What is the Ethereum Foundation?
The Ethereum Foundation (EF) is a non-profit organization that supports the Ethereum ecosystem.
The Long Definition
The Ethereum Foundation (EF) is a non-profit that supports the Ethereum blockchain and its decentralized ecosystem. This support includes funding development and research, sponsoring hackathons, organizing conferences, collaborating with other organizations, etc. The EF does this without controlling or leading Ethereum.
History of the Ethereum Foundation
In 2013, a developer called Vitalik Buterin announced the Ethereum blockchain. A year later, he and a group of developers established a foundation in Switzerland to support the development of the protocol. This foundation would go on to be the Ethereum Foundation.
Almost immediately after its founding, the EF raised $18 million through a crowdfunding campaign. This money was used for the creation of the Ethereum protocol, which would be launched a year later in 2015.
The EF was the first of its kind in the Ethereum ecosystem. Today, it is the most respected organization among organizations working on Ethereum. It is led by an executive board consisting of Aya Miyaguchi, Vitalik Buterin, and Patrick Storchenegger.
What is the Role of the Ethereum Foundation?
The EF was created to support the Ethereum protocol and its ecosystem. It does this by:
- Providing Funding: Through its Ecosystem Support Program, the EF provides financial support to projects in the Ethereum community. It gives grants and donations towards education, research, and the core development of the Ethereum protocol.
- Identifying and supporting talent: The EF runs a fellowship program. This is an initiative aimed at “identifying and supporting unique and talented individuals.” To ensure its success, the program supports talents from all over the world, in different cultures and nationalities.
- Organizing and sponsoring events: The EF runs and sponsors many events in the community. These include hackathons and conferences. The biggest of these is Devcon.
Devcon is an annual conference that is open to all Ethereum developers and researchers. It provides a platform for players to discuss the current state of the protocol and its future outlook. It’s also full of networking opportunities.
- Collaborations: The EF also collaborates with other organizations, both inside and outside the Ethereum community. These include researchers, startups, and universities. The goal is the overall advancement of blockchain technology and its applications in the modern world.
- Bounty Program: The EF is devoted to the safety and security of the Ethereum protocol. To this end, it runs a bounty program. This program encourages Ethereum developers to find bugs in the protocol’s code and submit them to the EF for fixing. In return, the developer receives rewards of up to $250,000.
How Does the Ethereum Foundation Work?
The EF is headed by a board of directors. Members of this board are elected by the community. They are responsible for determining the path of the foundation. They also provide guidance to the development team on the direction of the protocol and decide on the allocation of funds.
Does the Ethereum Foundation Control Ethereum?
The EF holds a prestigious position in the Ethereum community and is certainly very involved in decisions surrounding the protocol. This has raised questions concerning centralized control on what should be a decentralized protocol. So, does the EF govern the blockchain?
No. The EF is just one of many organizations dedicated to supporting Ethereum. Instead of competing with these other organizations for power, the foundation collaborates with them and stays out of their way if necessary. It also distributes opportunities to the community.
The goal of this, in the EF’s own words, is to “subtract our power and resist the natural tendency of organizations to grow and accumulate power.”
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