Project Catalyst:  A review

Summary

All time combined rating

4.3 / 5
Average rating

All time combined reviews

8
Total reviews
5 Star
75%
3 Star
12%
1 Star
12%

All time ratings breakdown

Feasibility

5 / 5
2 Reviews

Impact

5 / 5
2 Reviews

Auditability

3 / 5
2 Reviews

Roadmap

3 / 5
1 Reviews

Team

5 / 5
1 Reviews
This review is provided free of charge and with no input from project teams. This review is not an endorsement; our goal is to provide an unbiased review, and a platform for ongoing conversation. Your participation, feedback, and corrections are welcomed in the comments sections below.

What if your city said you get to decide what the city needs? That you get to set the budget and select contractors to fill those needs?

Would this excite you? Give you a sense of purpose? What if you and your neighbors were paid for participating?

In the Cardano community there is a sum of money, currently valued at 1 billion USD, that is being used to experiment with these “what ifs”.

The name of the experiment is Project Catalyst. Every few weeks, Project Catalyst makes a certain amount of money (ADA) available to entrepreneurs, builders, and tool makers in the Cardano ecosystem. These community members propose solutions to difficult problems, and everyone is invited to vote for the best ideas to receive funding. The experiment has had 5 successful iterations. The first round didn’t actually give out any money. Rounds 2 through 5 awarded about 4 million dollars to dozens of teams, funding over 150 proposals. A detailed writeup about Project Catalyst is available in our library.

When the full vision of the Cardano network is realized, in a future phase known as the “Voltaire” era, the Cardano Treasury will be governed by community input and votes. Budgeting and spending decisions will be in the hands of a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) - which is to say you, and me, and anyone who holds ADA and is willing to participate. For now, we are learning about how a DAO should be designed, through this experiment called Project Catalyst.


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Feasibility Leave a review

5 / 5
2 Reviews

The approach of iterating quickly, failing fast, and raising the stake each time moves the project closer to its goal with each round. Quick iteration removes the guesswork by providing ample, repeated opportunities to test, learn, and try again.

I give Project Catalyst a feasibility rating of 5.

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What is Project Catalyst Feasibility?

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George Lovegrove
October 19, 2021

The mix of Voltaire governance coming live on Cardano in the future along with a number of decentralized compute and storage blockchain helps to show that in the long term we will be able to host all the systems needed to run Cardano as a self sustaining ecosystem. In terms of governance Project Catalyst isn’t limited in what we can try as a community - eventually the best ideas and governance approaches will float to the top.

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Replying to George Lovegrove

5 / 5
2 Reviews

The impact of Project Catalyst cannot be overstated. Nothing like this has been done in the blockchain space or the world. The United States is often praised for freedom and democracy. In that country of about 330 million people, only about 10,000 hold high-level elected positions - about .003% of the population. These few make all of the decisions that affect the lives of hundreds of millions of people.

Project Catalyst is giving us a glimpse of what a totally reinvented democracy could mean. What if the taxes we paid were gathered in a national treasury, and every citizen had the ability to participate in the process? We don’t pretend to understand all the implications, but we think the possibilities will fuel conversation and innovation for decades to come.

I give Project Catalyst an impact rating of 5.

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Patrick
October 19, 2021

It’s amazing that a random person on the internet can have an idea, find a team to help me build it, then get the money to go build my idea. I don’t know where else this is happening. Project Catalyst is huge! All five stars from me!

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Auditability Leave a review

3 / 5
2 Reviews

The rules and processes guiding Project Catalyst have changed with every round. This is part of the experiment, but also makes it more difficult to draw comparisons and conclusions between rounds.

Ideascale is the primary platform for submitting proposals, providing feedback, and voting. The interface there is clunky, making it difficult to learn from past activities.

When proposal teams receive funding, subsequent reporting happens largely behind closed doors. There are no systems in place to support public transparency and accountability after the voting phase.

Due to these limitations, as of this writing, auditing Project Catalyst is difficult. There is something new called “Catalyst Circle” that aims to improve community access to project progress and results. According to the IOG blog post describing the initiative, Catalyst Circle will be “a human sensor array acting as the representative body for all the different groups participating in Project Catalyst”. This initiative is in its infancy and while we are hopeful, it is too soon to rate its efficacy.

I give Project Catalyst an Audibility rating of 2.

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Stephanie King
October 19, 2021

While there is evidence of good intentions and efforts to improve in this area, the ability for community users to understand the outcomes of funded projects seems to be missing entirely. Many funded proposals don’t even outline their measurable outcomes in a clear way.

In my opinion, proposals should include at least one objective/measurable definition of success, and there should be a process for project leads to mark success on those measures, and for the community to accept or reject it. These overall auditing outcomes should be visible on an easily accessible dashboard showing all projects, and their progress toward their measurable outcomes.

For now, I give auditability a rating of 1. I hope for there to be progress in this area in the very near future , even if 5-star auditability is a ways off.

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Replying to Stephanie King

3 / 5
1 Reviews

It’s an experiment; the roadmap is not clear. When Project Catalyst has fulfilled its purpose and Cardano is fully governed by a DAO, you and I will be the ones in charge of defining the roadmap. So perhaps it is a fitting part of the experiment that the roadmap seems vague, or missing. For now, the agenda, such as it is, is set by IOG.

I give Project Catalyst a Roadmap rating of 3.

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As such, I will treat the work with respect. I will offer my best fair and thoughtful review to help the public be more informed or feedback of what would make the product better.

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What is Project Catalyst Roadmap?

5 / 5
1 Reviews

Even though IOG is running the show for now, I feel like the entire Cardano community is on the team. The community values research, getting it right, and being part of the solution. The development and training of the community is a high priority, and receives consistent attention. Project Catalyst exists to catalyze the “highest level of human collaboration”, a refrain which echoes throughout the project, both in word and deed.

I gave the Catalyst Team a rating of 5.

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Review Project Catalyst's Team

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As such, I will treat the work with respect. I will offer my best fair and thoughtful review to help the public be more informed or feedback of what would make the product better.

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What is Project Catalyst Team?

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