After years of deliberation within the developer community, Ethereum has made a pivotal move in its governance. The Ethereum Github documentation now separates Ethereum Request for Comments (ERC) and Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIP) into different repositories. This separation sets the stage for more effective governance and standards in both the application and consensus layers of Ethereum.
Distinct avenues for application and protocol evolution
Significantly, ERC has emerged as the primary route for maintaining high-quality documentation related to the Ethereum application layer. According to the updated ERC readme file, this mechanism will serve as an essential resource for tracking the evolution of application standards. This encompasses both historical developments and ongoing improvements.
Additionally, the core EIP has been delineated as the dedicated channel for the enhancement of Ethereum’s underlying consensus mechanisms. The EIP readme file highlights that its main objective is to maintain standardized documentation for Ethereum itself, along with conventions built upon its blockchain. Furthermore, EIP authors are mandated to foster consensus within the community, meticulously documenting any dissenting opinions that may arise during the evaluation of proposals. Hence, EIPs have become the principal instruments for proposing new features, gathering technical insights, and preserving a transparent record of design choices.
The EIPs will now focus exclusively on core improvement proposals related to changes in the network’s consensus layer. Conversely, ERCs, which pertain to application-related changes, will no longer affect core network capability.
Moreover, an additional repository has been created specifically for Ethereum Request for Comments (ERCs). This move was deliberated for years, according to an earlier proposal.
However, it gained traction recently as Ethereum’s consensus layer began increasingly utilizing the EIP process. The proposal noted that separating the repositories would allow ERC and EIP specifications to evolve more naturally, owing to their newfound independence. Consequently, the Ethereum community finally greenlighted the separation, marking a milestone in the platform’s ongoing evolution.
This development is seen as a positive step towards focused and efficient governance over Ethereum. By segregating ERCs and EIPs into distinct avenues, the Ethereum community paves the way for precise and well-documented improvements in both the application and consensus layers. However, it remains to be seen how these changes will be operationalized and what impact they will have on Ethereum’s broader ecosystem.