Fund 7 - Challenge ranking & review


Project Catalyst Fund 7 - Challenge Ranking & Review

Beginning with Fund 7, Cardano Foundation and the Cardano Ambassadors aim to augment the Catalyst experience by providing expert opinions on the key Challenges - chosen by you, the Cardano Architects, and the fellow Cardano Ambassadors.

This is an independent initiative led by Cardano Ambassadors, and is the first step in developing feedback loops within the community to add additional insights for the community, by the community.

Short intro to Project Catalyst and the purpose of a Challenge

Project Catalyst is an experiment in community innovation, providing a framework to turn ideas into impactful real world projects.

Catalyst is designed as a permissionless environment, where everyone is empowered to submit problem orientated and solution based proposals.

Proposals are submitted in specific categories, called the challenges. Most of the challenges are submittes and elected by the community itself.

Challenge are defined by following criterias:

  • Challenges are defined as a sub fund with a own budget
  • each challenge states an individual and unique problem statement
  • each challenge offers a unlimited space for proposals to address the Challenge stated problem
  • each challenge lasts just one funding round ( 3 months ), after a funding round, new challenges are voted

There are currently 23 Challenges for Fund 7, each with a campaign brief outlining the general topic.

We are collecting insights and will submit a response for the top 5 selected Challenges to answer the following questions:

  1. What gaps do you see in how this challenge is currently addressed?
  2. What is your own insight about addressing it?
  3. Review of the Campaign Briefs for accuracy.

By a public survey which was send out in the beginning of this week, we identified the top 5 selected Challenges

  1. Open Source Developer Ecosystem
  2. Accelerate Decentralized Identity
  3. Gamers On Chained
  4. Dapps & Integration / also Mini/Low-Budget Dapps & integrations
  5. Boosting Cardano DeFi

Good to know

The Community Advisors (CAs) of Project Catalyst play an essential role in the process of Challenges and Proposals. The CAs job is to assess and to rate submitted proposals and challenges. As we know,

a proposal in a Challenge is something else than the Challenge in which proposals are submitted.

There are two kinds of “Proposals”

(1) Proposals which are submitted in a specific Challenge. Those Proposals are assessed by Community Advisors and their assessments are flagged by Proposers and reviewed by the veteran Community Advisors. This process defines the “ranking” of a Proposal

(2) Challenges which are submitted as “Challenge setting proposals” passing though the same process, but excludes the flagging part by proposers.

In Fund 6 we saw that many CAs did not seem to be well informed enough to identify this difference between “proposals” and “challenge setting proposals”.

Actually 70% of all CA assessments have been stated as invalid, which leads us to the problem that the “choice” of the voted challenges lose legitimacy.

However… Let’s have a look at the top 5 ranked Fund 7 challenges.

Challenge Teams

In Fund 7, it’s the first time the Challenge Teams go into action.

A Challenge Team is a community led team of active Catalyst Community members which signed up to take the initiative and responsibility to document, track, and report the overall happenings of a Challenge.

The Challenge Team acts as a steward body without any decision making power.

To learn more about the Challenge Teams, check the first Challenge Team workshop, held by IOG in the weekly Catalyst After Town Hall, hosted by the Catalyst Swarm.

Here as well a list of all challenge Teams and the Team members

Catalyst and the Fund 7 Challenges

Fund 7 offers 6.4 million USD to all 23 challenges excluding the Catalyst Natives challenge which is not funded by the treasury. From a survey of Stakepool Operators and Cardano Ambassadors, 89 results were gathered. The top five selected challenges which are chosen to be the most important to ecosystem development have 25% of the total funds available and 50% of the total votes. In general, more efforts can be applied to fund voting based on the strategy of Cardano and an understanding of where the ecosystem is today, and which actions made now will further de-risk future ecosystem building efforts. It makes sense to focus funds on themes rather than individual challenges as this limits progress and the ability of high quality proposals to be funded.

Open-source development should be a requirement from catalyst funding. As Catalyst is the community fund, all projects funded should be required to contribute to the open-source Cardano community in some way. Act Global. Think Global. Deliver Local. As a Global Financial Operating System, Cardano is agnostic to geo-locations. While IOHK is leading the market development strategy for Africa, Cardano as the blockchain ecosystem is global.

