off by one day and misrepresenting the actual time left to vote. Additionally it is hard to know when governance calls are happening because you need to remember to look at the community calendar and manually add events to your own calendar. There have also been issues identified after a CGP is submitted that require additional back and forth (validating addresses, minimum x of y multisig, etc). The best practices are not clearly understood. If we want to encourage more participation in submitting governance proposals and engaging more individuals in actively voting – this process needs to be easier to understand. We also need to think about making governance accessible in applications like Valora so that any holder no matter how big or small can engage. My point here is – that we need to go back to one of Celo’s early tenets when thinking about governance and “designing for all”.

(Note: There is work underway to create a new governance dashboard led by @TomerBa , additionally @willkraft has done an excellent job with the governance calls and moved the meetings to lu.ma so that people can subscribe and it automatically adds it to the calendar. For those interested in Celo’s community tenets, they are: Designing for All, Striving for Beauty, Innovating on Money, and Embodying Humility.)

Strategic Use of Funds

I have a slightly different perspective of the on-chain community fund. In the spirit of decentralization, I love that anyone can access the on-chain fund and put forward a request. And I agree that as a community we need to be more thoughtful in terms of how funds are allocated. I believe there are different types of funding requests: Technical Infrastructure, Ecosystem Growth, Community & Education. For example:

  • Technical Infrastructure: Funds that support technical advancements and benefit most (if not all projects) in the ecosystem. A recent example of this is Chainlink.
  • Ecosystem Growth: Funds that benefit individual projects (i.e. Grants given by Prezenti or Climate Collective to an individual project in the ecosystem).
  • Community & Education: Funds that support community education and growth. This can sometimes take the form of event sponsorship, hackathons, developer training, etc. (i.e. Africa DAO, Latam DAO, Europe DAO, etc)

I believe there is a place for all types of these requests in the community fund but as a community, we should think about what % of the fund is allocated to each category. My personal opinion is that a larger allocation should fund technical infrastructure with smaller allocations to the remaining two categories. Technical grants are needed to keep the platform current with critical tooling and infrastructure and even experiment with new forms of technology. (Especially in light of the L2 migration). Ecosystem growth can be an excellent mechanism to spur growth but worry that projects become dependent on this as a means to fund operations instead of seeking other forms of capital. I do believe that community engagement and education (aka marketing) is important. Celo Foundation and Celo Labs cannot and should not be everywhere – it’s important to create a community of individuals who can champion Celo locally – be the voice for what their community needs and understand how best to allocate resources to maximize impact. This is the true spirit of decentralization.

In addition to the allocation of funds, I believe it is equally important for any requester to be extremely transparent about how they plan to use those funds and what the results are. Did the grant increase the number of transactions, the number of wallets? Did it address a technical public good that was needed for the ecosystem? Did it grow the community? Did it generate new leads for the ecosystem? I’d love to see retros from past grantees to report on their impact. And believe that there needs to be a way to systemically claw back funds if funds are not appropriately allocated or goals are not being met. @annaalexa shared that MakerDAO faced similar challenges and has done some work here that we should learn from.

Democratization of Votes

Voting is dependent on quorum being met. We’ve seen proposals with few numbers of votes (in terms of wallets) but large % of engagement due to the size of the wallets that are engaged. You can view the history of votes to see which proposals had more distribution of smaller vs larger wallet engagement. Vitalik Buterin, Glen Weyl, and Zoe Hitzig wrote about voting dynamics in their paper “A Flexible Design for Public Goods” This work inspired the design behind Gitcoin’s Quadratic Funding and a number of the features that were built into Allo Protocol a new funding tool created by Gitcoin and SuperModular. (“Allo” is short for Allocation – you can catch Owocki speaking about this at Funding the Commons at ETHCC). We’ve been working with the Gitcoin team to bring Allo on Celo. It is deployed on Alfajores Testnet with plans to launch on Mainnet soon. I’m personally excited at the potential this has to help program how the community fund is used. But until this is live, I would encourage everyone to think critically about Celo’s mission and be open to various voices in the community. Voters should look not only at the allocation of votes, but the distribution, speak to others to gain a diverse set of opinions and engage in discussion. Ask others why or why not they support a certain proposal. I’d also love to see wallet holders identify themselves. This is a best practice we see in other governance models like Uniswap (see their Snapshot and Tally dashboards here). Most protocols separate governance into two steps –- a temperature check with the community and a governance vote where most large holders (1) identify themselves (2) publicly comment on why (or why not) they support a specific proposal before casting their vote.

