What is Project Catalyst?
Project Catalyst is a series of experiments which seeks to generate the highest levels of community innovation. Catalyst is bringing on-chain governance to the Cardano blockchain by allowing the community to self-determine priorities for growth. It also lets participants deploy funding to proposals which tackle challenges and capitalize on opportunities that arise in the life cycle of Cardano. To do this, Project Catalyst is divided into a series of funds which are deployed every six weeks. These funds will illicit ideas in the form of proposals from participants. Each proposal will focus around a challenge issued by the Project Catalyst team or the Project Catalyst community. The proposals will then go through a community refinement process where they are vetted for feasibility, auditability, and impact by a group of incentivized community advisors. Once the proposals have been finalized they will be voted on by the community and funds will be distributed in the form of ada to winning projects. Each stage of this process is described in greater detail throughout this document.
How can I participate?
Anyone can participate in Project Catalyst. Ada-holders, and those new to Cardano are more than welcome. We are also looking for both technical and non-technical expertise. This is all about casting a wide net to find great ideas and make them better. So, you can take part in Project Catalyst in the following ways:
Propose new ideas
Suggest feedback on other ideas Help refine the idea into a proposal (fill out a structured questionnaire to help improve proposals)
Offer help in implementing proposals through a professional service
Help in problem definition, evaluation or breakdown
Share insights about competitive analysis of other blockchain solutions
Share relevant knowledge in regards to problem-solving
Review finalized proposals to help ada holders make the best decision Provide us feedback on how to improve the process facilitating its efficiency
What will the process look like?
The program consists of five key phases; innovation, governance and execution
Innovation phase
Challenge refinement — Share your perspective on the challenge: facts, anecdotes, examples, opinions, wild ideas. Ideate — Submit initial proposal ideas. Give feedback, follow promising ideas, join forces. Refine — Provide proposers feedback on how they can increase the Impact, Auditability and Feasibility of their idea. Finalize — Turn refined ideas into proposals ready for the vote. Assess — Community advisors review while the community reflects on how to improve proposals and process for their next iteration. Voter discussion — View proposals in the voting app. Discussion is now about which proposals should be funded, and Q&A with proposers, rather than how to improve them further.
Governance phase
Registration - Voting committee published top proposals. Voters register by depositing ada. Voting - Voter vote on proposals using a mobile app Tallying - Voting committee tallies votes and publish the results
Execution phase
Rewarding - Voting committee distributed rewards to voters and to approved proposers Reporting - Approved proposers send progress reports
Why innovate collectively?
In short, because we can achieve more collaboratively than individually. The purpose of collective innovation is to maximize the benefits of our community resources. We believe that working together to derisk and build a decentralized global platform is the key to rapidly addressing arising challenges, opportunities and complexities. Furthermore, by tasking the community with the development and implementation of beneficial ideas through a series of funding cycles, we can achieve significantly more than working on initiatives in a centralized fashion.
What do you mean when you call Project Catalyst an experiment?
Experiments are about trying things out, testing ideas, iterating, improving – and that is exactly what Project Catalyst is all about. Voting, treasuries, and generating global consensus are tricky business and we assume that our initial efforts won’t be perfect. That is why we have chosen to develop on-chain governance through a series of experiments meant to expose flaws, reveal dependencies, and test the system as a whole. With each iteration we will take lessons learned and apply them to the next funding round. The end goal of these experiments is a robust voting, innovation, and treasury system which works for everyone.
If crowdsourcing is better why aren’t all decisions made this way?
One day, they will. Many centralized organizations do not place a high premium on development through community interaction. Furthermore, their limited scope means that a relatively small amount of challenges need to be solved at any given point. Cardano is building a decentralized global financial and social operating system so increasingly, we’ll be looking to our highly motivated community to set direction, create value and address issues.
Is the innovation platform set in stone, or will it change over time?
It will continue to evolve and adapt over time. Given that Project Catalyst is a series of experiments meant to build a global on-chain governance system it will naturally change to become stronger as new ideas emerge. One of the reasons that we are including the community in this work is to ensure that their voice is heard in the final outcome. So yes, the innovation platform will change with each iteration.
Is the voting strictly based on the work done in this paper, "A Treasury System for Cryptocurrencies: Enabling Better Collaborative Intelligence", or have there been changes?
This paper was an important jumping off point for defining how governance works for the treasury. Since then, the Catalyst governance protocol team has worked to generate updated protocol taking into regards community feedback and technical constraints.
What are kudos?
Think of kudos like a reputation score - a measure of how your contribution is valued by the community. Kudos is a method for signaling beneficial behavior in the community which we would like to see more of. This could include a great idea, or a helpful comment. In crowdsourcing projects, once ideas have been generated, they can be turned into a hierarchy. This often pushes ideas which need more incubation out of the public conversation. We are trying to reduce this effect. That is why we are not liking, ranking, or voting up. This allows individuals to take in a large amount of perspectives. This is why we are using Kudos. These are a signal that indicates value given to the community. This could be a great idea or an insightful comment, ultimately it is a way of showing the community what we want to see more of. This helps build the reputation of people who are being helpful. It also helps show support for a proposal, since hovering above the kudos will show the usernames of all supporters.
Why is there an initial challenge refinement phase?
After examining research on collective innovation, the Project Catalyst team has determined that the addition of an ideation phase generates a demonstrably better result. In essence, the ideation phase is a great opportunity to share perspectives on the challenge and set the stage for better ideas in the next stage.
What is the purpose of the innovation phase?
The purpose of the innovation phase is to generate high quality proposals which respond directly to the challenge set out by the fund. At this point, ideas will be pitched on the innovation platform. The community will then offer refinements in the form of feedback.
What is the purpose of the governance phase?
The governance phase will ensure that the best mix of proposals will receive funding.. Governance makes sure that everyone is coloring inside of the lines set out by the fund challenge itself.
What is the purpose of the execution phase?
During the execution phase funding, will be given to teams or individuals working on the project. Implementers will go to work building the idea outlined in the proposal. Regular reports will be required to inform the community about progress and difficulties encountered during the development process. If these reports are not made then funding can be removed from projects which are not bearing fruit.
How do you get funded to become a professional thought leader who helps with ideation?
We have three incentives possible to receive during participation in Project Catalyst These include the voter reward, community advisor reward, and the proposal reward. We believe that the success of these projects means the success of ada in the long term. This means that everyone has skin in the game in some respect.
Is there a cap to how much voting power people have? Isn’t pairing voting power to wealth an oligarchy?
This system is still in its early stages and we will continue to iterate as the platform develops. The community will continually assess this process for fairness, useability and impact. We encourage everyone to provide constructive feedback.
Why is ada given to participants?
A significant proportion of the Cardano community recognizes the impact they can make when working together. We believe in incentivizing participation further through direct payments. Getting involved is satisfying in its own right. To get the best ideas, implementers, and voters we need to make interacting with Project Catalyst valuable. We do that through ada.
What happens to the funds over time?
If experiments go well, the amount of funds under control of the Catalyst process will increase.
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