1. Open Source Developer Ecosystem - 3% of Fund 7
The Open Source Developer Ecosystem - Challenge provides one of the most important spaces for the growth and functionality of our ecosystem. From the survey, this challenge represents 17% of total votes and yet a very marginal amount of funding. The active support of the community to build new tools is of great importance to avoid stagnation. However, the need for new tools and provided solutions does not match the available fundings for this Challenge. A very similar Challenge in previous Funds, the Developer Ecosystem Challenge provides us a reality of the real Challenge we have to face. How can we enable sufficient resources for the development of new tools? How can we encourage all funded Catalyst proposers to “give back” to the Cardano ecosystem by supporting open source resources?

A key reminder is that Catalyst is the community fund for the Cardano community-at-large. Open Source Developer Ecosystem is the common denominator for nearly all challenges that deal with building applications and launching projects on Cardano. When we consider the value chain and growth of an ecosystem, the greatest enabler is a large, vibrant, open source developer ecosystem.

Fund 6 showed us that the Developer Ecosystem Challenge with a total budget of 1 Million USD worth in ADA met a number of proposals which requested an amount of 7.277.851 USD worth in ADA. In fund 7, the Open Source Developer Ecosystem has a total budget of 200.000 USD worth in ADA. In this situation we risk losing not only needed resources to support the toolmakers of the ecosystem, but also send a dangerous message to the community.

Fund 6. Statistics of available vs requested funds ( by YUTA_Oishi - Cardano Ambassador )

CatalystFUND6-Submission phase analysis 提出段階予算分析 - 日本語 / エデュケーション - Cardano Forum

1.1 Gaps in how this challenge is currently addressed

  • Open-Source Developer Ecosystem as a Challenge should remain the largest challenge in each fund. Instead of a Challenge, it would be better to position this as a general Category to include in each fund.
  • Developers need better tools, more eUTxO books, more tutorials, etc.
  • Many high quality projects that have an immediate impact on Cardano adoption were not chosen in previous funds.
  • Open-Source projects need more resources (more funding) if they are to add real value to the Cardano ecosystem.
  • Leverage the existing open-source projects and resources, and make new ones.
  • Focus on open-source tooling, new programming languages that make it easier for dapp developers to adopt Cardano while still preserving benefits of eUTxO programming model.
  • Through a quick survey of the existing tools, libraries, and open-source resources, the Cardano Developer Ecosystem is around 10-20% of what is needed for a resilient and vibrant ecosystem of third party participants. Under 50 open-source resources are in actual use today while the main developer ecosystem is centered on IOHK and their partners.

1.2 Insights into addressing this challenge

  • Properly constructed open-source models/options, with inclusive participation, is a key driver for ecosystem growth and organic innovation.
  • To enable this, a culture of innovation, collaboration, and creativity is needed in order to incubate new business models and opportunities.
  • For Cardano to scale to billions of users, there is a direct need for technical solutions which are openly shared in order to cater to the largest audience possible.
  • Today, Cardano needs more open-source projects to improve the overall size and quality of the developer ecosystem.
  • Catalyst represents public funding by the Cardano community and it should go to open-source development projects that are for the benefit of the community. A general requirement for funded proposals should include contributing to the Cardano ecosystem.
  • A diverse developer environment increases the speed of adoption and third parties building solutions on Cardano.
  • Open-source tools make it much easier to build the Cardano ecosystem.
  • “Architects need much more than blueprints, they need tools to quickly develop”
  • Cardano 2022 major goal is to fully open-source Cardano. It takes time to develop, test, deploy, and scale developer tools.
  • A strong and healthy developer ecosystem with a common platform for tools, practices, standards is vital for the growth of the ecosystem and the entry of a variety of third parties to enter the ecosystem and flourish.
  • Open-Source Cardano also includes the participation and sharing of expert knowledge to understand the Challenges deeply and have qualified opinions on the implementation of solutions. Most of the expertise on the Cardano blockchain is with a few major ecosystem participants.
  • there are really 2 classes of developer tools:
      1. stake pool / infra tools (totally iohk dependent)
      1. smart contract examples and libraries (iohk dependent, challenging language for non-experts to play with, need to “open source” the contracts rather than them just being visible on-chain limits emergent, open source behaviour, play and spontaneous reus