Politics and Engagement.

This leads me to my next point on this topic – the politics around submissions. I’ve seen a lot of backchannel around certain proposals. Most (if not all) of the proposals are put forward in good faith. And typically there is a very healthy discussion on the forum. It saddens me when I hear a conversation via backchannels criticizing a proposal instead of in the forum. And I wonder how anyone can have a strong opinion, and make assumptions about the proposal without either engaging in the forum post directly, contacting the author, or attending the governance call? I saw this with a recent proposal where the author approached various people to ask their opinions before submitting it on the forum – some of those individuals responded they didn’t have time to review but provided strong commentary behind the scenes to individuals in the ecosystem. Transparency, openness, and engagement are the spirit of the Celo Ecosystem. If you have feedback – leave it on the forum and engage in discussion. We are all stewards of the community and should engage openly and transparently.

In Conclusion

I love the Celo Ecosystem and was drawn to it because of its focus on being a force for good in the world. I know that Web3 and governance are constantly evolving. This post is meant with the best of intentions. I hope this feedback is seen as an invitation for everyone to engage and help evolve this process. I’m immensely grateful to folks like @annaalexa , @joshc , Owocki, Scott, Zakk and so many others who have shared perspectives on governance frameworks and funding models. The pace of innovation that has occurred around governance and fund allocations has increased dramatically and I don’t believe Celo should reinvent the wheel – we should learn from others, stay current on the latest developments, and experiment in our ecosystem.


An example of this in action is Road to Cop 28 (Proposal 122 and 128).

This proposal was authored by Jeanne Bloche, Pierre Noro, Jacques Andre Fines-Schlumberger. While newer contributors to the Celo Ecosystem – they have been in Celo’s orbit for the past few years. Most major projects on Celo have been speakers at their events. Jeanne is also a fellow of Kernel (a community that has been a great source for founders in the Celo ecosystem). @JeanneBloch , @PierreN , and @Jacques-Andre have deep expertise in SDGs in both private and public sectors – having worked for the United Nations, Boston Consulting Group, Head of SDG for major corporations, lecturers at top Universities in France (Science PO and HEC) and even served as an intern for US Congress.

This proposal had the unfortunate luck of being put forward when one of the CGP stewards was out on PTO and being impacted by Stake.ID issue (the time remaining on their vote was off by one day). Given these issues and initial turnout of votes (an overwhelming 91% in favor), they resubmitted the proposal immediately. Of the 71 votes: 48 voted in favor, 10 against, and 13 abstained. While they received 2x the number of votes in terms of support, ultimately it was the voting power that impacted this vote. The 10 wallet addresses that voted against the proposal simply had more voting power. This is an example of a project that could have benefited from something like a quadratic funding round.

Regarding the use of funds for events, I largely agree with the comment that this is no longer 2019. FWIW - I don’t think this proposal was about handing out SWAG. It was about bringing key players in the public and private sectors to the table to learn about the potential of Celo and partner with Celo. Past event sponsorships for this type of audience have brought key partners to the Ecosystem including NGOs and Fortune 500 companies. And has resulted in major press coverage for projects in the Celo Ecosystem with an equivalent ad value (EAV) in the $millions highlighting real-world use cases. This is important when so much of what we see in the press around crypto is the opposite. (Full disclosure here - I voted in favor of this request).


Good to hear your positive sentiment about the L2 proposal, not primarily content but rather the discussion and engagement culture around it! We are doing everytihng to lean into this and push it out fast and at high quality, to stay ahead of the curve!


Totally agree communication in both directions with Governance Approvers is a pain point and not as transparent as it could be. Right now, it’s mainly done via @ericnakagawa and CGP editors, but I think we can make it faster and more open. I’ll circle back with some thoughts about how to improve it.


This is my opinion as a community member and not represent any of my roles as Celo Community moderator and CGP editor.

