What is EIP
EIP stands for Ethereum Improvement Proposal. An EIP is an informative document describing proposed changes or new features for Ethereum, which typically contains the technical specifications of the proposal and the rationale behind it. In addition, EIP authors are responsible for building consensus within the community and documenting dissenting opinions. Anyone can create an EIP. EIP-1 details the requirements and recommendations for submitting EIPs.
EIP also serves as a governance mechanism for Ethereum because EIP is instrumental in facilitating making changes to Ethereum and documenting them. It is a process in which Ethereum community members propose, evaluate and implement network updates.
Three Types of EIP
Standards Track EIP
A Standards Track EIP describes any change that affects most or all Ethereum implementations, such as a change to the network protocol or a change in block or transaction validity rules. Standards Track EIPs can be further broken down into the following categories:
- Core: improvements requiring a consensus fork or are relevant to the core development of the network.
- Networking: improvements around network protocol specifications.
- Interface: improvements around client API/RPC specifications and standards and language-level standards like method names (EIP-6).
- ERC (Ethereum Request for Comment): application-level standards and conventions, including contract standards such as token standards (EIP-20). That is, ERC is a subcategory of EIP.
A Meta EIP describes a process surrounding Ethereum. Meta EIPs are like Standards Track EIPs but apply to areas other than the Ethereum protocol. They may propose an implementation, but not to Ethereum’s codebase. They often require community consensus. Unlike Informational EIPs, they are more than recommendations, and users are typically not free to ignore them. Examples include changes to the tools or environment used in Ethereum development.
An Informational EIP describes an Ethereum design issue or provides general guidelines or information to the Ethereum community but does not propose a new feature. Informational EIPs do not necessarily represent Ethereum community consensus or a recommendation, so users and implementers are free to ignore Informational EIPs or follow their advice.
EIP Editors maintain and manage the EIPs. For example, EIP Editors check new EIP submissions to see if they are sound, complete, and free of grammar errors, assign EIP numbers, etc. But EIP Editors only perform administrative and editorial tasks. They don’t pass judgment on EIPs.
The current EIP editors are:
- Alex Beregszaszi (@axic)
- Gavin John (@Pandapip1)
- Greg Colvin (@gcolvin)
- Matt Garnett (@lightclient)
- Sam Wilson (@SamWilsn)
The Workflow of an EIP
- Idea: An idea is an undocumented proposal. It is not tracked due to its early-stage nature.
- Draft: Draft represents the first formally tracked stage of an EIP in development. An EIP is merged by an EIP Editor into the EIP repository when properly formatted.
- Review: An EIP author marks an EIP as ready for peer review.
- Last Call: Last Call is the final review window for an EIP before moving to Final. An EIP Editor will assign the Last Call status and set an end date (typically 14 days later). If this period results in necessary normative changes, the EIP Editor will revert the EIP to Review.
- Final: A Final EIP means the process is completed, and the result is final.
- Stagnant: Any EIP in Draft, Review, or Last Call that has been inactive for six months or longer is moved to Stagnant. Its authors or EIP Editors may resurrect an EIP. If not resurrected, an EIP stays forever in this status.
- Withdrawn: The EIP Authors may withdraw EIPs during the process. Similar to Final, Withdrawn is a state with finality. Withdrawn EIPs cannot be resurrected. If the idea is pursued later, it is considered a new proposal.
- Living: A special status for EIPs that are designed to be continually updated and not reach a state of finality. This includes, most notably, EIP-1.
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