Project Lifecycle

The term “project” within Hyperledger refers to a collaborative endeavor to deliver a work item. There may be some projects that are intended to produce a document, such as a requirements or use cases document, a whitepaper, or analysis. Other projects develop a new capability, refactor, or remove an existing capability for the Hyperledger technology releases. Such projects may take the form of a new component (e.g., a new repository) or may propose additions, deletions, or changes to an existing repository or repositories.

Many other open source initiatives leverage an incubation process for new work items. Incubation seems to have the desired effect of encouraging new ideas and tracks of work, while at the same time providing clear guidance to the broader community as to what is real and supported, versus what is still in the exploratory, experimental, or developmental phases.

Therefore, Hyperledger has adopted a similar lifecycle process as follows:

Project lifecycle in graph format.

Projects are in one of four possible states:

Projects may not necessarily move through those states in a linear way and may go through several iterations.


Project Proposals must be submitted to the TOC for review, using Proposal Template. Proposals that are approved enter into an Incubation state, unless they are of a refactoring nature, in which case the project is turned over to the relevant project maintainers to handle as they deem fit.

A Proposal must:

  • Have a clear description
  • Have a well-defined scope
  • Identify committed development resources
  • Identify initial maintainers
  • Be vendor neutral


Approved project proposals enter into Incubation. For new components and modules, a repository is created under the Hyperledger Github org . New features or capabilities must be handled through pull requests labeled with tags that identify the project and tag it as incubator. Pull requests ideally are capable of being enabled and disabled with feature-flags.

Projects in Incubation can overlap with one another. Entering Incubation is meant to be fairly easy to allow for community exploration of different ideas.

After a project qualifies to be declared Graduated, the project maintainers can then vote to request a graduation review by the TOC.

Entering Incubation does not guarantee that the project will eventually get to the Graduated state. Projects may never get to the Graduated state.

Projects seeking to graduate from Incubation must meet the criteria defined in the Incubation Exit Criteria document.


(Formerly called ‘Active’)

Projects that have successfully exited the Incubation phase are in the Graduated phase.

The TOC may decide to move a Graduated project that no longer meets the Incubation Exit Criteria back to the Incubation state until it meets the criteria again.


(Covers the state formerly known as ‘Deprecated’)

Projects enter the Dormant state when the normal functions are suspended, slowed down for a period of time, or the project is being deprecated.

When possible, the maintainers of the project shall vote on such a change of state and if it passes, make that recommendation to the TOC, but anyone may propose that a project be moved to Dormant state. Members of the community who disagree with the request can make their case before the TOC. The TOC will consider all points of view and render a final decision.

If Dormant projects are re-activated, they re-enter the Incubation state even if they entered the Dormant state from the Graduated state.


(Formerly called ‘End of Life’)

Projects that have been in the Dormant state for a period of 6 months will be automatically archived.

If anyone wants to resume work on an Archived project they may submit a proposal to the TOC for consideration.

If an Archived project is re-activated, it re-enters the Incubation state independent of its prior history.