cLabs engineering and product updates

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cLabs Tech Sync #3

Welcome to the cLabs engineering and product newsletter. This is the scoop on what’s on the minds and keyboards of the cLabs team. The most important part of any open source project is the people, and we hope to foster a little more of that connectedness.

cLabs Hackathon

The cLabs team has had a few hackathons in our history, but it had been a while since our last one so we decided to take a week in between milestones to get building! It was inspiring to see what people could come up within just a few days of coding, and it was great to get some Celo community projects participating as well.

Here’s what we saw:

  • Clippy — an iOS App Clip to enable sending cUSD without Valora using Apple Pay
  • Strio — a Stripe-like API and service to allow online stores to accept cUSD
  • TipBot — a GitHub tip-bot to send cUSD directly to GitHub handles using comments
  • Speedy CLI — start a Celo node in lightest mode to sync instantly and use for cli commands instead of Forno
  • Social Credit Scoring — a microlending system built on top of Celo to enable wider access to credit
  • Citadel — a new style and organization for the Celo documentation
  • Espresso — a short-lived Eth testnet with a few new EIPs included
  • Celo MetaMask Signer — a web application to sign and send Celo transactions with a fork of MetaMask
  • Valora style — some style and animation improvements to the Valora app
  • QRiky Offline Transactions — send transactions with Valora while one device does not have internet access by using QR code
  • Recovery Wallet — a smart contract wallet with added functionality to recover your wallet and grant permissions
  • Gas Market Simulator — simulate gas prices with an auction pricing strategy
  • Attestations as Security Codes — a way to send much shorter text messages to devices wishing to verify on Celo

And to wrap up our demos, we also had a community vote for a few prizes! Here’s what won:

  • Most Useful: QRiky Offline Transactions
  • Most Creative: Clippy iOS App Clip
  • Most Mission Aligned: Social Credit Scoring
  • Best Effort: Celo MetaMask Signer

We’re looking forward to the next one, and to see what pieces of these projects make it into production someday!

Improving Improvements

Getting things done in open-source projects is hard. There are many stakeholders, and it’s difficult to balance pressing ahead and making a change with getting broad buy-in for it.

After joining cLabs as Developer Relations Engineer, one of the first things that Yaz Khoury turned his attention to was improving Celo Improvement Proposals (CIP). Yaz, James Prestwich and Mariano Cortesi drafted up a new process around CIPs that should hopefully make it easier for someone with a great idea to see that idea adopted.

We asked Yaz about the draft: “The main goal of CIP-0000 is to allow anyone to make a proposal to improve the Celo protocol in a way that’s open and transparent and also standardized. While CIP-0000 is just a draft now, I will be hosting a community call to go over the CIP process with the entire community within the next few weeks. There, every Celo community member and stakeholder can join the call and learn more about the CIP process proposal. If rough consensus is reached, we will activate the process together and begin planning for the Celo hard fork!”

Stay tuned for more information about the upcoming call via #governance on Discord and on the Forum.

Did someone say ‘Hard Fork’?!

A number of features are in the works that would affect the rules by which transactions are processed and the contents of new blocks determined. Since all validators and full nodes need to be able to determine which blocks are valid and which aren’t, these kinds of changes require a ‘hard fork’, where a bunch of these ‘breaking changes’ are bundled up and all node operators come to an agreement when and how to start using the new rules.

This will be Celo’s first hard fork. It’s likely to include changes to the format of block headers to pave the way for Plumo (the protocol for instantly syncing light clients), as well as new precompiles for crypto operations on the BLS12–381 and BLS12–377 curves will enable future cross-chain bridging solutions. Work we highlighted in the last newsletter to make the uptime measurement lookback window governable would also require a hard fork.

While this is probably a couple of months out, keep an eye on #governance on Discord for further developments and to have your say in the process.

Meet the team! Barbara Liau

We’re going to introduce you to one member of the team in each newsletter. In this edition, Barbara Liau, who leads cLabs’ newly formed Developer Experience circle. The team will be focusing on creating tools and resources to support the community building on Celo. In her own words:

“I became a cLabber a couple months ago when Summa, the company I co-founded, decided to join the cLabs team. We all connected strongly with the mission, vision, and values of Celo and cLabs. As a child of immigrants and having lived in Asia, I saw first-hand the difficulty of sending funds internationally and how financial inclusion is important for building thriving communities and a true global economy. Seeing blockchain technology actually being used for real-world applications is incredibly exciting.

At Summa, I oversaw client-side development and enjoyed working with lots of different projects and codebases. I could see the need for a supportive developer community and good documentation; the better the docs, the better the dev experience. As the developer experience team and I work towards building out our documentation, tutorials, and guides, I hope you’ll join us on Discord, Github, and other channels to be part of the conversation! I’m looking forward to working with the Celo developer community.

I’m based out of Utah and enjoy skiing in the winter ⛷, hiking in the summer 🥾, and hanging out with my dog Ulrich all year-round 🐶.”

Get involved

If you’re interested in following the progress more closely, please take a look at the celo-org Github projects, consider joining the Celo Discord server, and if you’d like to contribute to the Celo ecosystem, please don’t hesitate to reach out!

Happy building and operating!

Tim

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Building financial technology to enable prosperity of all beings. cLabs started Celo in 2018 and is one of many contributors to the open source project.