Thanks for your post and for the productive discussion that formed around it @Thylacine

Here are some points that are very close to my heart:

1. Easy access to voting

When members find it easy to vote, they are more likely to stay engaged with the DAO, contributing not just votes but also ideas, discussions, and other forms of participation that are vital for the DAO’s long-term success. For a mobile-first blockchain like Celo, voting access should be very seamless for smartphone/mobile wallet users. This is not the case if in order to vote you need to use a CLI, Celo Terminal, or if the leading frontend platform that shows the current votes is showing incorrect information or is 1 day off.
I was very excited when the possibility to vote with stCelo was announced in the Celo 2.0 Roadmap, and I was happy to use it 1 month ago when it was implemented (with some bugs). Now is the time to push it and communicate to the community that this possibility is now a reality.

2. Transparency of voters

Accountability is vital for a governance system. If a person or entity has a substantial voting weight in a DAO, be it through capital or delegation, it is in the interest of a DAO that they can be kept accountable for their voting behavior. Otherwise, they can manipulate the DAO without the risk of being exposed. Currently, the Celo Governance vote is mainly influenced by 4 addresses that account on average, for 70-80% of the total votes, and we (as a community) don’t know who this entity are. What I suggest is to adopt a signaling system like the one used on the Arbitrum DAO where under every forum post, all the biggest delegator announce what they are going to vote and why in order to give a reason that goes beyond a vote and be held accountable by the users who delegated to them and choose them as their voice in the governance process. I know that not all the Celo Governance voters are validators with delegated voting power and there might be whales with a lot of voting power with no interest in signaling their choices or revealing their name and I don’t have the solution for that, but maybe in this sense quadratic voting might come to help. I’m also very excited to see solutions like the DVP proposed by @ericnakagawa Celo delegated voting program that will only increase vote diversification and discussion under proposals to foster a more decentralized governance process. Furthermore, I find the implementation of a website like https://snapshot.org/ (already supporting voting with Celo) as a positive step forward to attract more voters on Governance proposals.

On your points:

2. Increase the CELO bond for an application, make it non-refundable
I’m in favor of increasing the Celo bond for an application and we could start a discussion around what’s the best way to do it. I don’t feel so sure to make it non-refundable but maybe a higher bond pegged to a Celo value in $ is something we should explore.

3. There needs to be a cool-down period before the same application can resubmit
I think it is fair, and I like the options you have highlighted, also here happy to start a conversation around the right amount of cool-down period and how to enforce it.

5. Governance Proposals Content
Here I like a lot what @Xochitl suggested differentiating the type of funding requests and allocate a % of the fund in each category. On top of that, I would also like to discuss with the community the possibility to introduce a yearly spending cap for the funds in order to alleviate the selling pressure on Celo token.


We share your sentiment, for almost all of the people that is form Latin America we know the difficulties and lack of opportunities that the system bring to us, that’s why is so important Blockchain and On-Chain Governance doesn’t suffer the same problems of traditional ways of governance, we really need to guarantee the “designed for all” statement and this includes to have all the documentation fully translated into the main languages that obviously include one of the main LatinAmerica Languages that is Spanish.

Completely agree on this statement. :100:

We need a button inside Valora to lock our Celo’s and another button to participate in Governance Proposal through a vote. :ballot_box:

Only way to vote now is using CeloCLI or CeloTerminal that is not for everyone and is only available at laptop, otherwise you can use stcelo.xyz but it have been presenting some bugs and is not reliable yet.

Governance should cater to all individuals, and its accessibility should not be limited to the process described as “locking your celo’s and voting” Instead, governance ought to be designed with the goal of making it incredibly straightforward for anyone, regardless of their language proficiency or educational background, to engage in the process effortlessly.

Simplifying the process of participating in governance is essential to ensure that a diverse range of people can have a voice and contribute to decision-making. Here are a few key points to consider in making governance more accessible:

  • User-Friendly Interfaces: The interfaces through which individuals interact with the governance process should be intuitive and easy to navigate. This includes clear instructions, visual aids, and a simple step-by-step process.
  • Multilingual Support: Providing support for multiple languages is crucial to ensure that language barriers don’t prevent people from participating. Translating governance materials, user interfaces, and documentation can make the process more accessible.
  • Educational Resources: Many people might not be familiar with blockchain technology or governance concepts. Providing accessible educational resources, including videos, infographics, and plain-language explanations, can empower more people to participate.
  • Low Entry Barriers: Governance participation often involves holding a certain amount of tokens, which can be a barrier for some. Designing mechanisms that allow even small token holders to contribute can help ensure a broader representation of stakeholders.
  • Feedback Channels: Provide avenues for users to give feedback on the governance process itself. This can lead to iterative improvements and adjustments that cater to the needs and preferences of the community.
  • Accessibility Standards: Ensure that the digital platforms and tools used for governance adhere to accessibility standards, making them usable by people with disabilities.

