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Celo — the Cryptocurrency Made for Mobile

Image by FunkyFocus from Pixabay

The Celo Foundation is a non-profit organization based in the US that supports the growth and development of the open-source Celo Platform. Guided by the Celo community tenets, the Foundation contributes to education, technical research, environmental health, community engagement, and ecosystem outreach — activities that support and encourage an inclusive financial system that creates the conditions for prosperity for everyone.

Celo is a mobile-first platform that makes financial dApps and crypto payments accessible to anyone with a mobile phone. It aims to break down barriers by bringing the powerful benefits of DeFi to the users of the 6 billion smartphones in circulation today.

Celo’s Mission

The company’s mission is to build a financial system that creates the conditions of prosperity for everyone. Celo enables native and non-native digital assets–both cryptographic and Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs)–to circulate freely across devices, carriers, and countries. This makes money mobile, global and accessible like never before. Celo is supported by a community of organizations and individuals, including Jack Dorsey, a16z, and Deutsche Telekom.

Celo Ecosystem

An Ethereum-compatible technology capable of reaching global users at scale, Celo turns crypto into usable money with a multi-asset system: a governance and staking asset (CELO) and a family of stablecoins. Since the launch of Mainnet in 2020, Celo’s network now supports 1000+ projects from builders, developers, and artists, who everyday create new applications and issue digital currencies from over 100 countries around the world.

Why Celo?

Celo is mobile, open, and real

Celo was designed to enable a new universe of financial solutions accessible for mobile users and takes a mobile-first approach that provides the opportunity to positively impact 6B+ smartphone owners globally, creating a global financial ecosystem where an end-user can onboard into the Celo ecosystem with just a mobile number.

Celo’s technology innovations allow it to truly work across devices, carriers, and countries. Celo uses a novel Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus protocol and a hyper-efficient light client. With its interoperability, cross-chain compatibility, and vision for currency inclusivity, Celo enables digital assets to circulate at extremely low costs and high speeds across devices, carriers, and countries, making money mobile, global and accessible like never before. Celo is supported by a mission-aligned network of technologists and international organizations committed to building an inclusive financial system that creates the conditions for prosperity—for everyone.


Celo’s mobile-first approach to user-first decentralized finance (DeFi) means everyone has equal access to powerful financial tools and services — no matter who they are or where they live — creating convenient, financial opportunities for anyone who is online and on their mobile phones.

User-first with phone number PKI

Mobile phone number mapping to account addresses for a seamless user experience on platform-native dApps, like impactMarket or Valora.

Ultra-accessible with Ultralight Mobile Client

The ultralight client is a zk-SNARK based system that allows mobile and resource constrained nodes on the Celo network to sync to the Celo blockchain faster and with less data. It accomplishes this by using zero-knowledge proofs, which allow the quick verification of the chain syncing computation without having to run it locally.

Industry-leading blockchain sync speeds with Plumo

Plumo will allow Celo to sync 1 million times faster than other blockchains.


With its interoperability, full EVM compatibility, and vision for currency inclusivity, Celo’s open-source infrastructure now supports 1000+ projects from builders, developers, and even artists, who every day create new applications and issue digital currencies from 100+ countries around the world.

Interoperable with Optics

The Optics standard will allow Celo to facilitate transactions between other smart contract enabled layer 1 blockchains like Ethereum, Cosmos, Solana, and Near, meaning Celo’s ecosystem of developers can connect the people, services, and technologies that allow everyone to benefit from a more open and connected blockchain ecosystem.

On-chain governance with CELO

Celo is turning crypto into usable money with a multi-asset system: a growing family of native and wrapped stablecoins and CELO, the native governance and staking asset (CELO) that allows anyone to help shape the future of Celo.

Sustainable with staking

Celo’s Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus mechanism and automatic daily carbon offsets make Celo the world’s first carbon-negative blockchain, offsetting over 2,285 tons of carbon to-date.


Using the power of mobile-first DeFi to solve real problems for real people, Celo has made blockchain’s vision for a globally accessible decentralized financial system a reality. With Celo’s reliable 5 second block times, low gas fees payable in stablecoins, and decentralized phone verification protocol, it’s no wonder companies and organizations like Deutsche Telekom, Opera, and the Grameen Foundation are working with the Celo ecosystem to drive adoption of Celo’s technology in the real world.


Upon Mainnet release, there will be 600 million CELO allocated with an additional 400 million coming into existence via epoch rewards (please see here for more technical details). We see the anticipated total CELO Breakdown (1 billion) consisting of 6 primary buckets, with approximated amounts as follows: pre-launch sales purchasers (~12.5%), protocol contributors (~18.5%), staking & validator rewards, excluding on-chain community fund (~30%), community grants including on-chain community fund (~19.5%), operational grants (7.5%), and initial reserve (12%). An estimated month-by-month breakdown from mainnet release through 2050 are broken down in this model (see here). (Similar to the below table, these amounts lay out anticipated and best estimated projected allocations.)

$CELO Estimated Allocation through 2050

Per the model, the estimated circulating supply within the first month is approximately 29.5 million and after 12 months it is approximately 184 million. The total amount of CELO allocated in March 2050 is estimated at 926 million instead of 1 billion due to ongoing Epoch rewards. The target curve of remaining epoch rewards declines linearly over 15 years to 50% of the initial 400 million CELO, then decays exponentially (details here). Of this, 300 million is currently allocated to staking & validator rewards and 100 million is allocated within the community grants bucket (including 2 million CELO for a carbon neutral fund). The remaining allocation to community grants consists of funds going towards the Polychain Ecosystem Fund, in-market education and adoption grants, strategic development initiatives, and other community grants with allocation schedules ranging from 3 to 10 years. 75 million CELO is currently allocated for operational grants over the first 10 years to support network growth.

$CELO Estimated Allocation Table

*Assumes no change in the reserve, currently a 1:2 ratio between CELO and total digital assets in the reserve

The CELO purchaser category includes two separate and limited pre-Mainnet release sales as well as upcoming CoinList sales (restrictions apply) where up to 30 million CELO will be available, with up to 13.5m CELO in the first one taking place on May 11 (updated on April 29, 2020). The valuation for the initial sale is estimated at ~$0.18 with distributions scheduled to occur in 24 monthly increments, with the potential to delay any one distribution up to a year, but with a requirement that all amounts will be distributed by the end of year 5. The valuation for the second sale is $1.00, with 25% discounts for purchasers agreeing to an additional 3-year lock-up beyond the initial 1-year lock-up and/or forgoing the return of reserve funds in the event the mainnet release did not occur. For reference, all CELO units sold in 2019 were either sold at the USD $1.00 or $0.75 levels. No CELO has been sold to date (as of March 12, 2020) in 2020.

The circulating supply over time without and with the reserve (120 million) are summarized in columns I and J of the model, respectively. While the reserve will affect supply and demand for CELO to support the stability protocol, the total reserve is not counted toward calculating the expected market cap per the definition above.


Celo has raised a total of $66.5M in funding over 6 rounds. Their latest funding was raised on Apr 20, 2021 from a Venture — Series Unknown round. The project is funded by 30 investors. DTCP and Andreessen Horowitz are the most recent investors. Celo has acquired Summa on Aug 13, 2020.

Celo Investors / Backers



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