Blog > Authors > Kriss Baird

Project Catalyst, Cardano’s innovation engine, launches Fund8!

Project Catalyst is a turbo-charged engine for Cardano, accelerating the ecosystem’s growth and making dreams come true

2 March 2022 Kriss Baird 4 mins read

Project Catalyst, Cardano’s innovation engine, launches Fund8!

Every three months, a new Project Catalyst innovation fund campaign begins with the opportunity to receive resources paid in ada from the Cardano Treasury. Valuable resources to build, create, and contribute to realize great ideas worthy of funding.

In little over a year, what began as an experiment in collaboration, competition, and elevating human potential has become the world’s largest decentralized innovation fund. The latest iteration, Fund8, will control $16m in ada, check out the Fund8 Launch Guide.

A global community comes together to propose, evaluate, and ultimately decide which proposal submissions should be funded. Everything including new decentralized finance (DeFi) applications to address financial inclusion inequalities. Or RealFi, which creates an ecosystem of products that remove the frictions of real world economic activities and that provide cheaper credit/ financial products for real people. The collective manufacturing project owned by African entrepreneurs and workers, for example.

Project milestones

Over the past seven Catalyst funds, each and every cycle has delivered new, incredible milestones. Before we look forward to what is in store for Fund8, let’s observe the achievements that have just come to pass during our last round.

In Fund7, once votes were counted and tallied, 269 new proposals were chosen to receive ada. A staggering amount given that each of these projects was in response to 24 real-world challenges proposed by the Cardano community and one further challenge set by Cardano’s first Catalyst Native pioneer, COTI. Catalyst Natives is Cardano’s new initiative to provide decentralized innovation fund management to partners looking to grow their ecosystem by incentivising innovators to help build solutions to challenges that Catalyst Native partners set.

More that 52,500 wallets registered to vote and community advisors participated in reviewing more than 900 proposals this time around to help inform voters’ decisions.

In a very short period of time, the number of proposals being funded from the Cardano Treasury has nearly doubled to 575 projects. Crucially, we have now seen over 1 million votes cast since the first Project Catalyst community vote in Fund2.

At the time of writing, the Cardano Treasury holds approximately 800m ada to sustain and grow the ecosystem. Many projects funded in previous rounds have now completed and are demonstrating their outcomes.

As the project rotates to the new fund campaign, another inspiring milestone has been reached. Every single challenge in Fund8 has been set and decided by the Catalyst community. The goal? To accelerate the developer and DApp ecosystem within Cardano’s open source framework. 23 challenges span across themes such as Cardano Ecosystem Foundations & Development, Community Development, Outreach & Adoption, Identity & Interoperability, and Project Catalyst Improvements.

2022 is set to eclipse the achievements of the last 12 months, with innovations and projects being propelled forward by people just like you, reading this blog today. Have an idea? Why not apply?

How to get involved?

On Thursday 24th February 2022, proposal submissions opened. Proposers were originally given one week to submit a draft proposal, and two additional weeks to refine and finalize submissions. This draft submission deadline has now been lifted, there is no longer a draft deadline, and instead we will be accepting proposal submissions up until 11am UTC on March 17th.

There are many ways to get involved with Project Catalyst. As an innovator, voter, commenter, proposal reviewer, or even a mentor. The first step is making an account on our collaboration platform. Another way is to come join the Project Catalyst community every Wednesday at TownHall which is live streamed on our YouTube Channel. If you have an idea, or are just curious to explore what’s going on at the heart of Cardano, join us and become part of the Project Catalyst Community.

To learn more about Project Catalyst, or to take part and answer challenges posted by others through Project Catalyst, please subscribe to the Catalyst mailing list and join our Telegram community, where we’d be delighted to welcome you.

Project Catalyst Fund6 – our biggest, boldest & best Cardano community innovation fund yet

Our exciting experiment continues with new challenges, new features and a $4m fund

13 August 2021 Kriss Baird 3 mins read

Project Catalyst Fund6 – our biggest, boldest & best Cardano community innovation fund yet

This week, we launched Project Catalyst Fund6, with $4m worth of ada available. Proposers can submit proposals for projects that received funding to address real-world challenges and help to build Cardano’s ecosystem.

Fund6 is our most ambitious fund yet, with more funding being distributed in Fund6 than in all the previous funds combined. For Fund6, we expect around 150 new projects to be voted into existence by the community. There is also $40k worth of ada to be rewarded for proposal referrals.

18 challenges are available for proposers to respond to and the community votes on which projects receive funding, including 10 community-set challenges, where members of the community have defined the challenges to be addressed.

In addition:

Development upgrades to Catalyst protocol and tech

Fund6 features new significant upgrades to the Catalyst infrastructure including changes to reward incentives and a significant upgrade to the overall voting experience in the application. This makes it more equitable and attractive for community advisors as well as veteran community advisors to help assess the quality of proposals.

Voters also have the opportunity to participate using their Ledger and Trezor hardware wallets across Daedalus, Yoroi, and Adalite.

Fund6 also sees the introduction of voting privacy so voters can take part with the feeling of complete confidence that their votes have tallied as expected and that they are private.

Funded proposals can also benefit from an invitation to join our successful Plutus Pioneer training program, where participants can learn how to implement Plutus smart contracts into their application.

