Meeting 2 - November 25th, 2021

Meeting recording

Minutes of Catalyst Circle V2 Meeting #2

Abbreviations used

CA – Community Advisor

CC – Catalyst Circle

CF – Cardano Foundation

IOG – Input/Output Global

QA-DAO - Quality Assurance Distributed Autonomous Organisation

SPO – stakepool operator

TalTech Uni - Tallinn University of Technology

WADA – West Africa Decentralised Alliance


Nori Nishigaya (facilitator); Matthias Sieber (representing Cardano Foundation); Allison Fromm (representing general ADA voters); Stephen Whitenstall (representing Catalyst Coordinator); Megan Hess (deputising for Kenric Nelson, representing Community Advisors); Harris Warren (representing IOG); Raymond Mata (representing SPOs); Tevo Saks (representing Toolmakers and Maintainers); JP (secretary).

Speaker percentages

Harris (34%), Nori (14%), Allison (13%), Stephen (10%), Raymond (9%), Matthias (9%), Tevo (9%), JP (1%), Megan (1%)

1) Opening and Agenda (0:02)

  • Opening check-in 0:02

  • Announcements (none) 4:51

  • Agenda 5:17

2) Circle members' work (7:56)

The "CC stand-up" - each person says:

  • what they have worked on since last meeting

  • what they will be working on next

  • any blocks, or anything they need help with.

Matthias (9:11)

Allison (10:50)

  • Had discussions on Twitter about process of electing CC. Connected with Tony Rose re getting Prism pioneers more involved in Catalyst.

  • Planning to hold Office Hours, to be more contactable/accountable. Exploring how to track issues raised and make them actionable.

  • Would like ideas on better organisational structures, and support on building a core team of general voters. Also raised issue of legalities around IOG sponsoring lobbyists in a non-US country – something to check on.

Stephen (15:56)

  • Set up Catalyst Coordinator GitBook for problem-sensing the Funded Cohort process; announced and shared contact info at Town Hall. Began a GitBook for Challenge Teams, by popular demand, to aggregate all the challenge settings. Submitted several draft proposals, and “Improve and Grow Auditability” Fund 8 challenge setting.

  • Refining proposals; refining Coordinator problem-sensing; continuing work on Challenge Team aggregation; meeting with Gimbalabs on Jan 11th about “almost non-existing collaborative layer” problem currently on CC Trello board.

  • Planning to hand over some Fund 6 work on training, to allow me to work more on CC.

Megan (17:52)

  • Kenric has been working on a Fund 7 proposal around governance

  • No specific info from him on future work

  • Blocks – he has been very busy, which should improve after the weekend.

Harris (18:53)

  • Been working on roadmap – the next 6 to 12 months to transition from IOG as the custodian of Catalyst, to handover to the community; planning pilots to enable this.

  • Want to process feedback; and hand feedback-processing over more to the community.

  • No blockers.

Raymond (21:00)

  • Problem-sensing about how SPOs perceive Catalyst; building awareness and discussion of fund 7 proposals related to SPO issues.

  • Getting SPOs involved in the CA process, educating SPOs about becoming a CA

  • Have been busy and travelling.

Tevo (24:38)

  • Mini-proposal workshops; workshops in Sustainability event, and in Eastern Town Hall on introducing people to Catalyst; private session with WADA; meeting with TalTech University

  • Follow-up with TalTech Uni

  • Unsure on who I should get confirmation from before taking an action.

Harris Warren: presentation on Catalyst Parameters governance process (29:22)

  • 29:22 IOG wants to decentralise governance so people outside of IOG are involved in setting parameters related to Catalyst [how funds are spent; dates; voting power thresholds, voter / CA rewards, etc]

  • 30:22 Propose to start with a pilot to give CC some decision-making powers; and create a new additional governing body, Catalyst Expert Council.

  • 31:38 How parameters have been set until now

  • 33:13 Desired state is to open up parameter-setting to CC, with the proposed new Catalyst Expert Council co-defining the parameters. Iterate through each Fund, with people voted in to drive decision-making.

  • 34:08 This is about Catalyst-specific parameters only, not other things.

  • 35:15 Catalyst Expert Council would be able to decide or veto decisions.It would consist initially of people appointed by IOG:

    and later, its members would be elected.

  • Aim is a bicameral system: two bodies, supported by different processes.

  • Catalyst Expert Council would not meet on a regular basis; so CC admins and facilitators could support it in addition to CC

  • 38:02 Swim lane diagram/flowchart of the proposed governance process: how CC and the new Catalyst Expert Council would process feedback generated from IOG Catalyst Team’s feedback surveys, suggest parameter changes if feedback scores on an issue are low, and inform the community.

  • Decision on whether to make a change would be by voting – CC and the new Catalyst Expert Council would vote – simple show of hands, or on the blockchain.

  • 40:57 Ideally, we want automation of parameter changes; but IOG can start to hand over the decision-making process even before that capability is built.


  • Matthias (42.07) Why not include the community now? Harris (43:40) We do want to transfer decision-making quickly, but we don’t want to disrupt the ecosystem in the process. Best way is to transfer power iteratively. We think the process needs to evolve slowly. Need to define who is an “expert”.

  • Nori (46:05) To clarify, this is about Catalyst parameters only – CAs, voting, proposals, funding, etc. It’s not about block size or k-values, etc.

