Atala PRISM Pioneer Cohort I

During the Cardano 2021 Summit, IOG announced the Atala PRISM Pioneer Program launch.

2 years ago   •   3 min read

By Pete Vielhaber
Table of contents

The Atala PRISM team is on a mission to create a dynamic ecosystem not possible using the current centralized systems worldwide. We aim to empower individuals to own, hold, and control their digital identity data. The first step on this journey is providing training and support for entrepreneurs, developers, designers, and those curious about Atala PRISM, self-sovereign identity (SSI), and making a positive impact with necessary innovation in this space with our technology.

During the Cardano 2021 Summit, IOG announced the first cohort of the Atala PRISM Pioneer program. We were thrilled to receive 1,500 applications from the passionate members of the Cardano community from diverse backgrounds all around the world with a variety of experiences as entrepreneurs, business owners, developers, designers, and educators to name a few.

Pioneer phase

The first cohort kicked off the last week of October 2021. We hand-picked 270 students after a careful review of their use cases. We sought high-value credentials that can be iterative, which will help drive the ecosystem's growth and adoption.

The Pioneers had the first-ever hands-on experience with the Atala PRISM SDK (software development kit). A huge perk was that pioneers had direct access to Atala PRISM's Engineers and Quality Assurance team through written, live Q&A sessions and the Discord platform. They provided excellent feedback, and some of that feedback has already been implemented in releases or will be in future releases.

Program overview

  • Access to Canvas for coursework and lectures
  • Access to IOG Engineers and Quality Assurance
  • Widen your network within the Cardano community
  • Invitations to virtual workshops & speed dating events
  • Access to Fireside chats with industry leaders
  • Open office hours with Atala PRISM Product Team
  • Supporting with proposal writing and pitch documentation
  • Access to IOG's Professional Services Group (PSG), which assisted with the commercialization of proof-of-concepts
  • Early to market opportunity in a rapidly growing ecosystem
  • Catalyst Challenge

I appreciated the exposure to a broad range of experts in the SSI community.

Butch Clark - Principal Engineer, Blockchain Technical Lead, DISH Network

Catalyst phase

Project Catalyst is a Cardano community-driven program that provides a platform for entrepreneurs to submit projects for funding. The Cardano community is allowed to ask questions, provide input, and vote on the projects they feel provide value to the Cardano ecosystem.

The primary objective of the Atala PRISM Pioneer program is to equip students with the knowledge and tools to build user-friendly apps that solve real-world problems. During the program's final weeks, we encouraged pioneers to rise to our Catalyst challenge, Fund 7: Accelerating Decentralized Identity. We supported the pioneers with one-on-one sessions, workshops, and copy editing during the initial stages of the Catalyst cycle.

Great lecturer, great PRISM Pioneer colleagues, we collaborated in Catalyst Fund 7 too.

Andreas Sosilo - Cardano Foundation Ambassador, Veteran Community Advisor, and Eastern Town Hall Team Member

Measure of success

The graphic above shows that 80% of the funded proposals came from the Atala PRISM Pioneer Program. The funding opportunities available through Catalyst and the Cardano community are an incredible resource to get a project off the ground. The foundation built in the program provided the framework for proposers to speak and write confidently about their projects and be able to provide realistic deliverables.

Wrap up

Overall, the feedback from the first cohort of pioneers has been positive. It was no surprise that the pioneers showed lots of love for Lars Brünjes and his lecture content. We were pleasantly surprised to hear how the pioneers appreciated the Fireside chats and how we challenged them with thoughtfully considering their approach while building with Atala PRISM.

Stay tuned for additional information about the Atala PRISM Pioneer Program, the subsequent cohorts, and other courses for Atala PRISM–which are coming! Feel free to contact us here for questions. Or register interest in the program here.

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