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Celo Foundation Voting Policy

How the Celo Foundation anticipates allocating its votes to validator groups, with special attention to the first allocated groups at the Celo Mainnet release and the months thereafter.


The policy described here can change at any time as determined by the Foundation Board.

Policy Objectives

The Foundation voting policy aims to:

  • Be fair by avoiding preferential treatment to certain groups;
  • Vote in-line with the Foundation’s purpose, which is to encourage financial inclusion and prosperity for all;
  • Encourage professional, secure, and reliable validators;
  • Be equal opportunity by enabling new groups to have validators elected; and
  • Promote network stability by encouraging a gradual turnover in elected validators instead of abrupt election changes


Every 4 months, the Foundation, through its Board, will distribute a portion of its total available votes to a cohort of validator groups. These validators must meet certain basic standards (details below) and alignment with the Foundation’s purpose. The total number of validator groups in a cohort can vary.

Validator groups who will be selected for a cohort (and will thus receive a portion of the Foundation’s votes) will be informed by the following (non-exhaustive) considerations:

  1. The number of elected validators in earlier cohorts;
  2. Network stability;
  3. CELO governance participation (e.g., how many CELO holders are actively participating in voting); and
  4. The quality of validator group applicants

Each validator group selected in the cohort will receive a portion of the Foundation votes for a period of 12 months. During this period, so long as a validator in the group is not slashed or otherwise engages in misbehavior, the validator group will continue to receive these votes. If the validator group is slashed or engages in misbehavior, however, the votes for that validator group will be withdrawn for the remainder of the period. If the validator group is slashed, it may reapply to the Foundation after a 6 month period. In addition, the Foundation may also withdraw its votes if the validator group or the validators in the group fail to meet other standards, including running an attestation service.

Eligibility Criteria

Network Criteria

To support effective and responsible validators, the Foundation considers the following, main criteria for network performance, which must be met by all applicants who receive Foundation votes.

  • Zero Slashing Incidents. The validator members of any applying group must not have been slashed within the last 6 months of application. (Note, there are a variety of reasons for slashing, including downtime, security issues, etc. At the outset, and because groups can re-apply at 6 months and 1 day of the slashing, all slashing will be considered equal at this stage)

  • Attestation Performance. Ability and commitment to running attestation services with high completion rates.

  • Uptime Performance. High performance uptime score over the past 30 days on Mainnet (or Baklava if not elected on Mainnet)

Note: If you are NOT ELECTED on Mainnet, you must be validating on Baklava testnet for at least 30 days. If you are ELECTED you must run validators and attestation service for at least one month (30 days) on Mainnet. If you are ELECTED on mainnet but for less than 30 days, you must be validating on Baklava for 30 days at least.

Supporting Criteria

On top of the main criteria outlined in the previous example, the Foundation considers the following, supporting criteria, which must be met by all applicants who receive Foundation votes:

  • Audit Checklist and Self Reporting. As part of the application process, the Foundation will publish a list of recommended validator settings. The members of every group applying will self attest to complying with the recommended checklist.

  • Education. An effective validator must be secure. Applicants’ members will take an education course. The course must be completed annually.

  • Basic Diligence. Because the Foundation holds a substantial number of votes, and its voting may determine whether a validator is elected, the Foundation will conduct a basic diligence process for voted groups. The diligence would include name, location, entity information. This diligence would occur on an annual basis for any group receiving votes.

Additional Criteria

In addition to meeting the main and supporting criteria, outlined above, the Foundation anticipates prioritizing validator groups who are mission aligned and/or will provide greater network resilience. These criteria may include:

  • The geographical location of the validator group

  • Non-profit organizations

  • Organizations who commit to donating a percentage of rewards to non-profit organizations

  • The likelihood of the validator group having substantial network support from other voters

This criteria assumes the validators perform well in the main and supporting criteria. It is used as an additional way to evaluate validator applicants assuming there’s a limited number of seats in a cohort and that the validators being evaluated all performed well in network performance as outlined in the main criteria.


The following new deadlines will be established for the next 3 cohorts as fixed dates. Each cohort will last 12 months, there’s a 4 months gap between each cohort.

  • Cohort 11: November 1 new date for voting in

  • Cohort 12: March 1 new date for voting in

  • Cohort 13: July 1 new date for voting in

For each cohort, the deadline to apply/be evaluated (if you are reapplying) is exactly 1 month prior to the date of being voted in. So for Cohort 8, it’ll be October 1 for the deadline, etc.

New Applicants

Application Prerequisites

Before applying all validator group members should have:

Application Details

Before applying be ready to share the following:

  • A personal statement telling the Foundation why your group should get votes (max 1,500 characters)

  • Validator Group details: email, name, website, address on Mainnet and Baklava, and geographic location

  • Information about your team: full names, link to professional profiles such as LinkedIn or GitHub, and an explanation of the team’s relevant experience

  • Whether your Group:

    • Is validating or has validated in the past 1 month on the Baklava Testnet (Need to provide validator group address and validator address on Baklava)
    • Has been slashed in the past 6 months and if so why (for reapplicants)
    • Members have all completed the online training (see prerequisites)
    • Members have all completed the self-audit (see prerequisites)
  • Optional:

    • The list of contributions made to the Celo ecosystem
    • Date, audit firm name, and report of your last security audit if your Group has been audited by an external firm in the past 12 months


If you’re part of an existing cohort with expiring votes and interested in reapplying, the re-application process is much more simpler as an existing cohort.

You will receive an email from Celo Foundation asking you if you are interested in reapplying for the new Cohort.

At the application deadline date for new applicants, your validator group will be evaluated on Performance Score and Attestation Score. If you score above the Foundation’s threshold, you will be considered for the new cohort along with the new applicants reapplying, limited by seat availability in that cohort. If you don’t make the new cohort, you are invited to reapply for the next cohort application.

Cohort Information

Past Foundation votes recipients:

Currently receiving Foundation votes:

  • Cohort 10: 24 validator groups -- votes will expire on July 1, 2023
  • Cohort 11: 24 validator groups -- votes will expire on November 1, 2023
  • Cohort 12: 5 validator groups -- votes will expire on March 1, 2024

Coming soon:

  • Cohort 13: 24 validator groups -- votes will expire on July 1, 2024

If you would like to keep up-to-date with all the news happening in the Celo community, including validation, node operation and governance, please sign up to our Celo Signal mailing list here.

You can add the Celo Signal public calendar as well which has relevant dates.