over budget
PRISM DIDs for Catalyst CA Process
Current Project Status

Decentralised identity can improve the Catalyst CA process. Using Atala PRISM in Catalyst supports broader adoption of Cardano technology.


How do we increase accountability & transparence, build reputation systems, and experiment with voting while maintaining privacy for CAs?

Addresses Challenge


3 members

  • Project Information
  • Community Reviews
  • Team Information
PRISM DIDs for Catalyst CA Process


The Catalyst Community Advisor (CA) process serves as an essential and critical element in ensuring that the world’s largest decentralized innovation platform delivers the desired outcomes. Radical inclusivity and very low barriers to entry result in hundreds of CAs from around the globe writing 1,000s of assessments. The “Wisdom of the Crowd” should ensure that the best proposals receive the highest ratings. Studies of past funds demonstrate a strong correlation between high CA rankings and successful funding.

As Catalyst grows, a few challenges with the CA process have emerged. Anonymity, while critical for providing impartial feedback, allows for fake profiles and gaming of the system. Low quality reviews mean extra work for Veteran Community Assessors (vCAs).

-> In Fund7, vCAs excluded 46% of assessments

-> In Fund6, 40% of assessments did not make the cut

As each successive fund grows in size, the CA community must deliver more assessments.

-> Proposers submitted over 1,000 ideas in Fund7, requiring at least 3,000 individual reviews

As more and more proposers submit high quality proposals, the five star rating system does not allow sufficient ranking and prioritization of equally well-conceived proposals.

Importantly, our proposal team has not cataloged these critiques independently or in isolation. Rather, a significant part of the research that led to this proposal involved intensive interaction with the CA community. Kenric Nelson, Catalyst Circle v2 Representative for the CA community built on the initiatives developed by Victor Corcino (CCv1 Rep for CAs), which Nadia Hopkins (CCv3 Rep for CAs) is continuing. Kenric is a co-proposer and core team member, and we continue to work closely with Nadia, particularly regarding the CA Onboarding & Education Initiative she has launched.

Many active and experienced members of the CA community are working on a variety of initiatives to catalog issues and suggest solutions. The iterative drop box (<u>https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/120HylsMq-2oXeop7m8vBoaf7eb2D8viJazJs_EPWU2I/edit#gid=0</u>) serves as an open repository for identified issues and a means to track progress towards solutions.

Nadia is organizing regular meetings for CAs to discuss issues and brainstorm solutions. Various initiatives are developing from these gatherings. This link provides an example of a recent agenda: <https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Xg7snCojl6y0Gk2HkWzmWCAixJrieHL4McWS-utggnk/edit>

A variety of other initiatives and working groups are emerging, however these two links should provide a representative example to demonstrate the proposal team’s familiarity and involvement with the CA community and the process improvement work that is occurring.

Using SSI in Support of these Initiatives:

The core focus of this team and the point of this proposal involves using Cardano’s Atala PRISM technology to support the most promising CA process improvements by integrating SSI capabilities.

For example, one item on the iterative drop box list is titled “How to become CA in Fund 8 or future - Pre-CA Test.” Providing a pre-CA test to qualify potential CAs while preserving CA anonymity almost requires an SSI solution. The proposal team has a complementary proposal exclusively focused on this idea (see https://cardano.ideascale.com/c/idea/399036). Funds from this proposal could be used to support and build on the development of the onboarding course idea.

Importantly, this proposal also stands on its own as SSI infrastructure would enhance many of the other initiatives. Another drop box idea calls for a “Parallel Voting Experiment.” There has been discussion of implementing a quadratic voting process that would require CAs to rank and prioritize proposals, rather than rate them. Such an experiment can only work if the CAs have verified identities, and SSI provides that identity while maintaining anonymity.

Another initiative calls for a “Reputation Model.” Atala PRISM could provide a way to track and develop CA reputation across funds while allowing the CA to remain anonymous. The reputation credentials could influence CA rewards, or the presentation of CA feedback to voters, or both. Verifiable credentials could also allow CAs to demonstrate competency in different disciplines, which could either allow CAs the ability to assess some challenges but not others, or influence the way CA feedback displays for voters.

Yet another initiative focuses on “Preventing bot networks from dominating the CA/vCA process.” Issuing CAs with a credential could provide an opportunity to demonstrate Proof of Life and add an element of security in defending the process from bot attacks.

The examples listed above provide a representative sample of the areas the team could explore further. This proposal is intended to provide the proposal team with the flexibility to work closely with the CA community to identify the emerging solutions and process improvements that have the most impact and the highest probability of success. The team can then begin the process of providing the SSI infrastructure that would allow for the implementation of those initiatives. This proposal would support the exploration, research, and determination of feasibility of bringing SSI to Catalyst for each specifically identified process improvement. Later proposals would support the specific and focused development of the solutions identified during this research phase.

