Cardano Project Catalyst Fund 10 and beyond

Project Catalyst Fund 10 launched in June 2023. While earlier rounds of the experiment brought incremental changes with each round, the long pause between Funds 9 and 10 allowed deep thinking and big changes. The aims of these changes are to increase accountability, to fix flawed incentives, and to add more transparency and community control.

More Accountability

Prior to fund 9, it was challenging to audit funded teams and verify they were delivering on intentions. This is because all teams had to do was prove they were humans, then fill out a google form. These forms were often not checked by a human; just submitting the form resulted in the release of funds. Fund 9 launched a pilot change for one cohort of funded projects: the so-called milestone-based reporting system required funded projects to submit specific milestone declarations.hen, members of the community checked every form submission to validate that what was being delivered was what the community funded. This made a night and day difference in accountability. In Fund 10, milestone declaration is no longer a pilot: every funded proposal is required to submit a milestone plan. 1.2% of the fund or ₳600,000 is being used to expand the incentivized cohort of the community that will be looking at milestones to validate proposal progress before funds are released.

Addressing Flawed Incentives

Prior to fund 10 here were some of the incentives for different participants:

  • Over 10% the total budget were given to voters
  • A single reviewer had no cap in what they could earn(resulting in review farming)
  • Single reviewers were given more ada if proposals they reviewed were funded
  • Moderators had no cap on how much they can earn
  • Proposers could flag reviews.Even a 3 or 4 star review got flagged if it was the only thing standing between a proposal and 5 star average.

In Fund 10, the entire incentive scheme for reviews, moderation and voting have been changed. Voter rewards are only 2.5% of the fund budget in fund 10. There are caps on how much you can earn reviewing and moderating. Moderation will be straightforwardly checking for bots and copy-pasta reviews. Unlike previous cohorts, they will no longer be checking to see if a reviewer follows the review guidelines. Reviews as of fund 10 are largely meant to be community opinions. As such, every opinion, as long as it is not malicious, is valid. For a full list of changes to fund 10 parameters, see Fund 10 Parameters.

Transparency and community control One of the aims of the long break between Fund 9 and Fund 10 was to release new systems to address UI/UX challenges from the previous rounds. The team had an ambitious roadmap to ditch the QR codes, mobile voting apps that are not connected to your cardano wallet, and spreadsheets as primary interfaces. While they made a lot of effort, it became clear they needed more time to correctly test the new systems. The last thing we want is to create a new challenge of recovering from a bad first impression. Also, Catalyst’s primary function is to fund and help sustain Cardano’s innovation. We needed to start a new fund regardless.

The plan is to release the new system in a series of test environments and give the community and tool makers like Lido Nation a chance to stress test and take the system for a spin. If it can provide quality assurance and receive community acceptance, then it will be used as the production system for running Fund 11. The big milestones we will achieve with the new systems are: Verifying votes: votes are secret but the system will allow anyone with a little bit of computer skills to verify that the results were not tempered with using cryptography. Users will be able to vote with a web app using their browser-connected wallets; no more qr codes and PIN. Toolmakers such as Lido Nation will be able to build alternative voting experiences and submit votes as well as have access to all of the data generated by Project Catalyst -minus personal identifiable information.

These are all things the community has been asking for! It’s exciting to see them finally happening.

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