Hey y’all, saw this thread and wanted to weigh in. Huge thank you to @Xochitl for tagging me in her thoughtful post!

Who am I?

I’ll share this to provide context, but feel free to skip it if it’s not interesting or relevant to you.

By way of introduction: I’ve been in web3 for a few years now and have contributed to a number of projects. These projects have mostly focused on the mainnet Ethereum ecosystem, but I started exploring Celo earlier this year (ironically, after meeting a few of the team members at EthDenver and receiving my first Celo shirt from @annaalexa). I co-founded Cabin and founded the Solidity Guild. I’m a technical guardian (the equivalent of your Governance Approvers) for a DAO in the Ethereum ecosystem with a $100+ million treasury (not allowed to say which). I graduated from 0xMacro. I’ve consulted a number of DAOs and web3 orgs on things like product development, bounty programs, operations, and strategy - including Seed Club, DAO Masters, Krause House, Utopia, Clarity, and Quests. Since the beginning of this year, I’ve worked at Gitcoin, primarily focused on Gitcoin’s new protocol: Allo.

I’m also starting a project with some friends called Impact Stream, which is building the infrastructure to run grants programs in developing nations using crypto rails. We’re starting with Togo and building the infrastructure to run quadratic funding rounds. I’m excited to share that this will all run on Celo!

All this is to say that I am:

  • New-ish or OG-ish to web3 (depending on when you joined the space)
  • Experienced in web3 governance, grants, bounties, ecosystem growth, etc
  • Technical, including experience with Solidity
  • A huge, huge fan of Celo

Summary of the Conversation

I wanted to weigh because, after reading through the conversation so far, I think I’m hearing two things and I think it makes sense to discuss these two things separately.

The first thing I think I’m hearing is that it seems like there’s some signal that the existing governance process might need some updates.

I’m seeing this across a lot of communities and I think it’s good governance hygiene to periodically review the governance process to make sure the process is working as intended, everything is clearly documented, and we’re able to meet our goals as a community. Governance is a living thing and needs maintenance and adjustment from time to time.

The second thing I’m hearing is that people would like to see more progress made from the existing grants initiatives.

Allo, which @Xochitl mentioned, is a protocol for the efficient and decentralized allocation of capital. It’s a general purpose onchain capital allocation protocol, but we’re focused on ecosystem growth and grants to start.

I’m going to outline a couple of things here over the rest of this post:

  1. Where can Allo fit in with everything being discussed here?
  2. How does Allo work?
  3. What specific benefits can Allo provide the Celo ecosystem?
  4. What happens next?

Where can Allo fit in with everything being discussed here?

I see communities across web3 running into a few common problems that are called out in this discussion:

  1. We’re using a governance system that works really well for managing the protocol (upgrades, updating parameters, etc) to try and grow the ecosystem and allocate capital
  2. We allocate capital towards identified problems and then it’s hard to tell if that was effective.

On the first point: we want to keep governance! This is where we have holistic community engagement and buy in and we want to keep this. We also need something more nuanced. We’re making individual proposals through governance, which makes them really hard to compare against each other (as @Thylacine mentioned). It also means every proposal is treated as equivalent, whether that’s upgrading the underlying protocol or funding an ecosystem initiative.

Allo solves this problem by giving communities a governance system specifically designed for making capital allocation decisions. We keep top-level treasury decisions in governance, but add Allo to specifically handle decisions like:

  • What events should we fund?
  • What strategic projects should we allocate grants towards?
  • How much should we support different kinds of projects at different stages of development?

On the second point: Allo serves as the protocol layer, or the “back end,” for capital allocation, which has a couple of advantages for community-level decision making. Allo is very flexible in how you allocate and distribute capital - I’ll explain more in the next section. With that flexibility, you don’t lose transparency or comparability.