  • Matthias (46:24) Will the community be able to decide block size or k-values eventually? Harris: (46:37) We know the community will want to have influence over that; and we want to find ways to help them.

  • Allison (47:58) Would you change the name of the new body to make it clear that they’re playing a research and advisory role? And who has the power; if CC and the Expert Council vote differently, how is that resolved? Harris (50:34) We’re not attached to the Expert Council name; and we get to define how disagreement would be resolved.

  • Tevo (52:44) Could this involve changing processes, e.g. timescale of the funding cycle being too long? Harris (53:43) We wanted it to be shorter, but it evolved this way because we need to give the community enough time to make decisions. Automation could speed things up. But it is part of the parameters and could be discussed.

  • Raymond (55:22) I advise against the word “expert”; makes it sound like their voice is more important than all the others. Is it hierarchical – will the Expert Council ultimately have the say? I think Harris said that is still to be determined? Harris (56:39) Yes, we get to experiment.

  • Stephen (56:58) On “expertise” – the concept of domain expertise is useful. CC and the Expert Council are both experts in their own domains – so what outputs do they produce? Academic publications from Expert Council? CC publishing or problem sensing in our field of community expertise? Harris (58:16) Research is helpful and it’s good to consider outputs.

Harris Warren – proposals to support the above (59:11)

(59:11) Dor and Harris drafted “stub” proposals based on the above, to:

  • Support the new Catalyst Council, with additional scope

  • Introduce a second new body, called “Cardano Governance, Oversight and Improvements”, to provide oversight of CC and Catalyst Expert Council

  • Create a community-funded information hub.

Details of these proposals to be discussed; but basically, they aim to ensure:

  • no chance of adversarial capture

  • mechanisms to enforce accountability

  • systems that are understandable and easy to use

  • that we have the right people, data, methodologies, roles and policies

  • for it not to become bureaucratic.


  • Allison (1:05:09) Doesn’t this duplicate things that are already happening as initiatives from within the community? Harris (1:05:34) The intention is not to duplicate; maybe we can align the two.

  • Allison (1:06:26) Is the group elected? Harris (1:06:37) To be decided.

  • Allison (1:07:08) Doesn’t it create bureaucracy, rather than using what has emerged organically from the community?

  • Nori (1:07:59) Could Stephen comment from the point of view of QA-DAO?

  • Stephen (1:08:09) Need to make distinction between Cardano improvement process, and audit/oversight. Need to bring together people in the community already working on oversight: the Audit Circle, and the Auditability Challenge Team. Also, is it about oversight of Catalyst only, or Cardano/Voltaire? Harris (1:09:39) It is more about auditability; on that, we should align with existing initiatives. It’s also about accountability for the governance process itself; that would apply to Catalyst, Voltaire and Cardano.

  • Allison (1:12:05) Let’s ensure we don’t end up with competing proposals for Fund 7.

  • Nori (1:13:35) On “improvements”, I like the idea of reflective practice and retrospectives. Historically the Admin team has managed that – maybe simpler to keep it that way, and this new body to focus on oversight and accountability.

ACTION POINT: Stephen and Harris to set up separate meeting, and invite people to it, to discuss these issues. Harris to invite Dor Garbash.

4) KPI reporting for CC funded proposals (1:16:04)

Nori (1:16:04) – The current funded proposal is Power Up the Catalyst Circle; how will CC assess progress, and report to Coordinator meetings? Nori has submitted this month’s as a placeholder, to be updated next time.

ACTION POINT: move discussion to Slack.

5) Proposal submission (1:17:39)

Possible CC proposals:

Should CC members submit proposals as individuals, or as CCv2?

  • Submitting as CC can add weight

  • Also gives the community the chance to comment on CC.

  • We should not use CC as a platform for our personal proposals – what defines a CC proposal?

  • We should request a proposal to be submitted as CC; if no-one objects, it should be.

  • If something becomes a CC proposal, we are all responsible for responding to comments in IdeaScale and to CAs.

ACTION ITEM – list proposals in Slack; all tick which ones should be CC proposals.

ACTION ITEM: create a Slack channel for discussion/feedback on Harris’s Catalyst Parameters proposal.

Legitimacy and engagement (1:29:48)

Concern raised over CC members’ legitimacy and engagement with the communities they are each representing. Brief discussion of approaches to this.

ACTION ITEM: Create a Slack channel for discussion on legitimacy and outreach.

ACTION ITEM: include on Slack a “please share” space, to post announcements we would like other CC members to amplify for us on the channels they use.

ACTION ITEM: Admin team to create a list of all CC members, their contact details, and their preferred comms channels.

6) Alternative to Trello board (1:41:39)

Stephen proposes replacing Trello with a GitHub Project Board: it functions the same way but is open-source.

Stephen will give basic training to CC members if needed.


ACTION ITEM: all CC members to create a GitHub account if they don’t have one.

7) Expanding the Circle (1:46:53)

Discussion focuses on whether others, including Emurgo, should be invited to join CC.

1:51:26 – who controls the Cardano treasury?

1:53:15 What role do Emurgo play in the ecosystem?

DECISION: Not at present. Discussion to be continued on Slack.

8) Mapping tools (1:55:31)

Idea for CC members to find out what tools are being used by the group they represent.

ACTION ITEM: In Slack, all to comment whether this would be useful.

9) Meeting feedback (1:56:31)

Meeting ends 2:01:15

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