Fund5 key stats

  • ±33 thousand wallets, ±31k IdeaScale members, + more than 150 projects funded to date!
  • Total CA reviews submitted: ±3500
  • Total proposals submitted: 930
  • Total funds allocated: $3,875,000
  • Insight shares: 1,100
  • Total votes cast: ±611,000
  • Grassroots community thriving
  • Still civil & constructive discourse even while in the middle of huge growth.

Key dates:

  • 11 August 2021: Fund6 launched at Town Hall with a Charles Hoskinson keynote presentation
  • 12 August 2021: Innovation phases begin: Insight sharing – to share perspectives on challenges
  • 19 August 2021: Proposal submission opens: 1 week for proposers to submit draft ideas to IdeaScale
  • 26 August 2021: Refine ideas: Community provides structured feedback and Proposers edit proposals
  • 9 September 2021: Deadline to finalize proposals and register community advisors for the assessment stage
  • 7 October 2021: Fund6 voting begins
  • 1st week of November: Fund6 winners announced

Project Catalyst holds weekly Town Halls for the community to learn more about the fund, ask questions, and test out project ideas in the after-Town Hall breakout rooms.

You can register for Town Hall meetings here, join the announcements Telegram or subscribe to the mailing list.

Introducing the Catalyst Circle

The world’s largest decentralized innovation fund continues to evolve its governance and leadership model

8 July 2021 Kriss Baird 4 mins read

Introducing the Catalyst Circle

Project Catalyst has progressed at an incredible rate, doubling in almost every dimension from fund to fund since its launch. By any metric – from numbers of votes cast, funding available, or simply participants in our innovation processes – Catalyst is emerging as an invaluable fulcrum for Cardano’s future growth. Now, at the end of Fund 4, Project Catalyst has already proven to be a powerful experiment in collaboration and decentralized innovation.

With this explosive growth come unique challenges. Project Catalyst has a growing number of commitments to increasingly diverse functional groups of people who contribute to this step-change in collective intelligence. Specifically, community advisors, funded-proposers, stake pool operators (SPOs), and toolmakers & maintainers, all of whom contribute to the success and growth of Project Catalyst, and the success of Cardano itself.

Bringing more value

This increased diversification brings additional value to Project Catalyst, since it enables the formulation of ever more ideas and proposals. Equally, it will make communication among all these groups harder. Every cohort will need their voice to be heard, and their ideas and concerns discussed at project level.

Simply put, these groups need representation and trusted leadership acting on their behalf. If such representation is lacking, or missing altogether, the impact of Project Catalyst would be greatly diminished. This is why we're introducing the Catalyst Circle.

What is the Catalyst Circle?

The Catalyst Circle is a “human sensor array” acting as the representative body for all the different groups participating in Project Catalyst. The Circle that monitors the current state and future plans regarding governance in Catalyst. It detects and discusses concerns, objections and opportunities arising within the Catalyst ecosystem. The Circle might discuss, for example, the definition of amounts allocated to challenges Fund over Fund; changes or conditions to incentive parameters; the Catalyst API, etc.

By recording meetings and capturing actions in a backlog accessible to all, this activity will provide a view into the hopes, wants, needs, and concerns of the community within Project Catalyst. The Circle is also responsible for determining its own future shape and defining the election processes for Circle v2.

The Circle exists to fulfill four key goals:

  • To facilitate communication between the different functional groups
  • To provide a heads-up when red lines are crossed within a certain group
  • To suggest improvements on plans and processes that shape Project Catalyst
  • To define the election process for Circle V2

Member duties and responsibilities

Like Project Catalyst itself, the Circle will also evolve over time. Initially, elected members will serve 3-month terms, and elections will follow to continue improving and iterating the process. For elected members, we have identified these initial duties and responsibilities.

Each member of the Circle should:

  • Represent the community that selected them
  • Exercise their own best judgement about matters that come before the Circle
  • Familiarise other members with the projects, activities, aims, hopes, and concerns of their communities
  • Periodically take the opportunity to introduce policy proposals into the Circle’s agenda for consideration
  • Inform their communities about initiatives of the Circle

Each member also has the responsibility to:

  • Regularly attend meetings every two weeks
  • Maintain an agile backlog list to track issues between meetings
  • Review and comment on agenda issues ahead of time
  • Maintain awareness of the interests and concerns of their community
  • Disseminate the Circle’s outputs transparently and accessibly
  • Learn and practice effective meeting procedures
  • Produce an election protocol document for the next elections
  • Attend training sessions focused on inclusive and lean startup leadership techniques
  • Provide feedback on the effectiveness of the Circle

Leading and adapting

We have just held the first election for Catalyst Circle members in both Western & Eastern hemispheres, to include community members who couldn’t attend the regular weekly Town Hall. Members will be able to set each meeting’s agenda and periodically introduce policy proposals into the Catalyst Circle for consideration. The ‘minimal functional group’ is the bootstrapping version, based on consultations with leaders within the Catalyst community and Governance Alive, an expert group in the field of novel governance structures.

As trusted best practice is established, the Circle might grow and divide. Maybe the future has many ‘Circles’? Ultimately, it will be up to members to advance our goal to legitimise decentralized governance, paving the way for an alternative to the status quo, and continuing to break new ground in building the future of blockchain governance.

The Project Catalyst weekly Town Hall takes place each Wednesday at 18:00 UTC. Everyone is welcome to join. To learn more and get involved, be sure to join the Project Catalyst innovation community and its dedicated Telegram channel.