The Heartbeat of Cardano.

Dandelion: Cardano API Marketplace

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The Cardano community can increase the accessibility of decentralized applications by building a network of open APIs that are freely accessible by the public. However, the ecosystem still has a shortage of professional deployments of Cardano API gateways. This limits the ability of light dApps and other decentralized services to operate at scale. A team of developers is looking to address this gap by building a market of API gateway deployments that will support projects built on Cardano, especially those highly critical solutions in the DeFi space. 

The Team Behind the Project

Robert C. Morano, a software engineer and DevOps advocate with over 15 years of experience, has put forward his Dandelion project as part of Fund 5 proposals in the Scale-UP Cardano’s DeFi Ecosystem category. Robert, who is also a co-founder of Gimbalabs, previously worked with Emurgo as a DevOps lead advocate. As a stake pool operator and active contributor to the Cardano community, he is well-placed to lead his team to develop a central marketplace for Cardano APIs.

Reinforcing the Support of Infrastructure for Cardano Deployments

One of the biggest challenges of adhoc blockchain deployments has been keeping up with increased traffic and handling high peak loads when users flood the network. A case in point is the incident when the Yoroi wallet slowed down processing transactions after a spike in traffic. This happened when multiple NFT projects were launched simultaneously, thereby increasing the transactions traffic in the network.  If you haven’t heard of the incident yet, Sebastian Guillemot from Emurgo shares more details in this video.

It is impossible for large apps and solutions to run solely on-chain. Off-chain solutions will always be needed for scaling.  However, there are two main problems that blockchain ecosystems face when building decentralized solutions. First, it is challenging for developers to set up every Cardano API they use and deal with frequent updates or releases. Secondly, there are no incentives for developers and operators who address these challenges on behalf of the community.

Robert’s team is looking to build and maintain a network of Cardano APIs that consumers across the ecosystem can use and trust. The Dandelion platform will be a free and open marketplace where users can choose the most suitable deployments for their needs. 

 A Self-servicing API market for the Community

The Dandelion market project will be building on the “Cardano API as a Community Service” project, which was initially voted as a winner on Fund 2. The Dandelion APIs service has facilitated bootstrapping of more than ten projects since Fund 2. Some notable projects using it include SpaceBudz, AdaBoost Cardano Calendar, Lift-wallet, Raywallet, MONAD’s pool network observability tool, Blocktales interactive book, Cryptomayor NFT portal, LacedWhales Twitter bot, Cardano metadata Viewer, and many more. 

Most of these projects and others within the ecosystem are in development stages where they might need backing services to support their production workload. Enhancing the existing technology to make Dandelion a self-servicing API will be the focus of this project. The goal is to have a platform where consumers can buy and employ Cardano native assets as a master key to access the backing service. API consumers will also have the option to choose the most appropriate deployment from the platform. 

Once done, developers and stake pool operators will leverage this decentralized app store to deploy stake pool infrastructure or build dApps at scale with minimal barriers. The plan is to nurture a network by developing the tools needed to ease the deployment and maintenance. It will also double up as a way to incentivize stake pool operators by providing a community platform for monetizing such services using Cardano native assets.

Insight on the Roadmap

The team behind this project has a clear three-month roadmap for bringing this idea to life. Here’s a high-level overview of their implementation plan:  

  • Set up staging environments and maintain two separate production versions to help projects handle migrations
  • Deploy the service in at least two new locations to provide a minimal level of redundancy to the network
  • Look for stake pool operators who can deploy on extra locations
  • Start promoting the initiative within the Cardano community through proper documentation
  • Integrate the Fund5 proposal work on an authorization mechanism based on Cardano native assets
  • Start researching and planning a Minimal Viable Product MVP for the reputation system

Project Budget 

The proposing team is requesting a total funding of $24,300 to push this initiative to the next level within three months. Here’s a breakdown of their proposed budget:

Remuneration for technical project leadTakes ownership of product development and spearheads integrations$2000 for 3 months: $6,000
Remuneration for Systems administrator/DevOps advocateTakes ownership of the community service deployments and helps with open-source development$2000 for 3 months: $6,000
Remuneration for Community ManagerBuilds the brand on social media and other community platforms$1000 for 3 months: $3,000
Remuneration for project proposerBuilds and leads all business sustainability and continuity initiatives$1000 for 3 months: $3,000
Budget for operational costsDeploy different versions of the service in different locations3x deploys $500/mo x3 months: $4500
Budget for contributing SPOsHelp experienced SPOs to bootstrap their own deploy3x deploys $300/mo x3 months: $1800
Total budget estimates$24300

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re a Cardano developer or a stake pool operator, you’ll definitely need Dandelion. Having a platform that provides all the resources to develop your infrastructure is key to scaling both new and existing solutions. The Dandelion API community service will support a wide range of applications across the Cardano ecosystem, from stake pools to dApp platforms and DeFi protocols. 

For more information about the Dandelion API marketplace project, please look at their official website or check out their Fund 5 project proposal as submitted to Project Catalyst using the link below:

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