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Traditional financing models have played a pivotal role in raising billions of dollars in the fast-paced world of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. However, as with any system, these models have their limitations. Enter Project Catalyst, a community-driven governance and grants mechanism within the Cardano ecosystem. This initiative challenges the status quo and reshapes how we fund crypto projects. During the recent Cardano Summit in Dubai, Kriss Baird, the face of Project Catalyst, shared insights on the project’s mission, the collective’s engagement in shared resources, and the future direction of the platform’s development.

The Pitfalls of Traditional Funding Models

Kriss Baird pinpointed a critical issue within traditional financing models: a select few individuals often control the decision-making process. This centralization of power can hinder the potential for community involvement, ultimately resulting in suboptimal outcomes. Baird argued that this approach fails to empower communities to drive meaningful societal change actively. In contrast, decentralized funding initiatives offer a form of “direct democracy,” allowing crypto holders to voice their ideas and concerns.

The Problem with Centralized Decision-Making

Traditional financing models in the crypto and blockchain sectors have often left the decision-making power in the hands of a select few. This centralized approach has raised concerns, as it limits community involvement and can lead to suboptimal outcomes. Kriss Baird, the principal figure of Project Catalyst, highlights the shortcomings of this traditional model, emphasizing the need for change.

Baird argues that, in traditional financing, decisions regarding the allocation of funds are made by only a handful of individuals. This lack of inclusivity hampers the crypto community’s ability to shape the future of the ecosystem actively. In response to this issue, decentralized funding initiatives provide a platform for crypto holders to participate in the decision-making process, creating a more democratic approach.

Navigating the Challenges of Decentralization

While decentralized funding platforms bring immense potential, they also present unique challenges. Baird acknowledged the vast scale of community-driven projects, which can be overwhelming. Decentralized communities consist of tens of thousands of stakeholders and projects scattered across the globe. This diversity makes it challenging to achieve a consensus on operating effectively. 

The Complex Landscape of Decentralized Communities

Decentralization, while empowering, presents its own set of challenges. The crypto community is a diverse global network comprising many stakeholders and projects. Kriss Baird’s insights shed light on the complexities of managing decentralized communities, particularly within the context of Project Catalyst.

Decentralized platforms aim to bring inclusivity and community-driven decision-making to the forefront. However, this approach is not without its difficulties. With many voices, opinions, and projects, reaching a consensus on effectively operating becomes a significant challenge. This intricate landscape of decentralized communities demands innovative solutions and a commitment to fostering collaboration.

Solving the Dilemma: Milestone-Based Funding and Accountability

Project Catalyst’s response to this challenge is both innovative and practical. They launched a pilot program in which the community decides which proposals receive funding and plays a crucial role in verifying that funded projects meet their set targets. This milestone-based funding approach, combined with a robust accountability model, ensures that the crypto community actively participates in the decision-making process and monitors the progress of funded projects.

The Road to Accountability and Transparency

Project Catalyst has introduced a novel decentralized funding approach focused on accountability and transparency. By implementing milestone-based funding and an accountability model, the initiative ensures that the crypto community actively participates in decision-making and monitors the progress of funded projects.

In the pilot program launched by Project Catalyst, the community assumes a pivotal role in the decision-making process. Not only do they determine which proposals receive funding, but they also play a crucial part in verifying that funded projects are reaching their predefined milestones. This innovative approach enhances transparency and accountability, addressing one of the critical challenges of decentralized funding.

Innovative Voting Mechanisms

Another notable change introduced by Project Catalyst is the voting system. After Fund 10, which allocated $16.5 million in Cardano (ADA), they revamped the voting process. The new design simplifies voting from upvotes and downvotes to a straightforward “yes-or-abstain” model. This alteration aims to encourage newer ecosystem members to contribute their ideas without the fear of facing downvotes. Baird emphasized the significance of supporting early-stage ideas, as innovation often takes root on the fringes. He also noted that the previous voting system may be reintroduced for more “mature” projects that have undergone user testing and received community feedback.

Revolutionizing the Voting Process

The voting mechanism within Project Catalyst is evolving to become more inclusive and encouraging for newcomers. After successfully allocating $16.5 million in Cardano (ADA) through Fund10, the project has introduced a simplified “yes-or-abstain” voting model. This change aims to promote the active participation of new members without the fear of encountering downvotes.

Kriss Baird underscores the importance of supporting early-stage ideas, as innovation often begins on the fringes of the crypto community. While the new voting system caters to this demographic, the project also remains open to reintroducing the previous voting system for more mature projects that have undergone testing and received valuable community feedback.

The Future of Decentralized Funding

When asked about his vision for decentralized funding, Baird painted a picture of a multi-tenant ecosystem. He envisions more communities from various blockchain networks, Web2 businesses, and governments adopting a similar approach. This vision underlines the potential of decentralized platforms to democratize the funding process within the crypto community and across various sectors.

Paving the Way for a Multi-Tenant Ecosystem

Kriss Baird’s vision for decentralized funding goes beyond the crypto community. He foresees a multi-tenant ecosystem where diverse communities, including those from different blockchain networks, Web2 businesses, and even governmental bodies, adopt a similar approach to funding. This vision can potentially democratize funding across various sectors, promoting inclusivity and innovation.

Project Catalyst’s Remarkable Achievements

Project Catalyst’s track record is nothing short of impressive. They have funded over 1,300 projects, raising 137 million ADA (approximately $60 million) since 2021. Baird anticipates the initiative will allocate over $100 million over the next four years, highlighting the project’s potential to redefine how crypto projects secure funding.

Project Catalyst’s Impact

Project Catalyst has already made a significant impact on the crypto community. Since 2021, the initiative has funded over 1,300 projects, raising an impressive 137 million ADA (equivalent to approximately $60 million). With ambitious plans for the future, Baird envisions the initiative allocating over $100 million in the next four years. This demonstrates the potential and influence of decentralized platforms in reshaping the funding landscape for crypto projects.


Decentralized platforms like Project Catalyst are at the forefront of a revolution in the crypto funding landscape. By involving the community in decision-making, establishing accountability measures, and simplifying the voting process, they are addressing the shortcomings of traditional financing models, fostering innovation, and empowering a global audience of crypto enthusiasts. As decentralized funding continues to evolve and expand, it promises to transform the blockchain and cryptocurrency development landscape, promoting inclusivity and amplifying the impact of crypto-driven projects. The future is bright, and decentralized funding initiatives are leading the way.

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