Protocol Guild: Securing the Future of Ethereum's Core Protocol Development

Protocol Guild

The Protocol Guild is a collective of Ethereum’s core protocol contributors - individuals who are focused not only on maintaining Ethereum as it exists today, but also on researching and implementing cutting-edge upgrades as part of Ethereum’s development roadmap. Today, this collective contains 152 contributors.

All this work - a foundational public good - is quite clearly of vital importance to the long-term security of Ethereum. Unfortunately, existing funding only provides a fraction of the financial incentives compared to other available work in the ecosystem (apps, L2s etc.).

The Protocol Guild was thus created in May last year, to enable a funding mechanism which provides long-term incentives for stewarding the core protocol, while in turn providing the broader Ethereum ecosystem with the infra and tools needed to scale to global accessibility.

Just as the Ethereum distributed system takes inputs from many actors to produce a unified global state, the production of the underlying software combines efforts from many contributors. There is no single entity which maintains and evolves the protocol on their own.

Protocol Guild reproduces the qualities inherent to the production of a software commons as a funding stream: comprehensively curated, long-term oriented, and equitably distributed. With this tool, the ecosystem can now share the collective responsibility of funding core protocol stewardship.

You can read more about the Guild here:

Funding Sources

The Protocol Guild has received ~$10mm in donations to date, from almost 5k donations.

All donations to the Protocol Guild are trustlessly vested directly to the Guild’s members over time, helping to retain Ethereum’s core protocol contributors over the long term. This means that, on on average, each member has received ~$55k via the Protocol Guild since launch. Today, this can be seen as a bonus, as it’s on top of what they already earn in their day-to-day job. Of course we hope that, eventually, there will be members who can rely on the Protocol Guild as their sole source of income, who don’t need to otherwise monetize their work, and can thus stay 100% focused on the public good that is building and maintaining Ethereum’s core protocol.

Accordingly, given the ambitious scope of our mission - to rebalance financial incentives towards Ethereum’s core protocol work - Protocol Guild requires continuous funding to achieve its goals. Ultimately, the long-term success of the Protocol Guild is thus contingent on it being embraced by Ethereum’s ecosystem and community.

Seeking project-specific funding or funding for general operations?

General operations, aka securing the future of Ethereum’s long-term development roadmap <3

Team Information

The Protocol Guild is a collective of 152 individuals, who are actively involved in all functions related to building and maintaining Ethereum’s core protocol.

These individuals come from over 20 different ecosystem teams and projects, including Ethereum’s client teams (Geth, Erigon, Teku, Lighthouse etc.), research groups like the Robust Incentives Group, as well as coordination / support groups like Ethereum Cat Herders and DevOps teams.

All individuals are listed here: 9. Membership — protocol-guild documentation



  • Do you have a commitment to open-source (i.e. every open-source license accepted by the Open-Source Initiative) technology and sharing results publicly?
  • Have you provided transparency about how exactly funding will be used?
  • Are you advancing values of freedom and privacy (no surveillance and handling of personal data)?
  • Are you supporting decentralization in various fields (for example building Web3 projects)?
  • Have you provided social media channels to the extent that we can confirm social proof of your project?
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Thank you VERY much to the whole community for selecting Protocol Guild as the top recipient of funds in Epoch 1. With this 44 ETH donation, Octant / Golem Foundation is currently out 11th largest donor! :heart_eyes:

Here’s a quick end-of-year update for everyone:

Appreciate everyone’s continued support, and wishing everyone an amazing end to 2023 :muscle:

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Hello everyone! Lots of fun updates to share this quarter:

  • Protocol Guild was once again the top recipient for Epoch 2, raising 36.552 ETH, making Octant our 8-largest donor.
  • Since being launched in May 2022, Protocol Guild has now raised $14mm in total (worth $34m today) from Ethereum’s ecosystem and community, all of which is vesting directly to Ethereum’s active core protocol contributors.
  • Today Protocol Guild has 167 members, with the average member having received $138k over the last 2 years.
  • What have Protocol Guild members been working on in the last quarter? Well, the Dencun hardfork successfuly activated on March 13th, making L2s cheaper by orders of magnitude.
  • We also launched the “Protocol Guild Pledge”, a committment by projects building on Ethereum to donate 1% of their native token to the Protocol Guild. 6 amazing projects have taken the pledge so far, including and Taiko!
  • If you have 20 minutes, you can also watch our EthDenver presentation.

That’s it for now! Thank you SO MUCH to the Octant community for your continued support of Ethereum’s core protocol development. We’ll be back next quarter with another update, you can catch us on Twitter, Farcaster or Discord until then! :muscle:

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Thanks for the awesome update. Let’s see how high we can get on that list!


Also, nice presentation from EthDenver. I’d say Ethereum is Bitcoin plus smart contracts :upside_down_face:

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