Contributing to Dogecoin Core

Dogecoin Core is open source software, and we would welcome contributions which improve the state of the software. For those wanting to discuss changes, or look for work that needs doing, please see:

Branch Strategy

Dogecoin Core's default branch is intentionally a stable release, so that anyone downloading the code and compiling it gets a stable release. Active development occurs on branches named after the version they are targeting, for example the 1.14.4 branch is named 1.14.4-dev. When raising PRs, please raise against the relevant development branch and not against the master branch.

Contributor Workflow

The codebase is maintained using the "contributor workflow" where everyone without exception contributes patch proposals using "pull requests". This facilitates social contribution, easy testing and peer review.

To contribute a patch, the workflow is as follows:

  • Fork the repository in GitHub, and clone it your development machine.
  • Create a topic branch from the relevant development branch.
  • Commit changes to the branch.
  • Test your changes, which must include the unit and RPC tests passing.
  • Push topic branch to your copy of the repository.
  • Raise a Pull Request via GitHub.

The coding conventions in the developer notes must be adhered to.

In general commits should be atomic and diffs should be easy to read. For this reason do not mix any formatting fixes or code moves with actual code changes.

Commit messages should be verbose by default consisting of a short subject line (50 chars max), a blank line and detailed explanatory text as separate paragraph(s); unless the title alone is self-explanatory (like "Corrected typo in init.cpp") then a single title line is sufficient. Commit messages should be helpful to people reading your code in the future, so explain the reasoning for your decisions. Further explanation here.

Please refer to the Git manual for more information about Git.

The body of the pull request should contain enough description about what the patch does together with any justification/reasoning. You should include references to any discussions (for example other tickets or mailing list discussions). At this stage one should expect comments and review from other contributors. You can add more commits to your pull request by committing them locally and pushing to your fork until you have satisfied feedback.

Squashing Commits

If your pull request is accepted for merging, you may be asked by a maintainer to squash and or rebase your commits before it will be merged. The basic squashing workflow is shown below.

git checkout your_branch_name
git rebase -i HEAD~n
# n is normally the number of commits in the pull
# set commits from 'pick' to 'squash', save and quit
# on the next screen, edit/refine commit messages
# save and quit
git push -f # (force push to GitHub)

If you have problems with squashing (or other workflows with git), you can alternatively enable "Allow edits from maintainers" in the right GitHub sidebar and ask for help in the pull request.

Please refrain from creating several pull requests for the same change. Use the pull request that is already open (or was created earlier) to amend changes. This preserves the discussion and review that happened earlier for the respective change set.

The length of time required for peer review is unpredictable and will vary between pull requests.

Pull Request Philosophy

Pull Requests should always be focused. For example, a pull request could add a feature, fix a bug, or refactor code; but not a mixture. Please avoid submitting pull requests that attempt to do too much, are overly large, or overly complex as this makes review difficult.


When adding a new feature, thought must be given to the long term technical debt and maintenance that feature may require after inclusion. Before proposing a new feature that will require maintenance, please consider if you are willing to maintain it (including bug fixing). If features get orphaned with no maintainer in the future, they may be removed.


Dogecoin Core is a direct fork of Bitcoin Core and therefore benefits from as little refactoring as possible on code that is created upstream. If you see any structural issues with upstream code, please propose these fixes for bitcoin/bitcoin and future Dogecoin Core releases will automatically benefit from these.

When refactoring Dogecoin-specific code, please keep refactoring requests short, low complexity and easy to verify.

Experimental features and optimizations

In some cases where a pull request introduces a new feature or optimization, reviewers or maintainers can request the feature to be introduced as an experimental-only feature, meaning that the feature will not be released in provided binaries but will be available for self-compilation for those who wish to test it. Experimental features are still expected to be complete and the process to be followed for all contribution guidelines as outlined in this document.

For more information, see the experimental feature documentation

"Decision Making" Process

The following applies to code changes to Dogecoin Core, and is not to be confused with overall Dogecoin Network Protocol consensus changes. All consensus changes must be ratified by miners; a proposal to implement protocol changes does not guarantee activation on the mainnet, not even when a binary gets released by maintainers.

Whether a pull request is merged into Dogecoin Core rests with the repository maintainers.

Maintainers will take into consideration if a patch is in line with the general principles of Dogecoin; meets the minimum standards for inclusion; and will take into account the consensus among frequent contributors.

In general, all pull requests must:

  • have a clear use case, fix a demonstrable bug or serve the greater good of Dogecoin;
  • be peer reviewed;
  • have unit tests and functional tests;
  • follow code style guidelines;
  • not break the existing test suite;
  • where bugs are fixed, where possible, there should be unit tests demonstrating the bug and also proving the fix. This helps prevent regressions.

The following patch types are expected to have significant discussion before approval and merge:

  • Consensus rule changes (through softfork or otherwise)
  • Policy changes
  • Maturing experimental features into production

While each case will be different, one should be prepared to expend more time and effort than for other kinds of patches because of increased peer review and consensus building requirements.

Peer Review

Anyone may participate in peer review which is expressed by comments in the pull request. Typically, reviewers will review the code for obvious errors, as well as test out the patch set and opine on the technical merits of the patch. Repository maintainers take into account the peer review when determining if there is consensus to merge a pull request.

Maintainers reserve the right to weigh the opinions of peer reviewers using common sense judgement and also may weight based on meritocracy: Those that have demonstrated a deeper commitment and understanding towards Dogecoin (over time) or have clear domain expertise may naturally have more weight, as one would expect in all walks of life.

Where a patch set proposes to change the Dogecoin consensus, it must have been discussed extensively, be accompanied by widely discussed documentation and have a generally widely perceived technical consensus of being a worthwhile change, based on the judgement of the maintainers.

Merging pull requests

Maintainers can only merge pull requests after any maintainer, other than the author of a pull request, has approved the code according to the decision making process outlined above.

Maintainers must keep pull requests open for at least 24 hours after approval to merge is given, to allow anyone to voice a concern that may have been missed in review, or request more time to investigate a suspected issue. If a situation arises where more time has been requested but cannot be granted, at maintainer discretion, a new issue or pull request should be opened to address the defect or discuss improved alternatives. Requests for time and maintainer decision making are expected to be clearly documented on the pull request discussion on Github.

Maintenance tasks and time-critical patches can be exempted from this rule if these are clearly marked as such, at maintainer discretion.

By contributing to this repository, you agree to license your work under the MIT license unless specified otherwise in contrib/debian/copyright or at the top of the file itself. Any work contributed where you are not the original author must contain its license header with the original author(s) and source.