1.3 Review of the Campaign Brief

  • The growth of common, value-adding tools is critical for Cardano to be fully open-source by the end of 2022.
  • Enabling high quality open-source tools, libraries, and resources increases the total quality and accessibility of the developer ecosystem.
  • Many open-source tools require a large amount of funding and consideration for industry standards, involvement with the CIP program.
  • In order to de-risk adoption efforts for Cardano, it is critical to have a large and diverse community of developers. Open Source Developer Ecosystem is the greatest enabler for this.
  • Given the size of the Cardano ecosystem, and its position to deliver real-world solutions, there are close to 100 open-source resources available today, while 500+ is expected as a metric for a sustainable, diverse ecosystem
  • The developer ecosystem to be open-source also needs to include conversations and governance on standards, parameter changes, and other relevant topics which is central to the understanding of Cardano. At the moment there is no clear roadmap for when these decisions will become more inclusive under the delivery of Voltaire.

2. Accelerate Decentralized Identity - US$ 425,000 (7% of Fund 7)

This challenge will pave the foundation for identification of parties in the blockchain ecosystem. Digital Identity is the translator of all physical goods to be referenced and represented on a blockchain and is crucial to ensure widespread global adoption of blockchain technology for real use cases.

Decentralized Identity, their development and use cases shift focus of blockchains to be utility based instead of investment based.

The type of digital identity is equally important as is the option of Self-Sovereign Identity and

Digital Identity is one of the most important topics that the generation of IT professionals has to decide on.

2.1 Gaps in how this challenge is currently addressed

  • To be able to develop usable solutions, financial resources are needed and much more funding is required in future Catalyst funds.
  • I would also like to point out that it is a huge setback that the Open Source Developer Ecosystem is so small as $ 200k and the Development challenge as a whole is not there. You may argue that new development related challenges Nation Building Dapps, Gamers On-chained and DApps & Integrations total to $1.1M, but this split makes the scope more specific and narrow than the general and free definition of challenge name to “Development”. It is also better to have fewer and larger challenges instead of smaller and more specific as this will get more projects funded.
  • Proposers should specify that they will contribute to the open-source community on delivery of projects, and make example code to make use of the released tool.
  • “I would like Cardano to take a lead in this space and closely work with others to establish the necessary standards for a decentralized, secure, permissionless technology that everyone can safely use to handle their digital identity.”
  • No mention of EBSI, one of the largest government funded DID programs. How to bring these trending industry groups and standards for DIDs to Cardano?
  • In general there is a lack of clarity on how the Cardano Ecosystem at large will benefit from this Challenge. Do third parties get to deploy identity solutions on Cardano?
  • The general challenge is missing: “how to better market DIDs on a public permissionless blockchain to legacy actors like governments and banks, who normally use consortium or private permissioned solutions?”

2.2 Insights into addressing this challenge

  • Decentralized Identity is a core area that needs to be established early on, not bolted on in later stages of Cardano’s ecosystem maturity.
  • The more uniform the integration with identity solutions, the more established Cardano is to have a competitive-edge for adoption and regulated market acceptance (compliance use cases)
  • This challenge will pave the foundation for identification of parties in the blockchain ecosystem, and is crucial to ensure widespread global adoption of blockchain technology for real use cases, and to shift focus of blockchains to be utility based.
  • DID is a building block for further Applications which have mass market applications and integration with public institutions.
  • Digital Identity is the translator of all physical goods to be referenced and represented on a blockchain. The types of digital identity is equally important as is the option of Self-Sovereign Identity.
  • “Digital Identity is one of the most important topics that the generation of IT professionals has to decide on.”

2.3 Review of Campaign Brief

  • While this challenge lacks a challenge team, it is led by IOHK and enables individuals to participate in the Atala PRISM Pioneer Program.
  • This provides great access to deep dive into the Digital Identity industry and learn from the Professional Services Group at IOHK.
  • The missing components of this challenge is stating what outputs will be available as community resources, and if Atala PRISM will have any open-source components or other solutions for independent third-parties to use.
  • Another core area which is lacking is the clear support for third-party Digital Identity.

