HomeEtherumUpdate for Ethereum Foundation Spring 2019

Update for Ethereum Foundation Spring 2019

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1. Introduction

Ethereum Community, Ethereum’s future is bright. Over the last 12 months the Ethereum community — a global collection of developers, entrepreneurs, researchers, and passionate users — has made tremendous progress. Every week, new applications built on Ethereum launch to mainnet, scalability solutions come online, and ETH 2.0 moves closer to key milestones. Ethereum remains the de-facto platform for decentralized applications, and is used every day to secure billions of dollars in digital assets. The Ethereum Foundation’s team is thrilled to see the progress happening across the community.

We have worked to support the ecosystem since Ethereum’s earliest days as a non-profit dedicated only to doing what is best for Ethereum. As the ecosystem has matured, the Ethereum Foundation has refined its focus. “Doing what is best for Ethereum” doesn’t mean trying to do everything — it means focusing on where we can add the most value, and leaving space for others to add value in the areas that they will be the most effective.

So what is the Ethereum Foundation’s role today? The Ethereum Foundation is a resource allocator, a voice in the ecosystem, and an advocate for Ethereum to the world.

Resource Allocator

Today, the Foundation holds approximately 0.6% of all ETH, as well as reserves held in cash. These resources are intended to decrease over time, as they are invested in critical work across the ecosystem. These are significant amounts of capital but they are not infinite. It is our responsibility to ensure that every last dollar and wei is spent effectively. We are also working to grow the Ethereum ecosystem’s funding base. This means encouraging other organizations besides the Foundation to support high-priority projects, and supporting innovative mechanisms for funding, including Gitcoin grants and MolochDAO. Efforts like these give us better leverage from our existing resources, and help build a sustainable path for funding vital projects far into the future.

A voice in the ecosystem

We understand that many look to the Foundation as a valued voice even as we move to proactively empower others. That voice is a resource that can be used effectively to advance Ethereum. We are able to, for instance, bring attention to important but relatively unknown projects, share valuable information about Ethereum’s progress with the public, and encourage the growth of regional Ethereum communities. Moving forward, expect the Ethereum Foundation to be a more active voice in the Ethereum community.

An advocate for Ethereum to the world

To the outside world, Ethereum can be confusing — and that’s probably an understatement. Many newcomers don’t understand our vibrant and decentralized ecosystem because they’ve never seen anything like it before. When someone (a major company, a government or a regular person) finds their way into our world, the Ethereum Foundation is often their first stop. The first thing we tend explain is that the Ethereum ecosystem is distributed and not owned or operated by any foundation or organization. Our Foundation helps to represent Ethereum to the outside world as an effective portal that people can pass through to the ecosystem itself. We also recognize a need to take more initiative in growing the Ethereum ecosystem, on-boarding developers and improving the developer experience. As discussed in more detail below, we intend to deploy significant resources towards these goals.

2. Our Philosophy

Ethereum is not a typical open-source project, and the Foundation is not a typical organization. Successfully fostering a vibrant decentralized Ethereum ecosystem requires a specialized approach. Even as we deploy significant resources across the ecosystem to improve Ethereum, we must do so in a way that maintains the core spirit of decentralization. We have deliberately adopted a philosophy of subtraction, which informs everything that we do. In plain language, following a philosophy of subtraction means resisting the natural tendency of organizations to grow and accumulate value within themselves, and ensure instead that this value is created outside the Foundation in the broader Ethereum ecosystem. Instead of capturing opportunities for ourselves, we distribute those opportunities to the community. Instead of pulling everything in-house, we push our resources out to teams across the ecosystem. We don’t compete with the ecosystem — we are thrilled when other organizations create value, because that means Ethereum is becoming more decentralized and sustainable. The Ethereum Foundation succeeds if Ethereum succeeds, and Ethereum succeeds with a strong decentralized community. That understanding governs how we work.

3. Highlights from Ethereum Foundation-supported teams

The last 12 months have been a crucial period for Ethereum, and we have worked extremely hard to support teams across the ecosystem. Encompassing all the progress made by teams supported by the EF in this letter is impossible, but here is a selected sample:

  • ETH 2.0 client teams
  • ETH 1.x
  • ZK-rollup
  • ETHGlobal
  • Ethereum Academic and Research Collaboration
  • Working with prominent organizations to encourage their engagement with the Ethereum ecosystem

There’s a lot more being done by Foundation-supported teams than just the examples listed above. Stay tuned for more updates coming from these teams in the next few weeks.

4. Allocating Resources over the next 12 months. An ecosystem-level view for Ethereum support

Today, we’re excited to share more information about the Foundation’s priorities for the next year, and how we expect to allocate resources across the ecosystem. As we’ve learned and iterated, we’ve made necessary changes to our processes and priorities. When the Ethereum ecosystem was much smaller, it made sense for the Foundation to prioritize several “in-house” teams to work on the most fundamental projects.…

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