- Project Catalyst has commenced community voting.
- Fund 11 boasts new features, categories, and strategies.
- The Head of Product at Project Catalyst explains their new strategy and challenges.
Project Catalyst, Cardano’s driving force behind grassroots innovations and growth, is back again with the latest edition, Fund 11.
After concluding its largest funding round to date, following intense months of proposals, submissions, and voting, the latest edition brings new features, categories, and a different way of doing things. Here’s what’s changed.
Project Catalyst Prepares for Community Voting
Project Catalyst is gearing up to onboard the next cohort of innovative projects and initiatives on Cardano. Launched soon after the Cardano Summit in Dubai on November 15, 2023, the grant commenced community voting on January 25, 12:00 UTC.
Users have until February 8 to vote on over 900 proposals spanning six categories, each addressing different aspects of Cardano and community development. Like Fund 10, Fund 11 will also disburse 50 million ADA to deserving projects.
Project Catalyst received around 1400 proposals across 13 challenges in the last funding round. However, this year’s submissions have declined by 35%, attributed to its new strategy, which features half the categories compared to the previous year.
Kriss Baird, Head of Product at Project Catalyst, spoke to DailyCoin about the new strategy and streamlining the overall funding process.
Project Catalyst’s Overhaul of Voting and Proposals
Fund 10 had its fair share of controversy and challenges, including a 13% approval rate, Whale influence, and lack of diversity in applicants. Although risk rating protocol Xerberus has cleared up most speculations, including those of Cardano whales conspiring to manipulate the voting outcome, the new Fund comes with major changes.
Kriss Baird told DailyCoin that Fund 10 was a watershed and a milestone moment for the Catalyst team in many ways.
So, one of the crucial changes Fund 11 is making is removing downvoting, aiming to diminish the impact of wallets using their influence to jeopardize a project’s chances of funding, thus preserving Catalyst’s democratic ideals. Baird explained,
“I think we’re at a period of Catalyst’s lifecycle where there’s still room for experimentation. So, there has been a yes or no vote for all funds. The idea here is yes, it gives people an opportunity to express their views as to whether they want something funded or not, but maybe the perception for many people who are trying to participate in the process is one that when there are downvotes, it’s supposed to be quite damaging," Baird explained.
"I wouldn't want anyone to feel like their ideas just don't have a place in Catalyst. I think the community also feels like some voters or groups of voters take strategies to downvote many different ideas. And again, it just doesn't create a collaborative and conducive environment for innovation to flourish.”
Previously, 63% of the 50 million ADA of Fund 10 ended up with only ten teams, with community members labeling them as the de facto gatekeepers of Cardano. Addressing the lack of diversity, Fund 11 looks to solve that by limiting the number of proposals to a maximum of five and excluding open proposal forms from Fund 7 participants. Fund 11 also introduced several minor changes, which can be detailed on their website.
Project Catalyst on Streamlining Processes and Categories
In tandem with the new changes, Fund 11 adopts a different category approach that is more accessible for builders and voters. Speaking to DailyCoin, Baird detailed Catalyst’s shift from introducing new challenges every fund to embracing a more streamlined, recursive approach with unique categories tailored to address a broader set of challenges.
“The first change to Fund 11 is that there’s a more consolidated streamline, not a number of challenges but just persistent recursive categories.” Baird added.
Addressing the implications the streamlined process will have on voters, Baird continued:
“It [Fund 11] should make it easier for voters to understand and where to spend time and effort, not needing to understand the nuance of all these different challenges that change from one fund to the next.”
Here’s a quick rundown of categories Fund 11 is looking to allocate funds to:
- Creative open-source ideas that improve the Cardano developer experience.
- Community initiatives focused on driving ecosystem growth.
- Proposals looking to introduce improvements to Project Catalyst.
- Teams looking to enhance existing products and services in the Cardano ecosystem.
- Kickstarting innovative Cardano Dapps concepts.
- Solutions with Minimum viable product (MVP) stage of readiness.
With the new categories, Fund 11 aims to address the frictions observed in Fund 10, despite the latter being hailed as one of the most successful funding rounds in Cardano history. It looks to shake up how users vote and how builders propose their projects.
Project Catalyst Speaks on the Future, Experimenting, and Challenges
Kriss Baird told DailyCoin that his team feels more comfortable and in control despite facing challenges in Fund 10. In his words,
“The Cardano community is the most passionate community in Blockchain. We want to create the conditions that allow for more people to come into this community, more great ideas, more great innovators.
Baird further highlighted the challenges of running Project Catalyst, claiming:
“With Catalyst, it's important to recognize that running a decentralized innovation platform as such is not an easy job. We can't be everything to every single person. There are also many different opinions on how to operate Catalyst. So, you know, that's not lost on us. But with the mandate that we have received from the community supporting our proposals to be the fund administrator and operator in the front end, the Catalyst team knows that we are confident that we can make changes with the authority now. With that said, we're not here to totally change the face of Catalyst, but we're here to make improvements.”
Addressing the challenges that Project Catalyst faces, Kriss Baird told DailyCoin:
“The biggest challenge we've got facing us is how to make sure that we deliver real-world impact and that it's not just projects that develop some early-stage prototypes, but that they become businesses. So the way to maybe address that is we need to start threading the needle and bringing in other financiers to help create follow-on funding pathways for the start-ups and the businesses and the enterprises and the applications and the developers participating in Catalyst. So my objective over the next 6 to 12 months is to bring in the incubators and the accelerators and the angel funders and the seed investors to have them start taking a look into the portfolio of projects and see what's really under the hood of cuts and what's being funded by Catalyst.”
With over 132 million ADA requests and only 50 million ADAs up for grabs, the community will decide who gets what in the following weeks.
On the Flipside
- Project Catalyst has distributed over $54 million in funding so far.
- The last three funding rounds had over 1,000 proposals.
Why This Matters
Project Catalyst is the world’s largest decentralized grant fund, renowned for driving adoption in the Cardano ecosystem. The new strategy will bring exciting opportunities and solutions and set a precedent for the grant’s operation.
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