Project Catalyst FAQ


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. (Instructions in detail)

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. 

Fund3 innovation phase timeline

  • Challenge refinement phase: Jan 6th -Jan 13
  • Proposal draft submission: Jan 13 - Jan 20
  • Proposal Refinement : Jan 20 - Jan 27
  • Proposal Final submission: Jan 27 - Feb 3
  • Proposal Review: Feb 3 - Feb 10
  • Reviewing the reviewers: Feb 10 - Feb 16th
  • Fund3 governance phase + Fund4 innovation phase launch: Feb 16th.


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.

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