The Celo Community Grows Ahead of Testnet Launch

We started Celo to build a monetary system that creates the conditions of prosperity for all. We believe that by making financial tools more accessible and by innovating upon the primary features of money, we can make a positive impact on the world.

Celo: A Mobile-First Cryptocurrency

Celo is a decentralized Proof-of-Stake (PoS) protocol, with a mobile-friendly, ultralight client experience allowing anyone to securely send stable-value digital assets to any phone number, anywhere. By taking a full-stack approach, in which we develop both the protocol and a consumer wallet, we make design decisions around the protocol that are informed by the end-user experience. And by making Celo open platform and open source, we can enable an ecosystem of powerful applications using the platform, including easier cash transfer programs, peer-to-peer lending, collaborative small-scale insurance, and other digital assets and wallets.

Today we’re providing details about our progress since we introduced ourselves last June, share some exciting news, and discuss what’s on the near horizon.

Growth in Celo Contributors

Since our initial announcement, the team working on Celo has grown to over 40 contributors around the world. The unique blend of expertise in both building and scaling technology and implementing on-the-ground programs in emerging markets is what sets the team apart. Our diverse team includes experience from the World Bank Group, United Nations, Google, Whatsapp, Microsoft, Apple, Square, Ripple, PayPal, Morgan Stanley, MIT, Stanford, Harvard, and Berkeley.

Photo collage of the team working on Celo

Growth in Celo Supporters

Our community of supporters is also growing stronger. We’ve been fortunate to have the support and backing from the leading funds and operators in the industry. Today we are announcing that a16z crypto has purchased $15 million USD of Celo Gold and Polychain Capital has purchased $10 million USD of Celo Gold, alongside additional Celo Gold purchases from several other leading institutions spanning the Americas, EMEA, and Asia, during a recently closed round. Over time, there will be many ways to participate in the Celo ecosystem, from contributing to the codebase, to participating in consensus, to using your cell phone to help run the network. With Celo’s platform, anyone with even a simple Android smartphone will be able to participate and earn Celo Gold for decentralized verifications as part of our lightweight identity protocol.

A Deep Dive Into Celo’s Technology

Our team has made considerable progress building the Celo protocol since we came out of stealth last year. To encourage community participation, we’ve made our technical white papers publicly available on our website.

Starting next week, we’ll do regular deep-dives on various aspects of the white papers to solicit feedback and engage in thoughtful conversations within our community. Sign up for our newsletter for more information.

Opportunities to engage this summer

This summer, we’re planning a public testnet release and will also open-source the codebase then. We’re excited to share what we have been working on with the broader community and help strengthen, build, test and nurture where we go from here. We invite everyone interested in working on a new and open monetary system built on a decentralized platform to participate in the testnet and start a conversation about ways to get involved.

Iterating on the product

We’ve also taken significant strides in piloting the technology and understanding user behavior across different markets. While the benefits of the Celo Platform are applicable to all, the initial focus is on helping those who need it most: particularly the 1 in 3 adults who are involuntarily unbanked or underbanked or those who lack access to sound currency. We strongly believe that anyone, regardless of their location or socio-economic status, should have access to basic financial tools for storing and transmitting currency that enables them to make better lives for themselves, their families, and their communities.

Since December, we’ve been running a test of the easy-to-use wallet app in Argentina, where protocol verified users and merchants have been sending and receiving small payments. In addition, to better understand the lives of the unbanked, our team has conducted user research in a variety of contexts around the world. Most recently, we’ve returned from Tanzania where members of the team performed field research in Nyarugusu refugee camp. We continue to collect feedback, perform user testing, and make improvements to the app as the Celo community works towards mainnet launch.

Overview of our research mission in Nyarugusu Refugee Camp in Tanzania

Moving Forward

Today, our focus is on enabling digital payment ecologies for those who don’t have access to them. Doing so can have a variety of follow-on effects; it can allow for easier remittances, easier cash-transfer programs, easier micropayments systems. More generally, by doing so through a platform that is open and open-source, we can help people to create new financial tools for the benefit of all. We are excited by the potentialities and we hope you will join us in this journey.