The Ethereum Cat Herders mid-year report
It is amazing to see that the Ethereum blockchain has already deployed two network upgrades this year — Berlin & London, almost ready for Altair (Beacon chain upgrade) and is getting prepared for at least one more network upgrade on the Ethereum chain before the end of the year. This report will share tasks & initiatives led by the Ethereum Cat Herders (ECH), a decentralized project management group contributing to the growth & development of the Ethereum ecosystem in Q2-Q3, 2021.
EIP awareness & process improvement
Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs) are the building block of the Ethereum blockchain. This is more than enough of a reason for us to keep it on the top of the priority list.
A popular educational video series talking about EIPs, ERCs, upcoming features, and key concepts of Ethereum blockchain.
15 new episodes have been recorded and published, including overviews of most of the core proposals included in upcoming and recent network upgrades, multiple episodes with Vitalik Buterin, and the PoS upgrade consensus proposal.
- Altair Beacon chain upgrade with Vitalik and Danny
- Altair — Accounting reform with Alex Stokes
- Altair in Teku with Adrian Sutton
- Fee market change with Tim Beiko, Barnabe Monnot, Micah Zoltu
- EIP-3540 & EIP-3541 with Alex B., Paweł B., Andrei M.
- Difficulty bomb & EIP-3554 with James Hancock
- EIP-3403: Partial removal of refunds with Vitalik Buterin & Martin Swende
- EIP-3198: BASE FEE opcode with Ratan Rai Sur
- ERC and application layer standards with Anett Rolikova
- EIP-2981: NFT Royalty Standard with Blaine Malone
- Block gas limit with Vitalik Buterin
- A Brief History of Ethereum’s Future with Ben Edgington
- MEV & Flashbots with Tomasz S.
Process improvement is an ongoing task. In the EIPIP bi-weekly meeting, the group primarily focuses on addressing the issues especially related to EIPs & bots and collecting improvement suggestions. We facilitate implementation by bringing specific issues to the attention of their respective working group.
Significant process improvement discussions, decisions, and work in progress tasks in the past six months are:
- Interface proposals — The group discussed the challenges in keeping the Interface EIPs up to date. It was decided that going forward, part of the Interface proposals (JSON RPC API) will NOT be added to the EIP GitHub repository but maintained at the Eth1.0-specs/json-rpc repository.
- Meta EIP — A copy of all upgrade-related Meta EIP is now available at eth1.0-specs/network-upgrades GitHub repository. This will eventually be removed from the EIP GitHub repository.
- Adding a warning banner to provide the current status of the EIP and availability to be used as a standard in eips.github.org was discussed. Thanks to a community contributor Feld.
- ERC — A document “Ethereum Request for Comments Process” is created to explain ERCs, list problems identified with the current standardization process, and proposed some solutions. We are happy to share that one of the problems is now resolved by “Standardizing the ERC title format”.
- Establish a process of standardization for core proposals that do not require a hard fork.
- Move EIPs to the correct statuses. We coordinated with the authors to move EIPs to the correct status. Created multiple pull requests to promote EIPs to Review, Last Call, Final. We’re involved in the EIP GitHub clean-up, updating EIP template, README files, etc.
The increasing numbers of pull requests and issues in the EIPs GitHub repository demands the involvement of more editors to add feedback for incoming proposals and merge as needed.
With the ESP grant towards EIP editors, we have kicked off the planned “EIP editor mentorship program”. An EIP/ERC editor’s handbook is documented to provide information on the mentorship program with answers to some frequently asked questions. In addition to this, we’ve been organizing bi-weekly EIP editors-in training meetings in which Matt Garnett kindly shares his experience on the practicals of EIP editing with apprentices and provides answers to any questions. This has been super helpful in reviewing new proposals.
A side benefit of this meeting is that we get to identify exceptional cases in the EIP repo, which are then discussed in the following EIPIP meeting. Decisions are appropriately documented in EIP-1 and the editor’s handbook for future reference.
With fundings received from the Ecosystem Support Program, ECH is adding support with engineering tasks for bug fixing & adding new features to the EIP bot and other requested features in relevance to EIPIP. Tasks performed by ECH engineering lead, Alita Moore, can be followed here. Of note, there were a few key accomplishments in H1 2021
- Rebuilt the EIP-Bot so that it’s reliable, extensible, and industry quality standard
- Automated marking EIPs as withdrawn
The goal in H2, 2021 is to implement highly requested features into the bot, improve stability, and standardize workflows.
Certain decisions are taken from time to time in the process improvement meeting (EIPIP). In order for people to follow the changes, we ensure to document these decisions in EIP-1 & other relevant documents. For example, to reflect the recent changes in ERC title format, PR-3719 & PR-3721 are created in the EIP-1 & GitHub Readme files respectively.
Ethereum meeting notes
We have got a decent number of community contributors listed on the meeting calendar. The notes documented by the Ethereum Cat Herders can be found on GitHub repositories:
With the updating of the Ethereum Cat Herders website, most of the EIP resources, upgrades, meetings, and related information are now available in one place. You may want to visit the awesome EIP additional resources to find curated resources on proposals under discussion like EIP-3540, EIP-3675, etc. We hope this website will be maintained with community contribution and hence we manage any change & suggestions for the website with ECH GitHub.
