Grantee Roundup: September 2021 | Ethereum Foundation Blog

It’s always fun to hear about new grants as they’re awarded, but what happens after the announcement? In this series, we’ll check in on a couple of projects that are well underway – or already at the finish line. Read on to learn about some recent milestones and achievements by grantees! Technical Specs and Resources for SSZ – SimpleSerialize

In preparing for the move to Proof of Stake, Ethereum’s core developers have taken the opportunity to revamp some elements of the Ethereum protocol. This was the case with SSZ, or Simple SerialiZe, the canonical serialization format for Ethereum’s PoS consensus layer.

Serialization is the process of converting data into a format to be transmitted or stored – in the case of SSZ, converting consensus data into bytes to be represented as a Merkle tree. Although SSZ was created for Ethereum, it was designed to be extendable to other use cases. With that in mind, was created to make SSZ more accessible to devs both inside and outside the Ethereum ecosytem. was funded in March 2021, launched in May, and has continued to grow. It’s full of great resources, some original and some gathered from previous community efforts, for anyone looking to learn or build with SSZ. Some highlights:

  • Visualizer: play around with variables across different serialization types, and see the output as both serialized values and Merkle tree details.
  • Implementations: a list of active SSZ implementations and their basic features (language, license, maintainer etc)
  • Testing: consolidates test suites built by different implementers along with general information like terminology, output formats and test configuration

There’s lots of great content already, but is still a work in progress. Whether you’re a serial serializer or just SSZ-curious, your feedback and contributions are welcome! Visit the Github repo to comment or contribute.

CadCAD Edu for cadCAD Masterclass: Ethereum Validator Economics

CadCAD, a project of BlockScience, is an open-source framework for simulating complex adaptive dynamics (cad), bringing the advantages of Computer Aided Design (CAD) to the design and validation of complex systems like blockchain networks. CadCAD Edu was spun up to provide educational resources for using cadCAD in systems engineering settings.

The first cadCAD Edu courses, a beginner-level bootcamp and the “cadCAD Hacks” series for intermediate users, focused on learning to use the cadCAD framework for modeling and simulation. With their first masterclass, the cadCAD EDU team wanted to let students level up their cadCAD skills through practical experience with a complex system we all know and love: Ethereum. Specifically,the course introduces the radCAD library and the Ethereum Economic Model, which students use to model and experiment with Ethereum validator economics.

After receiving funding in early 2021, the Ethereum Validator Economics Masterclass launched in early September. The course includes roughly 3 hours of lectures accompanied by Jupyter notebooks, exercises and exams, with a certificate available on completion of all the course requirements. The course is free to anyone, although you’ll need solid knowledge of both Ethereum and cadCAD in order to get the most out of it.

The Ethereum Economic Model, meanwhile, has taken on a life of its own. It was conceived for the Masterclass in collaboration with the EF Robust Incentives Group, but has evolved into a powerful and versatile research tool in its own right. The repo contains thorough documentation for researchers, engineers, stakers, or whoever else might like to play with or build on the model – or you can check out the front-end simulator at to see it in action with no technical skills required.

Follow @cadCAD_org and @cadCAD_Edu for news and updates!

Are you working on something you think could change Ethereum for the better? Head to our grants page to learn more about what we look for in the projects we fund.

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