The Challenge calls for solutions that support the rapid growth of Cardano. Bringing SSI to Catalyst provides the perfect use-case for implementing PRISM technology. All of the stakeholders are already deeply embedded in the Cardano community and committed to the blockchain’s success. They also already have the basic blockchain understanding and technological skills (use of virtual wallets, ability to attend virtual courses, familiarity with providing blockchain data such as an ADA address) that make adoption of the PRISM solution feasible and likely. There isn’t a better community to target regarding implementation and usage of Atala PRISM.

The Challenge Brief also highlights the need for interoperability, noting that “most digital credentials sit on Hyperledger Indy ledgers.” The ProofSpace team brings deep experience with Hyperledger Indy and already provides SSI capabilities for that ecosystem. This proposal would not require interoperability with Hyperledger, given that all the stakeholders, all credentials, and all activity will occur within the Atala PRISM environment. However, as CAs are beginning to use identity wallets and gaining VCs, it is an important feature that these tools provide interoperability for the next use-cases that will emerge down the road.

The Challenge Brief recognizes the need to create “alternatives to accredited education and career paths” and the importance of “developing technology and governance primitives to support any community that wants to establish new education and career paths.” By delivering a successful model of a decentralized means of issuing education credentials, reputation credentials, or voting credentials, using SSI in Catalyst could provide examples that other groups and communities could easily replicate.

Risk - There a wide range of initiatives coming from the CA community, some of which conflict with each other

Mitigant - Decentralization and community-led solutions serve as foundational principles for this proposal. The proposal team has deep roots in the CA community. Kenric and Allison have both written many assessments across multiple funds. Kenric served as the CCv2 Rep for CAs, and continues to maintain ties to many CA experts and initiatives. This proposal will complement the Improving Integrity of CA Process proposal (https://cardano.ideascale.com/c/idea/400096) being submitted to the Community Advisors Improvement challenge. The proposal team is working closely with Nadia Hopkins (CCv3 Rep for CAs) and is participating in the initiatives and meetings regarding improving the CA process, in order to identify the most promising solutions.

Risk - IOG currently controls the Catalyst process and must agree to any changes

Mitigant - We have been closely discussing this proposal with IOG Catalyst and IOG PRISM (Tony Rose and Anushka Soma-Patel). IOG has indicated initial support, and it appears that integrating PRISM technology into the Catalyst process sits squarely on the IOG Roadmap. While completely in-line with IOG planning, this proposal would provide an important opportunity for the CA community to continue to influence the development and evolution of the CA process.

Risk - The proposal requires technical implementations with third party systems

Mitigant - Ideascale currently serves as the platform for CA registration and assessment writing. The ProofSpace team is already investigating API documentation and believes integration would be relatively straight-forward. Kenric Nelson additionally has significant experience in overseeing technical integrations and can take the lead in ensuring a smooth process. As an additional benefit, beginning to store data in a decentralized manner, in the CA identity wallets, provides the Catalyst community with more flexibility should we one day decide to move away from Ideascale.

Risk - Atala PRISM is not yet live on mainnet

Mitigant - The ProofSpace team has deep technical experience delivering SSI solutions. They have recently received access to the PRISM SDK (since IOG has just released it) and have received Catalyst funding to build out their PRISM capabilities. The proposal team will continue working closely with IOG to develop a roadmap that fits with the IOG release timeline.

Dr. Nelson will continue his research into quantitative and qualitative methods of improving the CA process. One avenue of exploration could involve the design of a ranking system to replace the existing rating system. His analysis would address the concern regarding the convergence of assessments to 4s and 5s due to the increasing quality of submitted proposals. Other areas of focus could include the development of a reputation model, and the prioritization of solutions submitted to the CA iterative dropbox.

Allison will continue serving as a liaison between the CA community in general, and Kenric’s work in particular, the key stakeholders at IOG, and the ProofSpace team, who would provide the SSI infrastructure needed for successful implementation of those projects.

ProofSpace will continue to research and develop the workflows and technical specifications required to build the SSI support for the identified projects.

All of this activity would take place during Fund9. The goal would be for the team to have performed enough initial research and due diligence in order to submit a well-crafted and broadly supported Fund10 proposal.

Research regarding CA Process improvements - $7,000

Technical research and development, including workflow development - $7,000

Governance framework development and negotiation with all stakeholders - $7,000

Total Budget - $21,000

Allison Fromm left a 20+ year career in finance, banking, and business development to launch Crypto Alley in 2021. She has been involved in the cryptocurrency industry since 2012. Upon discovering Cardano in early 2020, she has focused primarily on projects in that ecosystem.

Allison first participated in Project Catalyst during Fund0, she attended the inaugural Atala Prism Pioneers program,she was elected to the Catalyst Circle v2 in November 2021, and she is now a member of the Community Governance Oversight Group. Allison has served as a CA in multiple funds and as a funded Challenge Team member. She previously received funding for two Fund7 proposals.

