Hyperledger Foundation Charter Updates: Looking to 2023 and Beyond

Hyperledger Foundation Charter Updates: Looking to 2023 and Beyond

Looking ahead to 2023 and beyond, the Hyperledger Foundation Governing Board, working with our technical community and staff, recently updated the Hyperledger Foundation charter to support our ever growing and evolving ecosystem. The charter spells out the governance for Hyperledger Foundation, which is now home to 15 projects, more than 50 labs, 13 working and special interest groups and seven regional chapters. These new updates were made as a follow-up to our change from a project to a foundation with an umbrella of projects to create the opportunity for more autonomy for technical projects and enable further growth for the community and the ecosystem. 

The key changes fall into two related categories:

New Governance options for technical projects

New and existing Hyperledger projects may now opt to have their own technical governance charter. The updated charter spells out that the scope of Hyperledger Foundation includes supporting various open technical projects including open source software, open standards / specifications, open data and other open projects. These projects can either be overseen by the Technical Oversight Committee of the Hyperledger Foundation (and be known as a “TOC Project”) or establish their own technical oversight pursuant to a technical charter specific to the project (and be known as a “Supported Project”).

Why is this an important feature to an umbrella project like the Hyperledger Foundation? 
Some projects want their own formal governance and, with the foundation’s umbrella format, it makes sense to create a path for projects to formalize how to govern themselves. This may be an  appealing path to both new code projects and open source projects that exist elsewhere but are interested in bringing their code and community to the world’s largest open global ecosystem for enterprise-grade blockchain technologies. 

Transition from a Technical Steering Committee (TSC) to a Technical Oversight Committee (TOC)

Reflecting the shift to a full umbrella project, the revised charter not only renames the technical governance body but also clarifies its responsibilities. The structure and elections for the TOC are also updated. Going forward, the TOC will comprise  eleven individuals who are active within the scope of Hyperledger Foundation and have nominated themselves for the TOC.

During the annual elections, which kick off this week, all maintainers (or similar technical role in a supported project) who have been active in the past year will elect six individuals from among the TOC Nominees to serve as TOC voting members.

To ensure diversity and relevant expertise on the TOC, the Governing Board annually will appoint the remaining five voting members of the TOC from among the TOC Nominees. Once the TOC is selected, its members will elect a chair.

What’s the role of the TOC in a project’s life cycle?
The TOC approves the creation of all technical projects, guides them through their life cycles, and makes sure they follow best open development and security practices. The day-to-day technical direction and roadmaps of each project are determined by its maintainers and the project’s own community.

As we enter our 7th year under the Linux Foundation project umbrella, these changes and enhancements to our governance model is a reflection of where Hyperledger technology and our community are today. We look forward to working with our active and growing community to meet the needs of the developers and the companies and governments that rely on Hyperledger projects.

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