Earlier this month, the Cardano Foundation opened a call for questions, which was an opportunity for the community to ask whatever they wanted and for us to update on progress. You can see the AMA (Ask me Anything) thread here.
Nathan Kaiser, chairperson of CF, provided the answers to the questions below. Please have a read and let us know what you think. In addition, some of these questions were answered during the AMA session that Nathan had at the recent Cardano meetup in New York. The video and forum post will be shared in the meetup forum soon.
Vision and Future Plan of Cardano Foundation
Q. What are the new mission statement and the purpose of the Cardano Foundation?
Cardano Foundation, after strengthening the Foundation Council, has continued working on its mission by contributing to the development of Cardano. The mission has been set from earlier and introduced in CF’s website here.
We are aware of the concern from the community over one of our missions, ‘Growing Global Cardano Community’. CF will continue working on developing and improving community management strategies.
Q. What has CF achieved after changing of the leadership and what is CF’s next steps? Also, what can we expect after the year 2020?
The Ambassador program has been the most important recent achievement. CF is expecting to communicate more with the community and is dedicated to building a healthier environment for the community through this program.
CF’s plan by the year 2020 or not too long thereafter is to be transformed into a DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization). Meanwhile, we need the industry to work diligently so that by that time, the state-of-the-art of DAO’s will fill the requirements for being a functional DAO- ranging from technology, law, user interface, and social sciences. All this is not yet here, and needs to be researched, studied, and built.
CF has a roadmap on which we continue to work and iterate. We continue to present relevant parts of this roadmap to the community, for example the Ambassador program, in the context of forum posts, but also at the occasion of regular AMA such as this one.
Q. What are the five most important imperatives for CF in 2019 and what are your marketing plan for this year?
The tasks that CF is focusing on at this moment are:
- To expand the team
- To develop the Cardano Ambassador program
- To develop and roll out the Cardano Hub Program
- To expand the number, scope and depth of meetups, events, and conferences.
- And to increase interaction with key partners including financial institutions, services provides, government representatives, NGOs and standard-setting institutions.
CF is still working on developing the strategic requirements and agenda that suits our mission.
CF is developing our current marketing and PR strategies - ranging from coding (at CF, we support developers and their coding efforts!) to listings (at CF, we know that ada listings on exchanges are a key area of interest), community building, education, and revising policy and regulations.
Q. History has proven that the best technology doesn’t always win. Bitcoin has a ten-year head start in marketing and mainstream adoption. How will Cardano catch-up?
We can say that this project is a marathon, not a sprint. In the area of disruptive technology, user adoption will eventually follow functionality. Bitcoin is the oldest and best functioning protocol today - but the use case, while fantastic, is largely limited to value storage and transfer, as well time-stamping - the Cardano protocol has a of course a much larger scope. We regard Bitcoin as a keystone of the ecosystem, not as a competitor.
Transparency and Leadership Issues
Q. When will the transition to an independent board of directors happen?
Since December 2018 we already have a diverse council, with representatives from Emurgo, IOHK, as well as two independent board members. Our next step with regard to governance structure is to build up a strong base of Cardano Ambassadors. We are discussing to later create and appoint an actual Board of Directors. This board will be responsible for operations, budget execution and leadership. At the same time, this will allow the current Council to be relegated to a limited supervisory role, letting the council be responsible only for budgeting (review and approval), appointments to the Board of Directors, supervision/oversight and certain public and industry representation.
We expect this to be hopefully implemented before 2020, in line with the Cardano Development. The Board of Directors will then be able to move forward and implement the transition to a DAO. Please be aware that these are preliminary ideas and need to be further discuss internally, but we will also seek the community’s feedback on these ideas.
Q. Has the new board changed the bylaws of CF to completely eliminate the situation where one person could run the foundation without proper checks and balances?
First of all, we cannot change the arguably imperfect legal setup of foundations under Swiss law. However, we have successfully fixed the basic flaw of a two-person board where one person had the decisive vote. As soon as we had appointed more than two persons, the one-man risk was eliminated immediately. Mission completed.In addition, we have already installed various governance processes and realign workflows internally to go beyond the minimum corporate governance. As for the next step, CF will establish an internal control system (ICS) as suggested by the Swiss regulatory framework for accounting standards (Swiss GAP).
Q. Since one of CF’s responsibilities is to supervise the development of Cardano, will there be the same kind of transparency work provide to IOHK and EMURGO?
CF does not supervise IOHK and Emurgo since they are private companies.
Q. Many of CF’s employees were hired by Michael Parson’s nepotism how did CF deal with this, and what are your plan for hirings or replacements?
Today, I am proud to say that the CF has a great team,. The only problem we have now on the human resource side is that we are too few - we need even more talented people. We are now in the very middle of recruitment.
