Catalyst Catastrophes #1: Misleading reporting by Ada’s Place

Ada Lovelace is not amused. Source: Getty Images via Wikimedia Commons

Catalyst Catastrophes is a series of brutally honest deep dives into projects from the bottom of the barrel at Cardano’s Project Catalyst.

Cardano’s Project Catalyst is a hive of innovation and a large-scale Experiment in decentralised project funding. But it is also a huge bag of cash – $16,000,000 in Fund 9. This amount of money up for grabs is bound to be a honeypot for grifters, money grabbers, and other riff raff. In a frantic attempt to shed some light on a few dodgy looking projects, Catalyst Catastrophes takes a deep dive into a few projects and proposals that seem a bit fishy.

CASE#1: ADA’S PLACE

In Fund 8 of Project Catalyst, a man named William Vincent Carleton was awarded $34k. His proposal was to create a Medium page called Ada’s Place and write 30 articles in 30 days. His site would be the source for Cardano news on Medium, he wrote. The timeline for completion of the project was May-June 2022.

Broken promises

Ada’s Place budgeted for a salary of $750 per article. Shockingly, the actual price ended up being much higher, a staggering $4,250 per article. Instead of publishing 30 articles in 30 days as promised, William V. Carleton published just 8 articles during the project period of 13 May – 13 June 2022.

William V. Carleton’s article on making money on Medium. $4250 per article to be precise.

In a later article, published on 19 June 2022, William Vincent Carleton admits that he did not fulfil his promises but does not explain why. None of the Medium articles are explicitly about Cardano, and they are certainly not the weekly interviews with key figures from the Cardano Foundation he indicated in the proposal.

Misleading reporting

Worse still, the official close-out video and report from Ada’s Place to Project Catalyst claim that the project delivered what it promised. Here, Carleton states that 30 articles were published in Ada’s Pace by 13 June 2022.

Ada’s Place final report to Project Catalyst, by William V. Carleton.

The monthly reports by Ada’s Place are equally misleading.  These reports are the documentation required by IOG to release instalments of funds over time, as a control mechanism to prevent abuse of the funding system. In these reports, Ada’s Place claims to have a massive 100 million daily active community members, although no articles had been published at the time the report was written.

It seems his “community of millions” are not reading the articles though. The Ada’s Place Medium page has just 6 followers, and the articles have around 300-500 “claps” each. Each Medium user can clap up to 50 times per article. To top it off, the documentation for this massive community in the monthly report is a pencil drawing of Ada Lovelace.

If you get caught in a lie, enough times, you must cover up that lie with more lies…until you are seen as a fool and become the laughing stock of the world. –  William V. Carleton, I Just Realised How to Get Paid on Medium, 2022.

Back for more in Fund 9

Using the name Immortaltype once again, Carleton has asked for an additional $43k in Fund 9, the current round of Catalyst funding.

Tarot or not tarot? Source: Ervín Pospíšil at cs.wikipedia, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

This time, he wants to draw a set of tarot cards, to somehow lure user over to Cardano from Ethereum. The mechanism for this is vague. Apparently, by using the cards, our wishes will be fulfilled. The proposal makes no sense and looks like a blatant cash grab. It  has nothing to do with Cardano or the Catalyst Challenge goal.

Besides this, Carleton is applying for $25k of funding in Fund 9 on behalf of his “Unix guru” father, James Carleton, to build “cyber real estate solutions” for the Cardano community.

Vetted competing proposals in Fund 8

Immortaltype, as Carleton calls himself on Discord, has also acted a Project Catalyst community assessor. Community assessors, now known as Project Assessors or PA’s, are tasked with vetting Catalyst proposals before voting begins. Immortaltype’s posts in the Catalyst United Discord server indicate that he assessed proposals in Fund 8. He also submitted a successful proposal in that round.

Daniel Ribar, IOG’s Catalyst liaison, confirmed in a Twitter post that assessors are no longer permitted to review proposals in rounds where they have submitted a proposal.

This means that William V. Carleton, who repeatedly made misleading claims in his own project reports, was responsible for vetting other projects in Fund 8. Since there is currently no identity verification of Proposal Assessors, there is no way to ensure that he was not an assessor in Fund 9 too.

You can decide which projects get funded – WE are Catalyst

If this article made you angry, don’t just go and rant on Twitter. Catalyst is us, the whole Cardano community.

First, vote on Fund 9!  Voting ends on Monday 19 September 2022 at 3 PM UTC. Or register to vote for Fund 10 if you are too late to register for Fund 9.

If you think this is FUD, here is my response. Independent, critical journalism is fundamental to any democratic system. Catalyst is in desperate need of curious, persistent, and independent investigators, who want the Experiment to succeed.

If you find any more catastrophic projects in the Catalyst Catacombs and Maze of Incessant Google docs, you are welcome to send me a message in the contact form below.


SHARE THIS ARTICLE