The Ethereum Protocol Fellowship recently completed its third successful cohort in February 2023. Its completion marked 4 months of immersive learning, research and contribution to the Ethereum core ecosystem from a group of talented and dedicated fellows. Before we look into the third cohort, let's recap what Ethereum core development is and how EPF fits into its landscape.
At the heart of the Ethereum ecosystem lies core development, the work on the research and code that powers the Ethereum network, which includes client implementations, specifications, and other foundational aspects.
Maintaining a healthy inflow of core developers is crucial for the continued success of Ethereum. These developers and researchers collaborate to shape the direction of Ethereum's cutting-edge roadmap, tackle its various challenges, and implement the solutions. Their efforts ensure that the protocol remains up-to-date and can handle the increasing demands placed on it by its growing user base.
However, jumping into core protocol development is not an easy task. There is no official organization that manages protocol development. The rapid progress of Ethereum protocol improvements, coupled with scattered information, can make it difficult for people to keep up. There are many areas and roadmap goals being worked on, each having their own rabbit holes to dive down.
The Ethereum Protocol Fellowship was designed as a solution to make core contribution more approachable with the goal of helping developers join the various teams that work on the protocol.
The Ethereum Protocol Fellowship (EPF) is a 4 month permissionless fellowship program that helps to streamline the process of becoming a core developer.
The program is structured to give fellows the autonomy and independence required to work as a core developer. Participants choose their area of interest, propose a project, and work on it for the remainder of the program. They receive valuable feedback from current core developers and become part of a community of like-minded individuals eager to learn by doing.
EPF projects are diverse and contribute to various areas, including research, consensus and execution clients, testing, and protocol security. The EPF is fully open and permissionless, allowing anyone to follow along and participate in the program. A portion of the budget is reserved to award outstanding contributions from permissionless participants. Many EPF fellows have made valuable contributions to the Ethereum core ecosystem, and some have secured long-term positions on core teams like Lighthouse, Teku, Prysm, Ethereum Foundation Research, Flashbots, Optimism and others.
Applications for the third cohort opened on September 1st, 2022. After reviewing over 600 applications and conducting many interviews, 23 participants were selected to join the official cohort. However, being a permissionless program, the cohort ended with a total of 36 contributors.
During the 4 month period, fellows had the opportunity to work with 27 core developer mentors from various client and research teams. Their work was regularly reported in over 300 weekly updates. Fellows also participated in weekly standup and office hours calls to share updates, discuss projects, and participate in AMA interview sessions with mentors and core devs.
Altogether, fellows proposed and contributed to 20 projects, some of which are still receiving contributions. These projects not only represent a valuable learning experience but also meaningful contributions to the Ethereum ecosystem.
|4337 Bundler in Rust
|Implement bundler for EIP-4337 AA as a standalone entity that can work alongside any execution client
|Modular 4337 browser extension wallet
|4844 CL Client
|Contribute to the implementation of EIP-4844 in Lighthouse
|Portal Network Ultralight Client
|Building the subprotocols of the Ultralight client
|Consensus Client Reward APIs
|Collection of RESTful APIs to enhance interoperability across beacon node implementations
|Monitoring system to track network data and on-chain events
|Helios CL P2P
|Peer-to-peer networking service for Helios
|A rollup analytics software suite
|CL Light Client
|Teku light client APIs
|MEV in Open Games
|MEV mechanisms in the Open Game engine to analyse MEV strategies
|Rust implementation of a Secure Kademlia DHT overlay atop the discv5 protocol
|Prysm Beacon API Compliant Validator
|Rewrite the Prysm validator code to be compatible with the standard Beacon API
|Reducing Trust in Relay
|Mechanism to reduce trust in the PBS relay
|Validator Signing Key Revocation
|Revocation mechanism to allow validators to improve their operational security
|Verkle Trie Migration Exploration
|R&D for the migration from Merkle Patricia Tries to Verkle Tries
|Staking Pool Attestation Analysis
|Perform attestation analysis of major staking pools
|Improving Censorship Resistance
|Dashboard to track network health and block utilization
|Hive P2P Tests
|Increase the scope of eth, discv4 and discv5 tests and add new tests for the Ethereum execution clients
|Geth DoS Attack Mitigation
|Implement the DoS defense scheme proposed in the DETER paper
All resources of the program can be found in its repository. You can follow all activity in the cohort there, checkout projects resources, development updates and fellows' notes. Projects are not only FOSS contributions but all of the work done within the cohort is fully open, being an actual part of Ethereum's open research and resources.
But it's not all about work and contributions. One of the crucial aspects of the EPF is the opportunity to meet many of the inspirational people who participate in core development. During EthDenver, over half of the cohort gathered to participate in EPF Day, a full day of programming with project presentations, panel discussions and social time.
Next Cohort Soon™️
Following the success of the third cohort, we are eagerly preparing to start the fourth cohort of the Ethereum Protocol Fellowship. For anyone interested in diving into Ethereum core development, stay tuned for the application announcement in the coming weeks. To get notified, join the EPF google group.
Meanwhile, you can prepare your application by ensuring a foundational understanding of the Ethereum protocol, contributing to open-source projects through your GitHub account, especially contributions to existing projects in the Ethereum ecosystem, and giving some thought to the type of project you may like to work on.
Join us in shaping the future of Ethereum. Join the EPF.