The Heartbeat of Cardano.

The Research DAO

Cardano is characterized by being a blockchain built with scientific procedures and protocols, based on the peer review of the scientific community, whether Universities, Foundations or Societies, mainly in the field of mathematics and computing.

IOHK, the developer of Cardano, has published 125 research papers, many of which have had this review, and many of these support the current development of the blockchain.

Research in the field of blockchain science is often opaquely funded, and much of the fundamental research in the crypto industry, as young as it is novel, remains unfunded.

Before explaining the Research DAO proposal, let’s first see what a DAO is.

What is a DAO?

A Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO), is a system that runs on a blockchain protocol completely and autonomously, according to rules encoded through smart contracts. By dispensing with the need for human intervention or centralized coordination, DAOs are often referred to as “trustless” systems.

With cryptographic instructions that automatically execute when pre-specified conditions are triggered, DAOs enable levels of transparency, cost savings and decentralized decision making that were previously unattainable.

The genesis of the DAO is to align stakeholder incentives, from founders, to equity holders (with governance tokens), to users and the community at large.

In my article posted on AdaPulse, you can learn more about DAO: Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO): The Brief History, Challenges, and Lessons Learned

What is the Research DAO?

Research DAO is an organization that was intended to fund open and transparent research, with academic peer review, in the field of blockchain science both in theory and in practice. 

In the published documentation, its vision towards openness, transparency and decentralization is defined, which is why it was created to fulfill its research objectives. As a decentralized autonomous organization, it is independent and makes decisions based on its own mission. 

In addition to the seed funds provided by treasury Harmony’s, (Harmony’s bridges can connect any Proof-of-Work and Proof-of-Stake chains), the DAO is also funded by its own members to help direct research directions that will benefit the community. 

They are also accepting proposals from other institutions that wish to become Research DAO funding partners. 

Cardano is based on its philosophy rooted in research, thereby aligning itself with the proposed idea to become one of the financial partners.

Focusing on high-impact, peer-reviewed research published in respected conferences and journals in the field, including specialized conferences on blockchain science (financial cryptography and ACM Advances in Financial Technologies), security (ACM CCS and IEEE S&P), privacy (the Privacy Enhancement Technologies Symposium), distributed computing (PODC and DISC), and cryptography (CRYPTO and EUROCRYPT).

Through Research DAO, Cardano will be able to reaffirm its commitment to open and transparent research. At the same time, any research funded by Research DAO can be used to improve Cardano, as it will be open source and patent-free.

The subfields of focus that DAO research is funding, such as proof-of-stake consensus, on-chain and off-chain scalability, and DeFi, are all highly relevant and much needed for the Cardano blockchain. A rigorous exploration of these topics would be of great benefit to Cardano. 

All researchers who receive funding through Research DAO, will be encouraged and probably will continue working to improve the Cardano blockchain, implementing their articles and increasing the value of the ecosystem.

They ensure that all funding will be transparent and posted on the website. In addition, they will require that all DAO-funded research be published under an open license for both the articles and the code, which makes them useful to the wider ecosystem.

Research funding will focus on 13 specific subfields of blockchain science, which consider the driving forces of future innovation: Bootstrapping, Interoperability, On- and off-chain scaling, Consensus (with a focus on Proof-of-Stake) , Formal Verification, Decentralized Finance, Networking, Economics, Privacy, Usable Security, Community, and Transparency.

In the first stage of operations, they will begin by funding travel grants for undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students who have been accepted to present their research papers at rigorously peer-reviewed field conferences. The first conference they will be providing travel grants for is the Financial Cryptography 2022 conference.

One of the areas of focus is ensuring that institutions conducting high-quality, rigorous research, and traditionally disadvantaged institutions (such as those with insufficient funds in developing countries), have the same opportunities for participation and representation as the rest, in the international research community.

The first call for proposals for travel grants is published on the website, where interested parties can apply by completing a form. 

Within the first three months of operation, the goal is to complete the financing of the 2022 Financial Crypto Travel Scholarships for Students.

Within six months, they plan to provide grants and funding for other conferences and fund small-scale research projects directly. 

Within twelve months, they aim to establish a continuous flow of grants from funding partners and members, to ensure large-scale research grant goals, in collaboration with laboratories at universities and institutions.

The Team

The team of governors consists of 9 members from the academic and industry communities, including Ph.D. candidates, post-docs and professors in the field at leading universities, institutions, open source projects and companies around the world, with representatives in Europe, USA and Asia. 

Among the members, two well-known developers from the Cardano community stand out, Sebastien Guillemot and Dionysis Zindros. Sebastien tells us about his incorporation in this tweet

Sebastien Guillemot

After working at Microsoft, he joined EMURGO (Cardano’s Consensys) as VP of Engineering and Product Manager at Cardano, where his team built products that reached 6-digit active user numbers, and led the development of SDKs used by large companies such as Coinbase. He is currently Co-Founder and CTO of dcSpark, a product based Blockchain company focused on building critical products and solutions on top of the most promising crypto projects in the space.

Dionysis Zindros 

Es a developer with PhD from the University of Athens, where he is currentlyresearcher, working with Prof. Aggelos Kiayias (IOHK’s Chief Scientist – Academic Research). His website for more information: https://dionyziz.com 

Funds requested 

For this project presented at Catalyst FUND7, which you can see here, they request USD 100,000.

Website: https://researchdao.io

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