IOG Catalyst Team: Proposed Solution Description

Providing transparent and responsive oversight and deploying new approaches to operating Catalyst to simplify access to Cardano funding, increase opportunities to participate in the Cardano ecosystem and enhance the likelihood of success for funded projects. Simply put, more can be achieved by fully unlocking the power of the Cardano community. Each Catalyst fund, when combined with state of art administrative tools and best practices, is an opportunity for the entire Cardano ecosystem to band together in delivering a more inclusive, equitable, and productive future.

Since the project’s inception, the Catalyst team at IOG (“Catalyst Team”) has viewed its purpose as more than just a platform developer; the team considers itself an accelerant for the Catalyst community, a steward for the community’s interests and an advocate for positive impact across Cardano and the broader blockchain industry.

Along with developing a Cardano innovation community it is equally important to ensure carefully managed and consistent funding; the bedrock of both Catalyst and sustainable ecosystem growth.

This proposal is intended to create assurance that the next three Project Catalyst funding rounds (Fund11, Fund12, Fund13) will be delivered with appropriate oversight and administration focused on achieving these objectives for the entire community. The Catalyst team proposes to continue its involvement with Catalyst through its appointment as the Catalyst Fund Operations service provider for the Cardano community as described in this proposal.

The funding request is for three disbursements of 2,140,000 ada drawn on the launch of each respective fund to cover costs of operations, totalling approximately 6,420,000 ada.

Combining the core driving principle, for the people, by the people, with a desire to achieve high degrees of trust and security, the technical stack and core operations processes have been refined and hardened over 10 iterations of Catalyst through gathering inputs from user feedback, applied research, and observed attempts at adversarial behavior. With our appointment as Catalyst Fund Operations service provider, we will continue these endeavors.

To date, more than 1.7 million votes have been cast, deciding how to allocate over $48m worth of ada from the Cardano Treasury. Throughout that time, Catalyst never once suffered any critical exploits that prevented voting from happening legitimately. The Catalyst Team is proud of this success.

Since Fund9 the Catalyst Team has already implemented changes to core processes and operations that address community concerns, such as remodeling the incentives structures to make them more equitable and less-costly, while also expanding the types of incentivised ‘work’ the community can benefit from; introducing milestone-based-funding so funding disbursements are based on achievements; as well as improved voting app UX which provides voters with more information to aid their decision-making. As Catalyst Fund Operations service provider, the Catalyst Team intends to continue implementing further improvements to Catalyst operations as outlined in our proposals.

Surveys have been conducted after each voting round and consistently reveal that ada holders perceive Catalyst outcomes as fair and impactful.

The main goals of the Catalyst Team, as described in the proposal, are to:

  1. Coordinate, launch, and fully execute the next three Catalyst funding round campaigns at a level of circa 50m ada per fund to produce circa 1200 new projects funded via Catalyst.

  2. Maintain all existing Catalyst voting system infrastructure and tools so they are readily available for use during each funding round.

  3. Coordinate and manage the milestone-based funding and proof-of-achievement accountability model to onboard newly approved projects and oversee the ongoing funding disbursement requirements for all pre-existing, active projects from Fund2-Fund9 and all newly approved projects (Fund10-Fund13).

  4. Initiate an education programme to help onboard new participants and enable growth in community-led competencies to co-operate Catalyst.

  5. Deliver mid-term and end-of-term evaluation of project outcomes to demonstrate the significance and impact that Catalyst has achieved during the scope of the project.

  6. Create an arms-length relationship between the operation and administration of each Catalyst funding round (Catalyst Operator) and the custody of funds allocated from the Cardano Treasury for each such round (Catalyst Funding Vehicle).

The project primarily engages all stakeholders interested in Catalyst, namely:

  • Ada Holders: Many of which are voters participating in Catalyst Voting stage decision-making and regular attendees to Catalyst events, or keeping abreast of outcomes via the website.

  • Proposers: Submitting requests for funding and, once approved, delivering projects for the benefit of the Cardano ecosystem.

  • Catalyst community contributors: Including Community Reviewers, Challenge Teams, Cardano Ambassadors, Catalyst Circle. Each constituent group provides demonstrable broad-based participation in key operational and governance processes in Catalyst.

  • Pioneering entities: Including Cardano Foundation, IOG, and Emurgo who provide support to Catalyst.

The Catalyst Team (ourselves!): We wake up every morning inspired by Cardano builders. Some say we’re turbo-charged! We love what we do and would like your permission to expand participation in Catalyst, deploy state of the art oversight and administration processes, and further enhance Catalyst’s capabilities with other builders in the community. All of our proposed development efforts are to collectively turn this open source vision into reality.

This proposal outlines the Catalyst team’s committed plans to continue to maintain operations as the Catalyst Fund Operator and to deliver services to the Cardano community described further in this proposal classified under two main categories of services:

  1. Catalyst Fund Administration services

  2. Catalyst Core services

[A] Catalyst Fund Administration services

In its role as Catalyst ‘Fund Operator’, the Catalyst team is responsible for the administrative day-to-day functions and maintenance of Project Catalyst to set up, service, and promote the funding round campaigns as well as servicing active funding commitments through disbursements to community-approved projects and providing oversight and accountability of how funds are used once disbursed. This role also includes coordination and facilitation of events, training, and workshops, working groups, onboarding activities, community and incubation support, communications, human-centered research and design, promotion and marketing.

[B] Catalyst Core services

The Catalyst team has deployed and will continue to introduce and deploy the core features described below (“Catalyst Core”).

Catalyst Core offers a battle-tested mechanism for the Cardano community to make collective decisions on innovation proposals submitted to Project Catalyst in ways that can be trusted. Today, Catalyst Core services provide:

  • Single, verifiable source of truth for registration and voting power, proposals and reviews, ballots and voting results, and funded project outcomes

  • End-to-end auditability with persistent data storage, open-source tooling, and robust community documentation

  • Encrypted blockchain voting to preserve privacy of individuals while remaining cryptographically provable

Catalyst Core system services include:

  • Voting Sidechain - Catalyst’s blockchain voting ledger

  • Enhanced Security and Privacy - Stringent measures implemented to ensure secure and private voting, including robust encryption, access controls, auditing systems, and other security features implemented throughout the Catalyst ecosystem

  • Front-End Applications - iOS and Android voting application interfaces to interact with the Catalyst voting system

  • Mainnet Bridge - Tooling to get voter registration data from Cardano mainnet

  • Catalyst Data Services - Back-end storage and orchestration

  • Public Archives - Auditable records of previous voting events

  • Open APIs - Interface to read / write data from / into Catalyst

  • Traffic Rerouting - Transaction routing for optimal performance

  • Load Balancing - Spreading transaction load across nodes to avoid overload

  • Denial of Service Protection - Preventing denial of service attacks with voting transactions

The Catalyst Team deploys this system to three different types of environments in support of Catalyst:

  • Production - Short-lived deployment in support of active funding rounds

  • Stable Testnet - Continuous deployment for integration and usability testing

  • Dev-Testnet - Continuous deployment for experimentation and feature testing

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