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Ethereum foundation introduced the Ethereum Execution Layer Specification (EELS)

In a significant stride towards enhancing Ethereum’s functionality, the Ethereum Execution Layer Specification (EELS) has emerged as a Python reference implementation that promises to reshape how Ethereum executes smart contracts. This article unveils the potential of EELS to revolutionize Ethereum’s execution layer through its readability, integration, and practical applications.

Understanding EELS: A Glimpse into the Future of Ethereum, born after over a year of dedicated development, is a comprehensive Python reference implementation of Ethereum’s execution client. Crafted to be comprehensible and aligned with current post-merge forks, EELS serves as a programmer-friendly alternative to the Yellow Paper. Its capabilities extend beyond code, encompassing state tests, mainnet tracking, and rapid prototyping of Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs).

The genesis of EELS traces back to 2021, nurtured by ConsenSys’ Quilt team and the Ethereum Foundation. Fueled by the frustration of deciphering the enigmatic Yellow Paper, EELS arose to decipher the specifics of Ethereum’s execution process. This initiative, inspired by the success of the Consensus Layer Specification, aimed to deliver a more accessible, executable specification for Ethereum’s execution layer.

Navigating the Present with EELS

Today, EELS exists as a Python repository and rendered documentation. While it might possess a certain rawness, EELS embodies the essence of simplicity and transparency. Its codebase provides an intuitive contrast to the intricate formulas of the Yellow Paper, making it invaluable for developers seeking clarity.

A striking example of EELS’ potency lies in its contrast with the Yellow Paper. The “Less-than (LT)” Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) instruction demonstrates this distinction. The Yellow Paper presents this instruction cryptically, while EELS delivers a natural, programmer-friendly rendition. This transformation aligns with EELS’ intent to bridge the gap between academia and programming, fostering a more inclusive and effective understanding.

EELS leverages its Python foundation to facilitate testing, making it approachable like any standard Python library. Beyond ethereum/tests, EELS extends its capabilities to pytest tests. What’s noteworthy is that tests created for EELS can be seamlessly applied to production clients through execution-spec-tests, underscoring EELS’ practicality and efficiency.

Embracing Differences: Snapshotting and Comparing Forks

EELS extends a helping hand to both smart contract developers and client developers. With snapshots available for every fork, EELS simplifies understanding of EVM instruction intricacies. Additionally, EELS can highlight the variations between forks, a vital tool for client developers aiming to ensure compatibility.

EELS proves itself as a harbinger of Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs) by showcasing its adaptability with EIP-6780. With an example provided by the author Guillaume Ballet, EELS demonstrates how to integrate and implement EIPs effectively. This marks EELS as an essential sandbox for refining and validating EIP concepts.

As Ethereum evolves, EELS aspires to become the bedrock for Core EIP specifications and a breeding ground for novel EIP ideas. Its vision encompasses becoming the ultimate Ethereum reference, illuminating the intricate mechanisms underpinning this groundbreaking blockchain.


EELS, the Ethereum Execution Layer Specification, represents a significant milestone in Ethereum’s journey. By combining transparency, accessibility, and practicality, EELS is poised to catalyze innovation and understanding in Ethereum’s execution layer. The dynamic fusion of EELS, Python, and blockchain technology promises to fortify Ethereum’s capabilities and redefine its future trajectory.

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