Celo Governance: A High Overview

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Figment strives to drive governance activities at all stakeholder levels in order to ensure that networks like Celo stay healthy, sustainable, and resilient.

Related: Celo Governance in a Nutshell (May 25, 2020)

Figment & Celo

People trust Figment with more than just security. They trust us to make these networks more useful so that their tokens will be more valuable. We've been learning about Celo governance, a system that will be critical for Celo's functionality and for the health of the Celo network.

Celo will be a platform that enables anyone in the world to exchange digital assets. No one can stop you from participating, and no one can seize your assets, because no central entity has control. All of this will be done in a transparent way in which there will be strong guarantees that nothing can be manipulated.

There’s a reason that Celo is designed this way. The vision is for the entire world to use this platform to pay one another without relying on middlemen, and to access financial products and markets that couldn’t exist with traditional technologies. So in this way Celo is intended to be a sort of public good. However, if there’s no single entity controlling Celo, how can we make decisions about upgrading the platform?

The Power of On-Chain Governance

Celo has a built-in system for governance. This enables anyone to propose changes and for participants to vote on those proposals. If the proposed changes are approved by voters, the Celo protocol will enact the changes automatically. This system is called on-chain governance. 

For example, if someone creates a proposal that’s programmed to add a new kind of currency to Celo and the voters pass the proposal, the Celo network will automatically run the code to add the new currency.

This is a pretty powerful thing. Other blockchains must co-ordinate with the majority of entities running the network to run new software, a process that Figment is very familiar with--it's a process that tends to be challenging and unpredictable.

What kinds of changes can on-chain governance make?

There are many different things that Celo's on-chain governance can change. Core protocol upgrade capability, for example, can enable competitive improvements with the best possible features. For some developers that may be really valuable, but some of these changes can also break the applications that they have built.

  • Certain core improvements (that can possibly cause platform stability issues)
  • New features, such as private transactions
  • New currencies can be added
  • Rates of rewards can change for cGLD stakers
  • Types of risk can change for cGLD stakers
  • The governance system itself can be changed

Celo's Governance Process

Anyone with at least 100 Celo Gold (cGLD) can create a proposal.

  1. Proposal is upvoted by cGLD holders and lasts for 24 hours
  2. The top three proposals (by upvote) are then considered for approval by the Celo Foundation for 24 hours
    Note: this is subject to change in future
  3. Once approved, proposals then move to referendum
  4. cGLD voters vote on each proposal for a 48 hour period
  5. Passed proposals are executed and then enacted by the protocol automatically

Votes are weighted by the amount of Celo Gold that the voter has locked. That means that the more Celo Gold you have, the bigger your vote is. Since the voting mechanism is not tied to Celo validators, Celo Gold holders will ultimately decide which referenda pass.

Funding for Celo Projects

Not only can you change how Celo works with governance, but you can also use proposals to get paid by the Celo platform. There’s a community pool of funds that can automatically be used to pay proposers using Celo's on-chain governance. You can submit a proposal to make improvements to Celo's technology, for example, and be paid if the Celo community votes in favour of your proposal.

Off-Chain Funding

The Celo Foundation also has a grants program for a wide variety of possible contributions to Celo (not just developer work). You can email fellowship@celo.org with questions or to discuss an idea you may have.

Pay Attention To Governance

It will likely be important to know what’s coming before proposals go live on-chain. Once a proposal is on-chain, it cannot be changed, so at this point you can only be for or against the proposal. I suspect that many proposals will first be discussed off-chain, which is an important time to be involved because you have the chance to discuss the proposal while it’s still being developed. This is an opportunity to provide your perspective as a stakeholder and to help influence decisions that affect the health of the network.


? Twitter@CeloGov for alerts to new governance activity

Discourse: forum.celo.org for off-chain discussions and draft proposals


Governance viewers:
- celoist.com
- thecelo.com
And we expect others to be announced soon.

Figment and Governance

We're no strangers to on-chain governance. The health of the network has the potential to be heavily impacted by the outcomes of governance decisions, and so Figment strives to drive governance activities at all stakeholder levels in order to ensure that networks like Celo stay healthy, sustainable, and resilient.

Hopefully you found this useful. Questions? Comments? Feedback is always welcome! I’m on Twitter.

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