Ethereum Foundation Head Explains Expanding Role of Non-Profit Organization

  • Ethereum Foundation head Aya Miyaguchi explains how the role of the non-profit organization has expanded to include a lot more than just Ethereum-related projects.
  • She acknowledged that Ethereum's development has faced both technical and business-related challenges.

Ethereum Foundation, an organization focused on the ongoing development and maintenance of Ethereum (ETH), the world’s largest platform for creating decentralized applications (dApps), has expanded its role in recent years to focus on other blockchain-based protocols.

Ethereum Foundation No Longer Focused On Just Ethereum

Aya Miyaguchi, the executive director at the non-profit Ethereum Foundation, recently explained that the role of the organization has evolved over the years:

When the Ethereum Foundation was founded, the Ethereum Foundation was ethereum. People in the Foundation were the ones that were building ethereum. Now, that’s not the case.

Since Miyaguchi was hired as head of Ethereum Foundation in 2018, the Ethereum platform has faced various challenges, both technical and business-related. For instance, New York-based ConsenSys, one of the leading commercial entities supporting the development of Ethereum-based projects, was forced to lay off a fairly large percentage of its staff members recently. This, due primarily to the budget restrictions imposed on blockchain firms because of rapidly declining crypto prices last year.

The Ethereum blockchain has also faced several technical issues as its Constantinople hard fork (backwards incompatible upgrade) was delayed multiple times until it was recently activated successfully. Moreover, the price of Ethereum’s native token, Ether (ETH), has fallen from its all-time high of nearly $1,300 in early 2018 to currently around $134 according to CryptoCompare data.

Ethereum has also seen increasing competition from other dApp and smart contract deployment platforms such as EOS and TRON (TRX), both of which launched their mainnets during the summer months of 2018.

While speaking to Coindesk, Miyaguchi noted that she believes the important changes are not so much focused on Ether’s current market price, but rather the emphasis among the crypto’s community members has been on developing improved blockchain infrastructure. She remarked:

With the nature of open-source technology, [ethereum] has changed over the years and the entire ecosystem has grown a lot bigger.

In her statements made at ETHDenver, a community-led event to promote awareness related to decentralized protocols based on Ethereum, Miyaguchi revealed that she is currently working to ensure the Ethereum Foundation’s role does not stagnate. Although Miyaguchi did not provide any details, she appeared to have suggested the Ethereum Foundation would be looking to redefine its mission in order to broaden the scope of its current involvements.

Ethereum Foundation's Role "Needs To Shift"

She asked, while addressing Ethereum enthusiasts at ETHDenver:

I believe the role of the Ethereum Foundation also needs to shift … What are things that only the Ethereum Foundation can do?

She also told Coindesk:

I believe the Ethereum Foundation has established this trust relationship in the world where we do have the brand. People trust us to be neutral or honest about information so we just want to deliver the true information.

Going on to explain other areas of focus for the Ethereum Foundation, Miyaguchi said she would like the organization to focus on is acquiring additional grants from various entities in order to fund the Ethereum platform’s various initiatives.

Notably, seven different blockchain projects were recently awarded an undisclosed amount of funds in order to work on their respective initiatives. The aim of the grants is to ensure that “urgent, important and unique improvements” are made in a timely manner - which are in line with “the Ethereum vision.”

Miyaguchi Explains How Grants Will Help Improve Ethereum's Ecosystem

Elaborating on how the grants process works, Miyaguchi noted:

The grants process is being improved and one of the things I mentioned is we’re involving other community members to assess projects that apply. We have some foundation members, but some members from the community who are part of the grant process.

She also pointed out: 

Our definition of success is not the success of the Ethereum Foundation. If ultimately the Ethereum Foundation getting smaller is best for the ethereum ecosystem, we are happy with it.