If all your allocation decisions go through Allo, then you have the benefit of being able to review and monitor how every pool of capital is distributed. We’re working on building an AlloScan (think Etherscan, but specifically for Allo). So, if a governance proposal passes to fund Prezenti again, there will be a page in AlloScan where anyone can look and see how Prezenti is managing that pool: who has applied for a grant, who was accepted or rejected, how much was distributed and when, etc. The poor folks at Prezenti have to manage all of this in a spreadsheet, which they upload to their website every month!

While Allo offers a lot of flexibility, it does so through a standard set of onchain methods and events, which gives communities comparability. As a community, how can we reason about whether different direct grants programs were effective? That’s to say nothing about what happens as the grant program grows and we start to experiment with other mechanisms, like quadratic funding/quadratic voting or dominant assurance contracts. Running different types of programs through the same system gives us the ability to compare them apples-to-apples and evaluate their effectiveness.

How does Allo work?

The main components of Allo are the project registry, the pool manager, and allocation strategies.

The project registry is where groups receiving and/or distributing capital create a profile. Each profile has a unique id pointing to some offchain metadata and an address, called an anchor, that is used for accruing reputation and tracking performance. Projects only need one profile across Allo. For example, Prezenti would have a profile in the registry, with metadata offchain for things like their name, website, and Twitter handle. As would any of the projects that they issue grants to. This makes it easy to review how much funding has been distributed and to which projects, per pool and across pools.

The core of Allo is the pool manager, where pools of capital are created and assigned a strategy that lays out who is eligible to receive capital from the pool, who is eligible to allocate from the pool, how allocation is determined, and how distribution is done. Combined, this modular approach means Allo can support quadratic funding, direct grants, grants scouting, dominant assurance contracts, and many other mechanisms for funding public goods. We’ve built out a library of different strategies to showcase the diversity of approaches that are possible here.

So in summary: communities send funds to pools with specific rules (strategies). Grantees accrue reputation for their work and involvement in the community. And everything is auditable and transparent.

If you want to dive deeper, the docs are here and the contracts are here. I’d like to personally invite any devs/builders to the Allo developer community, a private telegram group and weekly call where we discuss updates to the protocol and support people building on top of it.

What specific benefits can Allo provide the Celo ecosystem?

I want to call out 5 benefits that I think we can bring to the Celo ecosystem with Allo:

  1. Audit-ability
  2. Comparability
  3. Decentralization
  4. Flexibility
  5. Experimentation

The first benefit of Allo is the auditability of programs. Your treasury funds a pool created by a profile or funds a profile’s anchor in the registry if the group is expected to distribute funds in multiple rounds. The distribution of funds is tied to the profile in the registry and everything is auditable including, who applied, who was eligible, who participated in allocation, and who received a distribution.

The second benefit of Allo is comparability. You can have groups distributing grants through quadratic funding, a grant scouting program, direct grants, and dominant assurance contracts and, because they’re all using the same system, their performance and effectiveness can be compared against each other. This is true across grant products and mechanisms, as long as they’re using Allo, so individual grants programs can use Grants Stack, Questbook or another product built on Allo v2 and the ecosystem can still have this comparability.

The third benefit of Allo is to push specific grant proposals decisions to a local body while keeping macro grant decisions in governance. Rather than voting on individual proposals, the community can vote on grant programs or initiatives, which are then distributed through Allo, effectively decentralizing ecosystem grants. Individual programs can be as broad or narrow as necessary, so fund a pool for a Celo-wide quadratic funding program or a pool for a small grants committee focused on a single, small mission.

The fourth benefit of Allo is the flexibility to run the full-spectrum of your ecosystem growth initiatives. Allo can run standard grant programs, like RFPs and direct grants. It can also be used for venture-style investments, hackathons, bounties, quadratic funding and voting, and more.

Finally, the fifth benefit of Allo is the ability to experiment. Because Allo provides auditability and comparability, ecosystems can run experiments with different ways of funding public goods and compare them for efficacy. Allo’s modular nature makes it easy to experiment with different combinations of mechanisms.

What happens next?

We (Allo and Gitcoin) are excited to help! I know a couple of people here have had a chance to explore Allo some. I’d love to answer any questions people have on it.

Then, I think a good next step might be to scope out a good place to start experimenting and go from there.