One EIP To Rule Them All: Nick Johnson And The Fellowship Of Ethereum Magicians

The lead developer for the Ethereum Name Service has created an Ethereum Improvement Proposal … to improve Ethereum Improvement Proposals.

  • Simple in premise but profound if practiced, an Ethereum Improvement Proposal (EIP) has been created to address shortcomings in the overall EIP process.

    Submitted by Ethereum core developer and lead architect of the Ethereum Name Service, Nick Johnson, the new EIP draft for total EIP lifecycle management would help to revise some longstanding issues originally implemented with EIP 1 back in 2015.

    Specifically addressing issues surrounding the acceptance and approval of EIP drafts, and removing some of the ambiguity related to how EIP editors merge new code with the blockchain, Johnson’s new EIP (EIP #956) seeks to provide specific criteria and bring overall simplification to the draft/acceptance/merger workflow.

    Updating the EIP process is currently a hot topic, receiving notable attention – alongside scalability and legal compliance – at the Ethereum Community Conference (ETHCC) in Paris earlier this month. However, although Johnson has taken the lead in posting this issue on GitHub, he made it clear to ETHNews that revising the EIP process has been something many Ethereum developers have been thinking about for some time. “There’s been discussion over revising EIP 1 since before ETHCC,” Johnson told ETHNews. “In its current incarnation, it’s a bit vague as to how EIPs progress through the process, leaving a lot to individual editor decisions. The editors themselves often don’t feel qualified to make that decision, so progress often stalls.”

    Rethinking some of Ethereum’s inner workings has, traditionally, been something rather commonplace for both core developers and the broader ecosystem in general. The consensus algorithm switch from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake is perhaps the highest-level example of this revisionist philosophy that’s been attached to Ethereum since its early years.

    This tradition of constant improvement was continued in Paris by a self-organized grouping of Ethereum developers calling themselves The Fellowship of Ethereum Magicians, brought together by two of Johnson’s developer colleagues, Jamie Pitts and Greg Colvin.  

    “During [the] ETHCC event,” Johnson continued, “we had the first meeting of the ‘ Fellowship of Ethereum Magicians,’ and along with other online discussions that helped bring the issue to a head. Shortly thereafter, I attended IETF [the Internet Engineering Task Force, a body dedicated to creating open standards for internet architecture] here in London, and tried to make a point of learning as much about the IETF’s standardization process as possible. I’ve tried to write a proposal that takes the best aspects of the IETF process and integrates them with the EIP process in order to accommodate our needs.”

    Johnson’s update for EIPs can be tracked and reviewed via github. 

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