Transitioning Parity Ethereum to OpenEthereum DAO

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Powering the decentralised web
December 16, 2019 in Community, Parity Ethereum, Partnerships

The Parity Ethereum codebase and maintenance will be transitioned to a DAO ownership and maintainer model. We hope this new model can provide the basis for cross-organization collaboration to ensure the codebase gets the attention it needs to realize its full potential.

When Parity Technologies began back in 2015, it was an overwhelmingly Ethereum-focused development shop. Over time, as we grew, we took an increasingly more token-agnostic view, starting with BTC and ETC support in 2016, then ZEC in 2017-18. Substrate, our next-generation blockchain and smart contract framework and the wider Polkadot project rather take this vision one step further, baking in the idea of chain-agnosticism right into the protocol and framework.

As Parity's outlook changed, so have the practicalities. Supporting a large, highly complex and now quite old codebase on a mainnet as well-used and with such decentralized decision-making as Ethereum is a very much non-trivial task, even for experts. We spend an unfortunately large amount of time on relatively mundane maintenance work that could be better done by others in the community if only we had the correct structure set up. Indeed, Parity is increasingly unable to dedicate the level of resources required for even simple maintenance of this project. As we move to a multi-chain future based on technology that is far more modular, maintainable and interoperable, we find it increasingly difficult to explain to our stakeholders why it makes sense to dedicate our expertise to maintaining legacy technology.

Endaoing an Open Future for the Parity Ethereum Client

Our exploration of new models to maintain the existing open-source code has led us to put a great deal of thought into the future of the Parity Ethereum codebase that is in use today. We want to ensure the Parity Ethereum codebase is maintained and lives on for as long as the community finds it useful.

To support this outcome, we are planning to move Parity Ethereum codebase to a DAO made up of the developers and organizations who depend on our technology and who will take over maintenance. In essence, the "Parity Ethereum" project will be reborn as a new, decentralized project: we'd like to call that project OpenEthereum.

Over the coming weeks, we will discuss the DAO with key stakeholders, including the Ethereum Foundation, ETC Labs, Gnosis, POA Network and other contributors. Structures and details are in development, but our intention is to transfer the license to the DAO and move the codebase to its own GitHub organization and rename the client accordingly. While Parity Technologies will be a member of the DAO, our role will change to a more explicit mentorship role, onboarding DAO members and ensuring that they have the tools to take the codebase forward.

Membership in and control over the governance of the OpenEthereum DAO will be a stake-weighted token system, working with existing and future contributors to develop a fair, transparent initial distribution of stake in the DAO’s final decision-making process.

The Future is Multi-Sharded

Over the past few weeks, we have also reviewed the Ethereum 2.0 development roadmap and the existing client developer teams and projects. We're very excited to see Serenity's homogeneous sharding technology evolve alongside the heterogeneous sharded Polkadot, and are proud to continue supporting experimentation and prototyping efforts towards Eth 2.0. That said, we will be highly focused on Polkadot for the foreseeable future and so will likely suspend our official paid mandate (payment upon delivery, per the grant provisions) as a Serenity development team with the Ethereum Foundation, continuing in an unofficial laissez-faire capacity only. We nonetheless hope to continue helping to prove the technology as much as possible using Substrate and very much look forward to creating bridges to the Eth 2.0 beacon chain and parachains based on it over the course of its rollout.

We look forward to continuing the conversation about this transition over the coming weeks. Consider this an open invitation for all to participate in the future of the Parity Ethereum client. To stay informed of future progress, please follow @paritytech, subscribe to the newsletter and join the OpenEthereum Ring on the Fellowship of Ethereum Magicians forum.

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