3. Dapps & Integration - US$250,000 (4% Funding)

3.1 Gaps in how this challenge is currently addressed

  • Clear Market problems should be defined and prioritized
  • Clear Market opportunities which can unlock additional utility should be second
  • The main bottleneck to DApps and Integrations is the lack of open-source tooling. This is mainly a technical barrier and is more appropriate for later stage development.
  • Fundamental issue to drive DApp development is to first grow the general Developer Ecosystem on Cardano. A good example here is having a PAB to enable DApps with smart contracts.

3.2 Insights into addressing this challenge

  • DApps are highly important to be relevant in the cryptocurrency industry
  • There are currently a lack of functional DApps on Cardano which is needed in order to reach our potential as a Global Financial Operating System.
  • Developing open-source components is key benefit to everyone.
  • dApps are the key to expend the uses of Cardano and its ecosystem and to avoid a stagnation of its growth and evolution
  • Focus on solutions which provide mass market applications to build a competitive advantage in real markets.

3.3 Review of Campaign Brief

  • Dapps and Integrations are key to create new business models on Cardano and leverage the creativity of the global community.
  • There should be a global ecosystem mindset at this stage instead of a regional focus as this limits the number of opportunities and talent to take part.
  • What existing DApps and Integrations can be further leveraged?
  • What new DApps and Integrations can unlock additional value for the Cardano ecosystem?
  • Open-Source projects should be given priority

4. Gamers On Chained US$250,000 (4% total Fund 7)

Gaming is a great way to add additional utility to Cardano and is definitely a great way to get people onboard as gaming address a young and motivated target group which is already familiar with the use of virtual money, tokens and NFTs, the entry barrier for gamers to join the cryospace is relatively low and an effective and short way to mass adoption.

With more than 2.5 billion gamers around the world, the Gamers On Chained Challenge takes focus on an neverending growing community, market and industry and is definitely well placed.

4.1 Gaps in how this challenge is currently addressed

  • What existing solutions for Gamers on-chain can be further developed under this fund?
  • Further develop libraries and code examples that developers can use.
  • Example: the Serialization documentation is currently geared towards exchange applications and lacks examples for developers not familiar with Cardano.
  • Further information on tokenomics and use-case examples for in-game currencies, NFT applications, and general industry expertise where this knowledge needs to be brought to Cardano.
  • Are there ways to invite gaming companies to Catalyst to serve as a deployment partner for any solutions?

4.2 Insights into addressing this challenge

  • With the CardanoSharp Library (.net/c# serialization), we can have a big impact on how games use the blockchain. This library can easily integrate with the big game engines since they use or can use C#.
  • This challenge could be used to focus on new games that can start with blockchain integrations or help existing games begin that process. Video games are, imo, one of the best use cases for NFTs. Video game NFTs can server a real purpose to the holder and the game.
  • Useful integrations with wallets in the browser and guidelines are important to develop in order to deliver advanced applications with video games.
  • There are some dependencies on smart contracts but a greater emphasis can be on existing documentation and guides for example applications.

4.3 Review of Campaign Brief

5. Boosting Cardano DeFi US$500,000 (8% Total Fund 7)

5.1 Gaps in how this challenge is currently addressed

  • DeFi Applications have their own sub-set of development work, applications, and infrastructure which needs to be developed, tested, optimized, and made open-source so there is inclusive participation to deliver a high quality developer experience and end-user journey.

5.2 Insights into addressing this challenge

  • Right now Cardano DeFi is the most important application to drive further market adoption.
  • DeFi products need to successfully attract users, add value, and increase network effects.
  • Plutus Script optimisations, PAB variants,

5.3 Review of Campaign Brief

  • Distributions should be made to fund core Cardano DeFi and the enablement of Plutus tooling or smart contract deployment.
  • The structure of this challenge with a budget distribution of 20% per team is very sensible to focus on quality proposals. This is a key section which should be used as a standard for all challenges going forward.
  • Expert reviewers are requested given the subject matter.


The most important Challenge in the opinion of the Ambassadors Guild is the Fund 7 | Fund 8 Challenge Setting. Without this challenge, there wouldn’t be the possibility for the community to submit any challenge proposals at all.

The Fund 7 | Fund 8 Challenge Setting allows the Community to submit all challenges for the future Project Catalyst Fund 8 round. This Challenge gives the Community the possibility to set the whole environment for the next funding round on their own ideas and visions.