Outside of Cardano, she serves as a Co-Chair of the AML Working Group of Switzerland’s Crypto Valley Association. Allison now lives in Switzerland but had spent most of her prior working career in the US.

More details about Allison: <u>https://www.linkedin.com/in/allisonfromm/</u>

More about Crypto Alley: <u>https://www.linkedin.com/company/crypto-alley/?viewAsMember=true</u>

and <u>www.cryptoalley.ch</u> (coming soon, hopefully prior to the voting phase)

ProofSpace is an advanced no-code SSI SaaS platform for issuing and verifying reusable identity credentials, with a track record in the US health system, international development and e-government. The key members of the ProofSpace team supporting this proposal include:

Viktor Radchenko - CTO and mobile dev for ProofSpace. 20-year R&D track record. Skilled in project and product management, solution architecture, science consulting, blockchain, mobile, web, game, and embedded development. 6 publications in peer-reviewed journals.

Ruslan Shevchenko, PhD - Solution Architect and BE for ProofSpace. Skilled architect and scientific researcher with 30-years’ experience across blockchain, telecom, advertising and financial services. Researcher in the Institute of Software Systems and Founder of several successful ventures including NBI (an Internet Provider), GradSoft (a software development firm) and UA Scala user group. 10 publications in peer-reviewed journals, co-authored book entitled “Methods of Algebraic Programming” and is an active columnist for the Ukrainian developers' community portal.

Alexey Hodkov - FE/BE for ProofSpace. Talented web backend and frontend solution architect and developer with 17-years’ experience. Team leader, tech mentor and CTO in complex projects for various companies like Yandex LLC and Megogo.

Nick Mason - CEO for ProofSpace. Experienced social entrepreneur and venture analyst with a proven track record of social venture funding and of starting and growing ventures in Europe and Africa. Background as Consultant venture analyst at Toniic, Head of Portfolio and Operations at BeyondMe, UK Director for Sierra Leone based education charity and Trustee for Street Child. Co-Founded ProofSpace (formerly ZAKA in 2019).

Kenric Nelson, Ph.D.

Scientist * Engineer * Educator * Executive

Founder and President of Photrek, <u>https:\\photrek.world</u>

Kenric is an innovative leader in the research, development and deployment of systems for complex decision-making. For the Catalyst community he served as the Community Advisor Representative to the Catalyst Circle v2 and successfully delivered the Fund 4 Diversify Voting Influence project. In these roles, Kenric has been a strong advocate for improving the quality and inclusivity of decentralized governance. Kenric completed the Atala Prism Pioneers program and is currently enrolled in the Plutus Pioneers program.


Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) include:

All team members will track the number of hours spent on the project, the number of meetings attended with the CA community, and the various initiatives that are explored.

Each month a report of these three metrics (hours, meetings, and projects) would be submitted to the Cohort. These reports will include an evaluation of the project ideas against a simple framework: “potential impact” and “feasibility”. Potential impact (where 1 is low and 5 is high) requires an assessment of how effective the project would be in solving known issues with CA processes. Feasibility (where 1 is low and 5 is high) requires a brief assessment of how feasible it would be to implement the project successfully.

Additionally, this reporting would also be provided to the CA community and stored in the various public repositories so that all CAs can review and benefit from the proposal team’s research into the feasibility of various process improvement solutions.

The team aims to have a solid, well-craft proposal submitted in Fund10, which has its roots in the process improvement work of the CA community, and which has the broad support of a significant number of CAs, as well as the support of IOG (both the Catalyst Team and the PRISM Team).

This is an entirely new project. However, Allison Fromm, Kenric Nelson, and the ProofSpace team have all been funded previously, in many cases on related projects.

The ProofSpace team has an F7 funded proposal entitled “No-Code SSI SaaS for Mass Adoption” (see <u>https://cardano.ideascale.com/c/idea/385204</u>). The implementation of Atala PRISM in ProofSpace SSI no-code platform will enable the production usage of PRISM credentials in this proposal.

Photrek was funded in F4 for Diversify Voting Influence and built relations with the WADA, SWARM and other Catalyst teams regarding expansion of the community.



  • EP2: epoch_length

    Authored by: Darlington Kofa

    3 min 24 s
    Darlington Kofa
  • EP1: 'd' parameter

    Authored by: Darlington Kofa

    4 min 3 s
    Darlington Kofa
  • EP3: key_deposit

    Authored by: Darlington Kofa

    3 min 48 s
    Darlington Kofa
  • EP4: epoch_no

    Authored by: Darlington Kofa

    2 min 16 s
    Darlington Kofa
  • EP5: max_block_size

    Authored by: Darlington Kofa

    3 min 14 s
    Darlington Kofa
  • EP6: pool_deposit

    Authored by: Darlington Kofa

    3 min 19 s
    Darlington Kofa
  • EP7: max_tx_size

    Authored by: Darlington Kofa

    4 min 59 s
    Darlington Kofa