A process to grow Cardano’s ecosystem and support continual progression.
The first draft of the Cardano Improvement Proposal describing the CIP process itself (CIP1) is transitioning to ‘proposed’ status. A formal communication process was needed on how to achieve compatibility, to add features that depend on integration, and to agree on standards. CIPs are meant to be building blocks for future platform development, a move towards standardization, and better quality control for proposals. CIP1 contains the proposed guidelines for CIPs and is managed by CIP Editors.
The CIP process is a first tentative step towards the decentralization and autonomy of the community to future-proof the long-term sustainability of Cardano. This will continue to empower the community to unite and take a proactive stance on the direction of the protocol. We want to foster new and innovative improvement proposals and boost their respective independence. - Nathan Kaiser, Chairperson, Cardano Foundation.
The main objectives of this initial draft of CIPs are to enable the Cardano community to propose changes to the protocol or to a process, and to provide general guidelines and information to the Cardano community.
What are CIPs?
Cardano Improvement Proposals (CIPs) are formalized documents for the Cardano community, providing information or describing new features or processes. CIPs contain the technical specifications for the proposed changes and act as a reference tool for discussions in the community.
Anyone within the Cardano community has the ability to create a CIP. Guidelines for writing CIPs are included in CIP1. The CIP should provide a concise technical specification for the feature and its rationale. The CIP author is responsible for building consensus within the community and documenting dissenting opinions (before and during discussion). Given the nature of CIPs, most authors are likely to be developers, but that is not a requirement.
- CIPs are an agreed communication framework to discuss chain-relevant content, facilitate changes, processes or chain modifications;
- CIPs are standards for formatting, discussing, and submitting proposals;
- CIPs are hosted on Cardano Foundation’s Github repository.
Why do CIPs matter?
CIPs play a central role in how changes happen and are documented for Cardano. Submitting Improvement proposals is a way for people to propose, debate, and adopt changes. There are different types of CIPs, defined in CIP1: Standard CIPs, Process, and Informational CIPs.
Along with providing a technical specification for changes, The Cardano Foundation intends CIPs to enable the proposing of new features, collecting community input on an issue, and for documenting design decisions that have gone into Cardano. The CIP revision history serves as the chronological record of the changes in the Github repository.
- CIPs are NOT a governance process. Decisions are off-chain;
- CIPs are NOT binding;
- CIPs are NOT a funding mechanism. However, the CIP framework is built so that it could easily support a separate Funding process.
As we look forward to the continuing development of the platform and ultimately the evolution towards on-chain governance through Voltaire, now is the time to formalize and standardize how we define, curate, and review proposals for improvement. It is an early but important step, and we invite you to join us in reviewing and discussing this new process. Full documentation and information are available on the Cardano Foundation repo here: https://github.com/cardano-foundation/cips.