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 six 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.


Projects enter the Dormant state when the normal functions are suspended or slowed down for a period of time. The TOC decides to move a project to or from the Dormant state upon request. If Dormant projects are re-activated, they re-enter the Incubation state even if they entered the Dormant state from the Graduated state.


Anyone may propose that a project be Deprecated by submitting a rationale and identifying a substitute project or component, if any. The maintainers of the project shall vote on such a request and if it passes, make that recommendation to the TOC. Members of the community that disagree with the request can make their case before the TOC. The TOC will consider all points of view and render a final decision whether to deprecate.

A Deprecated project will be maintained for a six month period by its community, after which it will be removed from any subsequent formal releases. Notice will be given to the public of the project deprecation. After the six-month deprecation period, the project will be labeled End of Life.

End of Life

A project that is no longer actively developed or maintained.