Review 2019 : The Ethereum Cat Herders
The Ethereum Cat Herders is a group of individuals from the Ethereum community working to support Ethereum non-technical errands. Introduced in January 2019, the goal was to provide assistance with the All Core Developers’ meeting notes to update the community on what developers are working on and create engagement to make Ethereum a decentralized space in its truest sense. Since the inception of the group, the Ethereum Cat Herders have come a long way.
The first significant milestone in 2019 was Constantinople/St. Petersburg update that was deployed on the main network on Feb 28, 2019. Initially, the Constantinople upgrade was planned for block number 7,080,000. That upgrade had to be postponed due to a security vulnerability. The Ethereum Cat Herders (ECH) released a report The Constantinople Ethereum Hard Fork Postponement to let the community know what happened behind the scenes. This was also the beginning of the Ethereum Cat Herders community support in practice. The ECH joined the core developers and initiated communication with the major stakeholders of the community for Constantinople2. Reaching out to mining pools, exchanges, wallets, and other infrastructure providers, the Cat Herders opened channels of direct communication.
Ethereum All Core Developers and Ethereum 2.0 meeting transcripts
We received tremendous appreciation for the meeting notes made available for the community. Initially, only the transcripts of All Core Dev meetings were made available but after receiving a grant from Moloch DAO, and a donation from the Aragon team; more community participants got involved and Eth 2.0 meeting transcripts are also being taken care of by the Cat Herders.
Another subject of consideration that utilized significant community bandwidth is ProgPoW. Introduced by the group IfDefElse, it is a proposed change to the mining algorithm of Ethereum blockchain. Considering the contentiousness of the subject, ECH proposed to help the core developers with community signaling and the coordination of the technical audit. For any decision on whether to accept or reject EIP 1057, it was important to understand community sentiments. The Cat Herders played a significant role in gathering the viewpoints and the collection of funds required for the security audits. Not only was the audit conducted successfully, but 100% of individual contributors were refunded.
Devcon is the largest annual developer conference for Ethereum and in 2019, the community gathered in Osaka for the fifth edition. The Cat Herders participated in a workshop on the opening day with the Fellowship of Ethereum Magicians (FEM) team and the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) on how to move forward collectively to help the community in 2020. Devcon 5 turned out to be a turning point and the group acquired a vision to emerge as the much-needed ‘Ethereum Support Desk’.
This network upgrade carried a lot of weight and marked another milestone for the year. After Constantinople, core developers wanted to introduce the concept of a planned upgrade to ensure the readiness of nodes and other major stakeholders. Following the new model, developers wanted to discover a viable process to be followed for future upgrades in the Ethereum blockchain. Istanbul was the first upgrade that was end-to-end supported by the Cat Herders. Participation started by gathering the EIPs for consideration for the upgrade and continued by communicating about the testnet upgrade and concluding with the pre-upgrade communication with the infrastructure providers. The Cat Herders also provided an open platform by organizing a community call and inviting core developers, clients and other members of the community to answer any question related to the upgrade or anything in general, related to Ethereum. The live-streamed Istanbul Upgrade Countdown Party put on by the Cat Herders was an exciting event with a lot of community engagement!
Muir Glacier Upgrade
Another exemplary action of coordination was the success of the Muir Glacier upgrade. It was a challenge in itself to update the community about an upcoming upgrade to be deployed in less than a month since the previous one. Accepting the challenge, and with tremendous coordination, over 92% of nodes were in sync at the time of upgrade. The Muir Glacier upgrade was a huge success and was deployed on mainnet on Jan 02, 2020.
The Ethereum Cat Herders want to thank all the amazing developers and wonderful community members for another glorious year in Ethereum. We look forward to continuing to help the Ethereum ecosystem with coordination in 2020!
(I’d like to thank Hudson Jameson and Helena Flack for reviewing this article.)