5/2/2024 - Technology and Innovation

Cardano's Catalyst project

By Alex Pestchanker

Cardano's Catalyst project

Cardano Catalyst Project

How was the Catalyst Project born?

Cardano is a third generation Blockchain and as such its purpose is focused on three pillars: Interoperability, Governance and Scalability.

For the Governance theme, Cardano aims for the Blockchain to be governed 100% by its community, both for its technical evolution, as well as for its purposeful or philosophical evolution.

For this governance to be truly a government of the community, whose people come from anywhere in the world, with different roots, cultures, interests and possibilities, it must be a decentralized governance and this implies that there are mechanisms that generate adequate representation, proposal, validation and ratification of the decisions taken.

In practice, at a global level, there are no government systems that have achieved this at scale and therefore the theories, tools and processes must be tested and iterated based on the results of their actual execution.

On the other hand, Cardano has within its operation a Treasury whose function is to serve as a financing system so that the blockchain can be operated and supported and so that the community can grow, develop and achieve Cardano's purpose of achieving a better world.

This Treasury which, at the time of writing this article, exceeds 1,500 Million ADAs (about $650M USD) and grows permanently with the use of the Blockchain, given that each transaction made on the network pays a fee and a portion of that fee is destined to the Treasury.

The Catalyst project arises as an experiment, led by Cardano's developer, IOG, with two main objectives, the first is to facilitate the use of Treasury resources to encourage and support projects that bring innovation and value and make the Cardano ecosystem grow and the second is to test decentralized governance mechanisms that allow to generate the necessary experience for the 100% decentralized governance of the network, by its community.

Its Purpose

In each meeting of the community that was consolidated around the project, it opens with a kind of Mantra, which serves for all people, new and regulars, to remind us of the purpose of Catalyst and thus be able to evaluate our actions and participation in pursuit of what we are experiencing. This mantra says:

Welcome to the Experiment!

Things can:

  • - Break

  • - Not be well documented

  • - Differ widely between iterations

  • - Disorient, overload and inspire.

Our goal:

To provide a safe and lively environment for you to explore the highest potential of human collaboration.

Reading these words, it is clear that the goal is ambitious and also broad, since it lends itself to test and iterate within it a myriad of possibilities and ideas, hence it can be understood that it is not so simple to explain what it is about in a univocal way, since for each person it may have a very different meaning and purpose.

Of course, this can be somewhat diffuse or even chaotic, but it is undoubtedly inspiring and full of energy.

How it works ( https://projectcatalyst.io )

Catayst works in cycles (or funds) that start on a regular basis and have an approximate duration of 3 months, but do not have a predetermined cadence, since each cycle yields new learning and opportunities for improvement, so that at the end of them are made analysis, feedback is collected and improvements are proposed that, if deemed necessary to incorporate the next cycle, the same will begin when such improvements are ready and tested.

Up to April 2024, 11 cycles (Fund 1 - Fund 11) were carried out, in which more than 7112 projects were submitted, more than 2,470,734 votes were cast, awarding 1,633 proposals as winners, for a total of $79M USD.

These numbers make the Catalyst project the largest decentralized innovation fund in the world.

Facts about Catalyst Fund 11, which ended in March 2024:

  • - In Fund 11, the budget had a total of ₳ 50M (about USD 21.5M), allocated in the following categories:

    • Total available for Project Funding: ₳ 46.5M.

      • Cardano Open: Developers Total Funding ₳11,500,000

      • Cardano Open: Ecosystem Total funding available ₳10,500,000

      • Cardano Use Cases: Concept Total funding ₳7,500,000

      • Cardano Use Cases: Product Total of funds ₳7,500,000

      • Cardano Use Cases: Solution Total funding ₳7,500,000

      • Catalyst Systems Improvements: Discovery Total funding ₳3,000,000

  • - ₳ 3.5M went to compensate community participation in various required roles, such as Proposal Assessor, Milestone Reviewer, Voter, etc.

  • - 920 valid proposals were received.

  • - 307,698 votes were received.

  • - 300 projects won.

How to participate in Catalyst:

Depending on each person's interest, there are different ways and roles that allow participation.

Proposer: This is the person or team that wants to make an idea a reality and proposes a project.

Proposal Advisor: Any person from the community can participate as a PA, having to understand in detail the guidelines and rules of the cycle and seeking to perform this role conscientiously and with the best intention of making the best proposals stand out and those that do not learn and evolve so that they can stand out in future cycles. It is a role that is compensated according to the number of valid evaluations made.

Veteran Proposal Advisor: This is a role that can only be performed by people who have participated as PA in previous cycles and have done so with a good quality (reputation that is accumulated from the validations received from their evaluations as PA). The objective of the role is to validate that the evaluations performed by the APs comply with the rules and are objective and fair; they also resolve the review requests made by the proponents on the evaluations. It is a role that is compensated, based on the number of validations performed.

Milestone Reviewer: This is a role that is also performed by certain individuals who have demonstrated suitability and whose participation record is impeccable. These are the people in charge of receiving the proposal of deliverables, success criteria and evidence that each winning project must present, so that the community can validate the correct execution of the project's commitments. This role not only participates in approving the milestones, but also when the evidence of compliance with each milestone is received, approving them, thus releasing the funds corresponding to each milestone effectively fulfilled.

Voter: Any person who registers to vote, who has at least 500 ADA in their registered wallet. When voting you receive rewards based on the amount of ADA you vote with.

