Mission Critical Cardano
Project Catalyst Fund2 is now in the rearview mirror, funds have been disbursed to the winning proposals, and rewards have been distributed to community advisors and voters. Even the next funding round Fund3 is well underway. With Project Catalyst being a pre-Voltaire experiment where IOG (Input Output Global) is providing significant support can we get to a point where the community can show that we have come of age and want our training wheels off? To get to that point, I believe we need to show that we recognize the responsibility we wield with our votes in properly allocating resources in a way that accelerates the Cardano vision of inclusivity and as a protocol for 3 billion people. The question then is at this critical juncture of Cardano’s roll out what do we prioritize? Is it dApps? Is it developers? Or is it bringing more people into the ecosystem?
Fund2 had a total funding pot of $250,000. $50,000 of this total went to community advisor and voter rewards with $200,000 going to directly fund projects. Of the 78 proposals that made it to ballot, only 11 made the funding cut, and unquestionably each of the those 11 were high-quality proposals deserving of funding. 10 of the 11 funded proposals were dApp and developer focussed with only one geared at supporting and/or bringing more people into the Cardano ecosystem. That single proposal comprised only 0.187% of the funding pot. By this voting pattern, is the community indicating that we are in a hurry to build dApps for the 3 billion people who will be eventually using Cardano and not with them?
I will share a story. Many, many moons ago, I was a co-lead of a project in a rural Canadian hospital to increase throughput and staff effectiveness. The project manager was excellent, we had executive support, we did our home-work and had access to experts in other departments that we made use of. We were from the city and we were armed and ready to bring solutions. There was however a structural component to the project that we spent weeks trying to resolve to no avail. Then during one of our mapping sessions with staff, one of the nurses who had worked at the hospital for years suggested switching procedure rooms. That one seemingly obvious suggestion significantly increased the likelihood of staff adopting the solution, we saved costs, time and didn’t have to break any walls. This experience cemented for me forever that the solution to problems almost always lie close to the people experiencing the problem. As a community, do we really believe that Cardano is here to solve real-world problems for the unbanked people in Africa and the rest of the world? What steps are we taking by our votes to bring them into our ecosystem and make them part of designing the solutions? Instead of waiting till we have something to offer newcomers, isn’t this the time to broaden our community? And get developers closer to the challenges beginning to dream and re-imagine a new paradigm?
DApp proposals are easy to quantify and tangibly assess metrics. Capacity building, marketing, education etc., on the other hand, is difficult to assess for success indicators. Yet, those are what will bring in people (and developers) from Africa and the rest of the developing world who will contribute to solution design. Is there a way to continue funding dApps as we are currently doing while simultaneously investing in reaching out to the people for who we are developing the Cardano protocol? Only time and our voting patterns will tell. Hopefully, in time and through a reiterative improvement processes fund after fund, we will evolve to become an autonomous self-governing community that prioritizes Cardano’s long-term vision and purpose.