Q. Can I, as a community member, help foundation in any way?
Cardano ecosystem is maintained with the contribution and effort from the community. As a community member, you can contribute to the project in various ways. Those who go above and beyond and provide regular, consistent and positive contribution to the project may be interested in joining the Cardano ambassador program. You can find the details on these roles including the criteria of actions that need to be fulfilled on the Ambassador Program webpage.
Q. What are current and future plans for business partnerships including exchanges?
CF has been partnering with blockchain entities including Crypto Valley and Blockchain Federation to discover business opportunities from exchange integration and public relations as well as business standardization. CF is now in several discussions with emerging entities and will aim to do partnerships with academic institutions for research (for example, in treasury research), with lobbying organizations with regards to the regulatory environment, with think tanks to study the space, and with private companies who are relevant for the overall development of the space.
Especially for the partnership with exchanges, we are continuously working on streamlining and updating our approaches given the rapid changing regulatory and commercial landscapes from the field. To do so, we have built internal process to deal with exchange outreach.
Q. When and how CF play a role in establishing relationships with international bodies or government organizations?
CF regularly has meetings with government officials in various settings, including discussion over policy makings from all over the world including the city of Zug, Washington DC, Korea Japan and Taiwan. We have several projects already started and will continue developing new opportunities.
Q. Is the Cardano debit card still on the roadmap and being pursued?
We are pursuing various projects involving a card. The space of debit and credits cards in and around crypto is still immature, even though some projects have been out a while. Some have come and gone already The industry at large has gone back to the drawing board on use cases and business models first - not producing cards first, then ask the questions. It’s all a good thing.
Q. People are waiting for replies to their emails to the CF for weeks. How are you planning to catch up with that and what are the plans avoiding that situation in the future? There should at least be an automated response and an official rough timespan, within users can expect an answer.
Due to a high volume of inquiries, the response from CF can be delayed. We are working on catching up on all the emails and messages on other channels every day these days.
Q. Why are the key programs including the ambassador program and Cardano Hubs program to decide the future of our Community not worked out openly together with the Community allowing anyone with passion & motivation to contribute, bring their expertise, share their opinion and support the creative design process of defining these programs?
CF is reviewing comments and suggestions from the community and goes through intense internal discussions regarding the ongoing feedback from the community. I personally increasingly participate on discussions on the forum, but both our staff and myself will keep this part low-key and low-level - simply due to bandwidth limitations: a few heads at the Foundation cannot participate with thousands of people online - it is simply not possible. Furthermore, there is that known problem with the number of cooks, even if they are all great chefs. Last but not least, there is rarely a “right or wrong” or even a best solution. It is important that decisions are taken, actions implemented, and iterated from there - and avoid being blinded by the spotlight of many possible ways forward, and then being unable to move like a deer on the road. Agile it is, which includes amendments based on feedback as we move forward. This AMA is a very good example of this - the AMA has been strongly suggested by the broad online community - here we are now and today.
Q. Instead of this we read the following from one of the Ambassadors: "Things are moving behind the screens, we are working on great things and they are speeding up …" Who are working on these programs at the moment?
The council members, our staff members from the three entities, as well as, and the Cardano Founders with a guiding hand!
Q. What additional ambassador roles are you considering to create?
We are expecting to develop ambassador program based on the feedback from the community. You can give and share your feedback and ideas through email@example.com
Funding / Financial Disclosure
Q. How much funding does the foundation have? Also, is there any plan to provide funding for community initiated projects? If yes, then how much will be released and over what time frame?
Our current funding is mostly structured in cash, BTC and ADA. The total amount of the funding fluctuate based on the market condition. All in all, on this snowy Wednesday, we are sufficiently funded to complete our mission for the coming years. . We are still checking for the regulatory environment and policy considerations of disclosing more details to achieve a good balance between satisfying pure curiosity and being transparent in reasonable manner.
For providing funding to the community initiated projects, CF is planning to establish a thorough process for this.
Q. Where is the promised transparency for disclosing things ike CF’s ADA address
CF has announced the Ada holding information here: Statement on Cardano Foundation’s Ada Holdings
Q. How much funding has the foundation left and until will when development be supported by IOHK? What is the plan after that period?
We are fully funded at this point and have been so from the start. IOHK does not support CF financially but in spiritual, practical, and sometimes operational ways. We confirm to be well funded to see the Cardano Protocol to come to full fruition.
Q. How will you get people in developing countries to care about Cardano when there is no way to turn their fiat into ADA from their mobile phone or kiosks/ATM? And how can it be used as a currency if there is so much volatility in the coin?
Cardano Foundation is actively working on several cards and ATM’s. And in case you missed it, Emurgo has a project with Metaps Plus which has launched an ADA card in the project.