What's next for Celo. A technical roadmap, with input from sessions at Celo Connect

Celo community,

I hope you’ve had time to watch the Mission aligned & Celo 2.0 talks by myself and Mariano, from Day 1 at Celo Connect. This post is based on those sessions, and the feedback we’ve received over the last few months on what the community wants to see after the Espresso Hardfork. My hope is that this helps frame a broader discussion about the future of the Celo blockchain, and I look forward to all of your thoughts, ideas and comments to this end.

Scalability: Scaling is a priority. In less than a year, we have seen our blockchain grow from a couple million transactions to over 110M on the blockchain. We want to continue to grow our L1 to ensure our community can continue to build future-proof decentralized applications. Last fall, you heard us talking about achieving 100k TPS - this is not a simple task and requires many changes to our current blockchain. Since then, we have been working on:

  1. Increased execution speed: Integrating Narwhal and Move are key pieces to allow us to execute blocks at increasingly fast speeds. To accomplish this, we will be splitting the execution of transactions with how they are ordered. Narwhal will play a pivotal role here as it can sequence transactions with low latency and high throughput while scaling the validator set size.
  2. Bolstering decentralization: Decentralization requires a large number of full nodes that verify the state of the blockchain, and for this reason, we will continue to invest in increasing the number of full nodes on the network. This will include moving to batch proposing validator multi-sigs which will enable increases to the validator set size, and invest in full node incentives and light clients. [Plumo launch] is a step in that direction, enabling a syncing protocol 1.7M times lighter than the Ethereum light sync.
  3. Long-term scalability: While the ongoing work we’re doing on scaling the EVM and integrating the Move VM will dramatically increase the number of transactions we can execute, we will need multiple chains of execution over time. Building upon the work being done on Ethereum, we will be preparing the Celo blockchain for long-term scalability through an ecosystem of rollups.

Payments: In September, I posted on the forum about the flywheel effect and payments as a utility for everyday users. Celo is particularly compelling for payments because transaction fees can be paid by ERC20 tokens including stablecoins. The community has been building many payment related products, and at Celo Connect, we saw many amazing payment demos backed by Celo Safe, including:

  • Payments integration with Fireblocks where users can pay in stablecoins and the merchant is paid in fiat for a fraction of today’s cost.
  • P2M (People-to-Merchant) where end users pay merchants in Celo stablecoins for multiple items.
  • Quick and easy payment QR code generation for payment acceptance with Trelis Pay.
  • Payments through cards with Ammer group and point of sale terminal.

In addition to the demos, we’re witnessing true, real world utility with the launch of cREAL - users are paying for their electricity bill, groceries and other services with the currency through integrations with Bitfy, Novadax, Ripio, and many others.

Transaction cost: Our gas fees are very low. Over the past year, the average transaction cost has been 0.001 CELO, or 0.0003 in dollars using today’s price of CELO. Over that same period, our average daily transaction count has grown significantly. To scale with the demand, we want to get a temperature check from the community to increase the block gas limit to 35M gas. Experimental results show that the chain can handle up to 50M gas (~500 tx / sec) using very modest hardware, but we are proposing a more modest increase until we see further demand.

Zk-SNARKS: Our community has a strong background in zk-SNARKs as seen by the incredible work on Plumo and Poof. With this expertise, we plan to continue to invest in zk-SNARK technology as a community in a whole manner of areas from bridges, rollups, to compliance protocols.

Our first entry into this space has been with light clients. Celo’s mission is to build the conditions of prosperity for all, not just a few. Celo operates in over 150 countries across a very broad set of hardware and internet connectivity. With this in mind, we need a very fast, light client in order to sync directly to the blockchain in an efficient and truly decentralized way - especially in regions with a slower internet speed. The recent announcement and demo of Plumo is a key proof point that we are one of the lightest blockchains when it comes to light client syncing.

Private transactions and private balances are areas that we want to explore more, especially with compliance in mind. We would love to get a pulse from you all on interest here.

The team has made tremendous progress, and I’m so excited about where we go from here. I’m personally very inspired by the roadmap, and I’m looking forward to meaningful collaboration with you all as well. Please join our next community call for more discussion!

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Kudos! Thanks for all your work.

Great read, thanks for sharing!

Adding two feature requests with interesting insights we received not long ago, for context re private transactions and private balances:

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