Ethereum Developers In Search of Hard Fork Coordinators After Successful Constantinople Upgrade

News and Analysis

After successful Constantinople/St. Petersburg update on February, 28, Ethereum’s core developers are looking for new hard fork coordinators.

Last month, core developer and release manager at infrastructure company Parity Technologies Afri Schoedon parted ways with Ethereum after a controversial tweet that sparked outrage on social media. Schoedon had been responsible for managing Ethereum’s hard fork updates, in addition to various other tasks related to the platform’s ongoing development.

Schoedon’s departure led to a conversation among the Ethereum core developers on Friday concerning the search for a new candidate for hard fork coordinator and the definition of the role.

In a March 2 meeting, Hudson Jameson, the Ethereum Foundation community relations manager, explained that the the role of Ethereum’s hard fork coordinator would involve “[determining] hard dates for submitting [ethereum improvement proposals] EIPs for consideration, deciding on those EIPs, implementation and testing and then finally what day the hard fork would be.”

Jameson also specified that such a coordinator “wouldn’t be a dictator in this regard,” but, instead, would suggest different options after considering all the relevant data.

Rather than delegating the role to a single individual, Ethereum core developers agreed that the role of hard fork coordination could be split between two to three individuals.

Highlighting that a number of candidates have already stepped up to offer their support, Jameson concluded that the task of assessing applicants would be delegated to a group of Ethereum volunteers called the “Ethereum Cat Herders.” The group was initially started back in January by developer Lane Rettig, Jameson and Schoedon “for the broader purpose of coordination and project management” within the Ethereum ecosystem.

After a delay caused by a bug discovered by Swiss cybersecurity firm ChainSecurity in January, Ethereum blockchain went through two separate, near-simultaneous hard fork upgrades at block 7,280,000 on February 28. The first of them, dubbed Constantinople, has introduced a series of backward-incompatible changes to the world’s second largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization. The second upgrade, St. Petersburg, was meant to delete a previous update, EIP-1283, from Ethereum’s test networks, since that particular EIP had been identified to have security vulnerabilities.

Currently, Ethereum’s developers are planning to make further changes to the Ethereum network through another upgrade called Istanbul, in addition to exploring possibilities of switching to a new type of ETH mining algorithm called Prog proof-of-work.

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