Who Are Ethereum Core Developers?

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Ethereum core developers are involved in researching, building, and upgrading the network’s fundamentals. Among the Ethereum core developers are Vitalik Buterin, Péter Szilágyi, Tim Beiko, Sajida Zouarhi, and Greg Colvin. Find out more in the article.

What Does an Ethereum Core Developer Do? 

One of the first things to know about public blockchains, like Ethereum, is that they are open-sourced. This means the logic behind Ethereum and its code repository are available online. Everyone with technical knowledge can submit Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs), sharing their views on how the protocol can be upgraded. Then, the community votes. Ethereum stakeholders, such as validators, stake their ETHs to take part in governance decisions. Along with this, there are off-chain discussions in community forums that impact the final decision. 

If a proposal gets approved, it will be implemented. EIPs can be related to token standards, the governance process, and core protocol specifications. The Core Protocol defines the set of rules and technical specifications that govern Ethereum. It’s important to differentiate between the Ethereum protocol and the dapps built upon it. The core protocol is the computing platform powering applications like DeFi platforms and games. 

Therefore, app developers and core developers have different tasks. App developers create smart contracts and define the token economy among other aspects of the app. Core developers work on the architecture of Ethereum, including the consensus rules, staking mechanism, block production, and security features. According to the Ethereum Foundation, core developers are people who maintain the various Ethereum implementations. This includes suggesting changes, planning upgrade processes, and executing them. 

The Ethereum protocol development team can vary depending on the ongoing developments. Every week, core developers hold discussions around the implementation of upgrades in the AllCoreDevs meeting (videos are available on the Ethereum Protocol’s YouTube Channel). Besides the call attendees, the team can include researchers and other members who don’t take part in calls. Discussions are also held in forums such as EthMagicians, ETH Research, Discord, and GitHub.

How Many Ethereum Core Developers Are There? 

Core developers make up a small part of the overall number of Ethereum developers. According to the funding platform Protocol Guild, the team currently consists of around 150 contributors. For comparison, the number of full-time Ethereum developers is above 6,800, according to the 2023 report by Electric Capital.
The number of Ethereum devs. Source: Electric Capital

The number of Ethereum devs. Source: Electric Capital

The Ethereum Foundation offers various fellowships to welcome new core developers to its team. One of the popular programs is the Ethereum Protocol Fellowship. During the program, mentors from the team provide participants with resources to study the Ethereum Core Protocol. Participation is open and free of charge. However, interested individuals need to follow the schedule and apply within the given timeframe. Currently, the Ethereum Protocol Fellowship Cohort 5 is in progress and will run through November 2024.

Names Within the Ethereum Core Development Team

Former and current Ethereum Protocol Developers have had a great influence on shaping the network. Among them was Gavin Wood, the former Chief Architect and co-founder of Ethereum. Gavin Wood designed the programming language Solidity and wrote the Ethereum Yellow Paper, the original technical document about Ethereum. In 2016, he left the project and founded the blockchain platform Polkadot

The current Ethereum protocol developers continue to implement upgrades to make the network more scalable, improve user experience, and reduce fees. Among them are: 

Vitalik Buterin 
Vitalik Buterin’s account on X. Source: x.com

Vitalik Buterin’s account on X. Source: x.com

Vitalik Buterin came up with the idea of developing a network that would enable decentralized applications while studying the limitations of Bitcoin. In 2015, he co-founded Ethereum at the age of 19. Vitalik Buterin remains an active contributor to Ethereum, having authored numerous EIPs and extensive research papers over the years. In 2022, he introduced a phase-by-phase Ethereum roadmap that has since guided the protocol’s development, aiming to enhance user experience, scalability, block verification, and other improvements.

Péter Szilágyi
Péter Szilágyi’s account on X. Source: x.com

Péter Szilágyi’s account on X. Source: x.com

Péter Szilágyi, known by his GitHub username 'karalabe,' is a team lead and core developer at Ethereum. Among his notable contributions was the implementation of the Go programming language on Ethereum, known as Geth, in 2016. Geth has played a crucial role in the protocol by facilitating software installation and node operations. Szilágyi is also the creator of Project Iris, a network focused on interoperability that allows developers to deploy smart contracts.

Tim Beiko 
Tim Beiko’s account on X. Source: x.com

Tim Beiko’s account on X. Source: x.com

Tim Beiko runs the core protocol meetings for Ethereum. He is the person who keeps the community posted on the updates, informing them about call agendas and their purpose. He is engaged in community management and often takes part in different conferences, workshops, and online discussions. Before joining Ethereum, Tim Beiko worked as a Senior Product Manager at Consensys, a blockchain software development company. 

Sajida Zouarhi
Sajida Zouarhi’s account on X. Source: x.com

Sajida Zouarhi’s account on X. Source: x.com

Nominated in Forbes Women 2019 for her work as a blockchain architect and educator, Sajida Zouarhi has an extensive background in the industry. She joined ConsenSys in 2017 as a research engineer and later led the Hyperledger Besu project, focusing on enterprise-friendly Ethereum solutions. Since 2022, Zouarhi has been a core developer for Ethereum.

Greg Colvin 
Greg Colvin’s account on X. Source: x.com

Greg Colvin’s account on X. Source: x.com

Scientist and engineer Greg Colvin has been a Core Developer of the Ethereum Virtual Machine since 2016, leveraging decades of experience in technology and leadership roles. Concurrently, Colvin serves as Head of Machines at HyperCycle.ai, a blockchain-based platform facilitating AI interactions. His ongoing contributions focus on advancing blockchain technology and its integration with artificial intelligence.

Key Takeaways 

Core development teams exist in many projects, both within and outside the blockchain industry, focusing on fundamental architecture and tools. Ethereum core developers are crucial members of the Ethereum community. Being a core developer requires deep technical knowledge, including proficiency in languages like Solidity, and a thorough understanding of blockchain technology. The role involves participating in the EIP process, from proposal to implementation, and contributing to strategic decisions about Ethereum's future.

Web3 writer and crypto HODLer with a keen interest in market trends and recent technologies.