I regularly read about updates of Ethereum (and other crypto currencies). But if there is no central authority, then how are these updates implemented?

Btw I do have programming experience and I know the basics of blockchain, but I don't know anything about specific implementations.

1 Answer 1


While it's true there is no central authority in the same sense as with companies, the Ethereum community as whole recognise the Ethereum core developers team as maintainers of the network. The core developers maintain the software used to run Ethereum nodes/miners and may release updates over time. However, the community of miners are not forced to accept these new updates. If a group of miners so choose, they could refuse an upgrade or change to the Ethereum protocol and continue using their current protocol version. If this happens, there will be a split or fork in the network between miners following current protocol and the miners following the newer version of protocol. This would result in two separate blockchains (see Ethereum Classic as an example of such split). Miners typically do not want to create such forks as their economic interest is to continue mining ETH instead of splitting off into non-canonical chains and so they will often follow the community consensus (usually to allow the upgrade).

In theory, this means that if the majority of Ethereum miners were to refuse an update to the protocol released by the core developers, then the upgrade would not take place as the developer team has no way of forcing the upgrade. This typically does not happen as the developers work with the community to achieve support around these changes.

  • Follow-up question: do exchanges play a role in this? Or is it individual miners who decide which protocol they use?
    – Stijn
    Sep 7, 2021 at 17:01
  • 1
    Exchanges don't really have a say in this process since the miners are the ones actually running the software and maintaining the blockchain. In case of a fork, the exchanges can decide which of the forked assets they will continue listing or if both will remain listed.
    – Bigbrotha
    Sep 7, 2021 at 19:08

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