The Catalyst Cycle

Once initiated, the Catalyst Cycle consists of three phases: Innovation, Governance and Execution.

1 - Innovation Phase:

This phase seeks to generate as many ideas as possible with a focus on solving the prioritized challenges, encourage constructive community participation to improve those ideas, and generate synergies between people with similar interests.

This phase has five stages: Insights Exchange, Proposal Submission, Proposal Refinement, Proposal Finalization and Proposal Evaluation.

In phase 1, all the ideas can be made known to the community, so that contributions can be received, possible improvements can be identified, and people with similar ideas can be connected. This phase is done in writing on the proposal site. All comments and responses are made public so that anyone in the community can provide feedback or obtain valuable information on specific topics.

In phase 2, all the people who have decided to move forward with their ideas, transform them into a project through a form with specific sections that allow defining a project according to its Alignment (with the challenge), Impact (towards the ecosystem) and Feasibility (Cost, Objectives, Capabilities).

The community can provide input and comments on the ideas that are registered, even if they are still at an embryonic stage.

In phase 3, the person or persons who registered the proposal refine it so that the proposal is complete, clear and can incorporate the comments or feedback received or rethought by the proposal team.

In phase 4, the details for the final version of the proposal are finalized, since, once this phase is completed, the proposal can no longer be changed.

In phase 5, a group of people from the community who previously volunteered to play the role of Proposal Advisor (PA), analyzes and evaluates each proposal, making a written report on the 3 dimensions explained above (Alignment, Impact and Feasibility) and assigning the proposal a numerical score in each of the dimensions. These evaluations are then confirmed, or not, by a group of people who serve as overseers in the role of Veteran Proposal Advisor (vPA) and who, because of their background in the community, ensure that the evaluations made by the APs comply with the established rules and are as objective and fair as possible. The proposal team also has the possibility of observing evaluations that do not comply with the rules or are not properly justified, so that the vPAs can pay special attention to these cases.

At the end of the Innovation Phase, there is a number of proposals submitted for each challenge, a ranking and evaluation of each proposal and a quality validation that gives confidence to the ranking. This will allow voters to have not only the information of the proposal, but also the opinion of several and diverse people in the community about each individual proposal.

2 - Governance Phase:

In the governance phase, it is defined through the vote, which are the projects that, in the voters' opinion, deserve to receive the funds to be able to be developed.

Voters, previously registered, vote with a voting power equivalent to the amount of ADAs in their wallet at the time the voting "photo" is taken (specific date and time, in a predetermined manner).

Each voter will be able to vote on as many projects as he/she wishes, with each project voted on receiving the total amount of voting power exercised by the voter.

The votes are secret, the data of the voters (their Wallet address) is not published.

Once the voting closing date is reached, the votes are computed and the results are published.

The voted projects are classified in each Category, by ranking according to the number of ADA votes.

This ranking is the one that determines, depending on the funds available for each Challenge, which projects are the winners.

In order for a project to be eligible for funding, the following conditions must be met:

  1. - That the proposal has been approved: It must receive votes for at least 1% of the total voting power registered to vote in the fund.

  2. - That the remaining funds in the Category, according to the ranking of votes obtained by the project, are sufficient to cover the total funds requested (no partial funds are allocated).

For Fund 12 this schedule looks like this:

3 - Execution Phase:

Once the list of winning projects is known and ratified, for each challenge, each proponent is notified of this situation and the onboarding of winning projects is carried out.

This onboarding consists of a detailed record of the project and the person responsible for it and a Proof of Life, which is a video document that is recorded, in order to prove that the person responsible for the project is a real person.

The winning projects receive the funds in monthly payments, which are the result of dividing the total amount allocated by the number of months of the project (which is part of the information that was placed in the voted proposal), plus 1 additional month where a project closure report must be made, sending evidence of the delivery of the commitments and a video as a summary so that the community can know what was done.

Once declared as winners, each project also requires a proposal of project milestones, dates and associated expenses, which must be approved by the milestone reviewers and IOG, in order to make project disbursements based on the progress of delivery of commitments, effectively validated (milestones), validation is done through a POA (Proof of Achievement), a document that is sent once each milestone is reached.

Link: https://bit.ly/Funded-Projects-Guidance (Valid for Fund10)

All these reports, the status and funds of each project, are reported monthly in a public link, so that the community can audit:

In this way, the use of public treasury funds for this purpose can be audited and reviewed by anyone in the community.

Link: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1bfnWFa94Y7Zj0G7dtpo9W1nAYGovJbswipxiHT4UE3g/edit#gid=917336114

What's next.

In April 2024, Fund 12 opened, with several new features:

Cardano Open: Developers, Available funds ₳10,500,000.

Cardano Open: Ecosystem, Funds available ₳5,500,000

Cardano Partners and Real World Integrations, Available funding ₳8,000,000

Cardano Use Cases: Concept,Available Funds ₳7,500,000

Cardano Use Cases: MVP, Available Funds ₳7,500,000

Cardano Use Cases: Product, Available Funds ₳7,500,000

You can find all the Fund12 info at: https: //projectcatalyst.io/funds/12#explorer

What are you waiting for to participate?

New tools, more transparency, more value. So that many more people from all over the world can participate in this unique experiment, which seeks to generate collaboration and governance for a better world!

Do you want to validate this article?

By validating, you are certifying that the published information is correct, helping us fight against misinformation.

Validated by 0 users
Alex Pestchanker

Alex Pestchanker

Total Views: 2