Earlier this month The Ethereum Foundation (EF), a non-profit that supports the Ethereum ecosystem, released their 2022 Annual Report. The report is not just about what was accomplished in 2021 but also ventures to explain the reasoning and philosophy that shape their guiding principles. Since EF is not a normal top-down organization, these principles are an important feature for helping EF teams stay aligned.
We found the 3 key principles that influence and guide decisions throughout the foundations teams to be quite beautiful and inspiring. The text below is taken directly from the report without edit or commentary. Hopefully they resonate with and inspire you as well!
Certain key ideas or principles have become foundational guides for how the EF thinks and acts. These core principles guide the decisions of EF leadership, and are an important influence throughout the EF’s community of teams.
Long Term Thinking
The EF community’s impact will be measured in decades and centuries - not quarters and fiscal years. Ethereum is a protocol for human coordination, and if it continues to be a useful protocol, its lifespan will stretch long into the future. This means that the EF naturally has a long-term mindset. We care for not only the interests of the community as it exists today, but for the community that will exist in the future. Like a gardener, we are planting seeds that we may not live to see grow.
We resist the natural tendency of organizations to grow and accumulate power. Instead of capturing opportunities for ourselves, we distribute those opportunities to the community. Instead of pulling everything in-house, we push our resources out to teams across the ecosystem. We don’t compete with the ecosystem — we are thrilled when other organizations create value because that means Ethereum is becoming more decentralized and sustainable. This is one reason we are relatively quiet. If we did not follow the philosophy of subtraction, the EF would be a natural schelling-point for attention, prestige, and influence as Ethereum grows and becomes more widely used around the world. The story of the Ethereum ecosystem should not become the story of the Ethereum Foundation. As a result, we try to work with the community as much as possible. Instead of asking “how do we solve this problem?” we ask “how can the Ethereum community solve this problem, and how can we help?
Stewardship of Values
Ethereum has a soul. The values of our community have helped make Ethereum what it is. This includes values like open-source, decentralization, open-access, privacy, and many more. This isn’t an exhaustive list, and the EF doesn’t get to decide what the Ethereum community’s values are. But we care about nurturing the ones we think are most important. We often speak of the EF as a kind of gardener, nurturing Ethereum’s “natural ecosystem”. Like a gardener, we do not try to control or force the direction of natural processes - our role is to nurture and support. And when we walk through the landscape, we are careful about where we step.