ECH newsletter is a good resource for a quick summary of different meetings in the Ethereum developers community. If you’re interested in receiving our newsletters in your inbox, subscribe to ECH Medium.
ECH Medium is also used to communicate about specifics of upgrades like proposals included, expected timeline of the network upgrade, etc.
With blog posts like network upgrade information, we’re receiving decent traffic on ECH Medium every day. As per the stats, In the past 90 days, we’ve received over 200 visitors per day.
The Catblazer Initiative
This is a recent addition in the report category which is published on ECH Medium to provide updates on what’s being done by the Catblazer, William Schwab.
The Catblazer position was created to bring more focus to external ops within the Ethereum Cat Herders, and first began operations under this name in June. In traditional structures, a product or project manager can help a team internally by helping manage deadlines, allocating engineering resources, and more. They also help coordinate with points of contact outside the team, such as clients or contractors, or even other teams in the same entity in order to coordinate work, bring minds together to collaborate, and ensure efficiency. Follow the Catblazer Chronicle updates on Medium to keep up with the progress.
In the two months this position has been active we’ve:
- Had onboarding one-one-ones with close to ten devs looking to enter the ecosystem (primarily through Gitcoin Kernel and EthernautDAO)
- Provided help desk services to various parties looking for help
- Worked on a variety of coordination issues
- Started championing an initiative around wallet standardization
- Helped coordinate an NFT to celebrate the people who helped make the London hard fork happen
There are also other initiatives in a very nascent state that we hope to share soon!
Other Social media channels
In the past five months, ECH YouTube has added over 500 new subscribers, watch time is over 1500 hrs with close to 120k impressions.
ECH Twitter has gained about 1500 new followers in this time period and received up to 11.5K profile visits & 452K impressions in one month.
Ethereum Cat Herders also has a presence on LinkedIn to increase reach.
With the increase in communication and social appearance, the ECH Discord server has attracted many community members to join the server. It has become the best channel for new users looking for an opportunity to learn and contribute.
Misc technical support
In order to make information easily discoverable, ECH has extended the support to different working groups in terms of zoom meeting recording, uploading, creating & adding to a playlist, and ultimately sharing it with the community. The goal is to provide a placeholder for research-focused, semi-public meetings and make them available for the community to follow.
This playlist also has the collection of all Address Space Extension meetings which are in the early stage of discussion.
I also made sure of the availability of recording for The Merge meetings and helped out with Consensus Layer meetings recording.
ACD internship working group
The ACD internship program received an overwhelming response. We wanted to engage the extra participation in other tasks hence they were pointed to the Ethereum Cat Herders Discord. We helped channelize the overflow of contributors by sharing different opportunities for involvement.
Ethereum RFP documentation
Hackathon organizing groups
As a part of increasing collaboration with different working groups working in the Ethereum ecosystem, I made contact with Devfolio, India’s largest and fastest-growing community of builders. We were the official community partner of the EthOdyssey, a hackathon organized by them. ECH was involved in the promotion of the hackathon and introduced the organizers to sponsors like Dapper, the NFT company.
ECH conducted a users survey in association with the Nethermind team and is currently working on sharing the report.
We also arranged talks for the Nethermind, Erigon, Altair teams in different podcasts and universities.
Organizing community meetings
In the past few months, we arranged three community calls
- Ethereum London upgrade community call — announcement & recording
- EIP-3074: AUTH and AUTHCALL opcodes Community call with Sam W., Ansgar D, Matt G. & Micah Z.- announcement & recording
- Ethereum Berlin upgrade countdown community call — announcement & recording
POAP & NFT
For the first time, ECH distributed POAP for the participants & live viewers of the London network upgrade.
Later, we announced an NFT distribution to up to 100 contributors of the London upgrade. I am excited to share that it was made possible with the involvement of grad students & community volunteers. Shoutout to the NFT designer Tian-Yuan Zhao, William X for designing POAP and deploying NFT, and William Schwab for distribution of NFTs.
PS: The distribution of the NFT is a work in progress.
Community building has been on the priority list. I talked to multiple groups & individuals from various domains to explore different opportunities where Cat Herders can pitch in to help or invite the participation of skilled people for miscellaneous tasks.
We facilitated and participated in interviews with research groups from different universities to talk about the Ethereum Cat Herders.
- Blockchain Interview with a blockchain research group from Unimore university.
- Exploring Blockchain Governance and Complementor Affordance Actualisation — London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)
- Attracted grad students to contribute to note writing & other tasks.
- Since April we have onboarded 33 contributors to Ethereum Cat Herders. On top of text communication, I have managed to have 1:1 talk with most of them.
- About a dozen of them have been added to documenting notes.
- I spent a decent amount of my time training new contributors, enabling them to be able to contribute to the ecosystem with their skillset.
Blockchain events & podcast
In the past few months, we facilitated, participated in multiple blockchain events, talked on different podcasts to share the process of EIP standardization, network upgrade to increase awareness & showcase decentralized governance.
- The Ethereum Roadmap on EEA’s Ethereum Anniversary Special
- Ethereum Cat Herders on Clr Spotlight Series
- Ethereum at Consensus 2021
- Ethereum Cat Herders Ft. Pooja Ranjan On The Block
- Education and Organization for Ethereum on Unstoppable Domains podcast.
I am delighted to share what we’ve been working on in the past six months. I hope you will excuse me for a long post and would have enjoyed reading it.