Amendments: Ensuring Sensible Evolution of the XRP Ledger

This article was first published on Insights – Ripple
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The XRP Ledger (XRPL) was designed to provide a robust feature set for the foundation of the digital asset XRP in addition to settling payments and exchanging digital assets of all kinds. The open source community of developers supporting innovation on XRPL continue making core improvements to the technology to ensure performance, stability, security, quality, decentralization, developer experience and governance.

It’s no secret that governance is one of the hardest problems to solve in blockchain technology today. Blockchain is a rapidly-evolving set of technologies, so adaptability and consistent improvement are essential. However, as developers in the community increase and servers on the network grow, the governance process becomes more challenging. As the XRP Ledger network grows, so does the need for improved governance. 

One of the key governance mechanisms that XRPL uses is the amendment process, purposely designed and built for broad participation. The activation of any changes to the XRP Ledger protocol are coordinated by the community through this process.

The Amendment Process
Changes always begin with an idea for an improvement or new feature. Because changes require broad agreement, discussion of new features often takes place in public forums. Last year, the community discussed a number of possible features and design changes that could be introduced to the XRP Ledger.

The next steps are converting ideas into a proposed implementation and generating a set of code changes. At this point, an amendment can be assigned to the feature. Those who support the feature can run versions of the XRP Ledger software.

The amendment process itself is then able to be used by the community to coordinate enabling the feature. Validators that want the amendment to be activated on the network can indicate this. If 80% support is seen, validators will start a two week clock to ...

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