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Aries RFCs

This repo holds Request for Comment (RFCs) for the Aries project. They describe important topics (not minor details) that we want to standardize across the Aries ecosystem.

If you are here to learn about Aries, we recommend you use the the RFC Index for a current listing of all RFCs and their statuses.

There are 2 types of Aries RFCs:

  • RFCs that describe individual features (in the features folder)
  • RFCs that explain concepts underpinning many features (in the concepts folder)

RFCs are for developers building on Aries. They don't provide guidance on how Aries components implement features internally; individual Aries repos have design docs for that. Each Aries RFC includes an "implementations" section and all RFCs with a status greater than Proposed should have at least one listed implementation.

RFC Lifecycle

RFCs go through a standard lifecycle.



To propose an RFC, use these instructions to raise a PR against the repo. Proposed RFCs are considered a "work in progress", even after they are merged. In other words, they haven't been endorsed by the community yet, but they seem like reasonable ideas worth exploring.


Demonstrated RFCs have one or more implementations available, listed in the "Implementations" section of the RFC document. As with the PROPOSED status, demonstrated RFCs haven't been endorsed by the community, but the ideas put forth have been more thoroughly explored through the implementation(s). The demonstrated status is an optional step in the lifecycle. For protocol-related RFCs, work on protocol tests SHOULD begin in the test suite repo by the time this status is assigned.


To get an RFC accepted, build consensus for your RFC on chat and in community meetings. If your RFC is a feature that's protocol- or decorator-related, it MUST have reasonable tests in the test suite repo, it MUST list the test suite in the protocol RFC's Implementations section, at least one other implementation must have passed the relevant portions of the test suite, and all implementations listed in this section of the RFC MUST hyperlink to their test results. An accepted RFC is incubating on a standards track; the community has decided to polish it and is exploring or pursuing implementation.


To get an RFC adopted, socialize and implement. An RFC gets this status once it has significant momentum--when implementations accumulate, or when the mental model it advocates has begun to permeate our discourse. In other words, adoption is acknowledgment of a de facto standard.

To refine an RFC, propose changes to it through additional PRs. Typically these changes are driven by experience that accumulates during or after adoption. Minor refinements that just improve clarity can happen inline with lightweight review. Status is still ADOPTED.


An RFC is retired when it is withdrawn from community consideration by its authors, when implementation seems permanently stalled, or when significant refinements require a superseding document. If a retired RFC has been superseded, its Superseded By field should contain a link to the newer spec, and the newer spec's Supersedes field should contain a link to the older spec. Permalinks are not broken.

Changing an RFC Status

See notes about this in Contributing.



This repository is licensed under an Apache 2 License. It is protected by a Developer Certificate of Origin on every commit. This means that any contributions you make must be licensed in an Apache-2-compatible way, and must be free from patent encumbrances or additional terms and conditions. By raising a PR, you certify that this is the case for your contribution.

For more instructions about contributing, see Contributing.


The structure and a lot of the initial language of this repository was borrowed from Indy HIPEs, which borrowed it from Rust RFC. Their good work has made the setup of this repository much quicker and better than it otherwise would have been. If you are not familiar with the Rust community, you should check them out.