Extremely helpful and well done Felix and Ambassadors Guild.


The amount of irony in this post is astonishing.

Felix and his team being the proposers in the Open Source Development ecosystem and they do not even follow the challenge brief they seem to be so keep to promote.

Just a reminder, their Ledger Live proposal:

  • Asks for almost 40% of the challenge funds
  • Aims for end-users, having nothing to do with developers
  • Will be build on top of a proprietary technology, “vendor locking”
  • Targets a proprietary hw wallet software
  • They claim that this will prevent user hacks, suggesting it is less secure to use a hardware wallet with 3rd party software

Food for thought.


Thanks @Felix_Weber for the review. It’s helpful to understand more about the Challenge setting proposal. Not many people discuss and explain well about “Challenge setting” so far. Really appreciate for the explanation :beers:


Thank you for posting this Felix.

I believe it’s worth noting that the F7/F8 “Challenge” Setting began in Fund 3 as “Community Choice” with $500,000 in funding,, in January, 2021. The “Community Choice” Campaign brief deserves a review as do all the the titles of the proposals and then compare that to Fund 7/8 Challenge Setting proposals.

We are one week away from voting on proposals that will share $12.8M that will be used to finance Fund 8. and many of the proposals are quite similar to Fund 3 and extremely similar to the proposals in Fund 4/5 Challenge Setting.

It appears this document states that 832000 ADA will be paid to voters, or 13% of each Challenge Amount.
If compensating voters was a Challenge in the above analysis, where would it rank?
If compensating Community Advisors was a challenge, at 5% of each Challenge, where would it rank?
As it is structured now, the Community Advisor role is defined by providing assessments during a one week period, to serve primarily as a guide for the voters. It seems that the limited time commitment of this structure engages with participants that are newer to Catalyst and those with a limited time involvement. I believe this supports the call for those with domain expertise to provide expert assessments.

There is also a week where the proposer(s) review the assessments, which falls into the Quality Assurance stage, and can be quite intensive with multiple proposals. I believe this stage of a campaign is overlooked, misunderstood, and is deserving of compensation should proposers provide reviews and still not be funded through the voting algorithms. The proposers are the most engaged participants of Catalyst and the only role that is not guaranteed some reward for their contributions. It is the proposers and the community that have the most to lose due to this arrangement, in my opinion.

There is one week before voting on the Fund 8 Challenge setting proposals begin. In 5.3, it is mentioned that a budget distribution of 20% per team is sensible. Which teams are being referenced for this 20% of $500,000?

Challenge briefs are available now and should have been written by Challenge Teams.

For those that are registered, voting begins in one week.


Perfect timing yes?

Hey Keobao…

Thanks for raising concerns and to voice your opinion.

First, you point to a topic which is not really related to the Fund 7 Challenge ranking & review. But, let me respond to your statement anyway :slight_smile:

The Challenge Brief of the Open source Developer Ecosystem Challenge is very aligned to our proposal. To elaborate on the Proposal and on the proposal/challenge alignment, we hosted a Catalyst Swarm After Town Hall Room on wednesday January 5th with Markus from the Ambassadors and Roman & Fabrice from the Ledger Team. ( what covers one part of the challenge Brief already…… organising events to bring the open source community together :wink: )

As the room was a public space where everyone can enter and participate, we also went to an open Q&A Session after the Proposal Presentation, where you will find answers to your questions.

Check the part where we speak about the open source aspects of the proposal

The full parts can be watched here:

Part 1 ( Proposal Presentation )

Part 2 ( Open Q&A Session )

One Point you mentioned which was not covered in the open session is the budget calculation of the proposal.

The Challenge has a total available amount of 200.00 USD worth in ADA. Our Proposal asks for 75.000 USD. It’s true that we are asking for a high % of the available budget, but that’s simply what the execution of the proposal requires. If it could be done cheaper and to the same quality we surely would take that opportunity, but that’s simply not the case.

If you want a high quality proposal execution, the 75.000 USD is the price it costs. Ledger and the involved Ambassadors earn not a single ADA or Cent on this Proposal. Our ( The Ambassadors Team ) engagement is volunteer based… I think that it is worth to keep this in mind as well when people come and critic the Proposal


100% agree with these concerns.