Experimental features

Features can be marked as experimental when the functionality is desired but further analysis, testing or follow-up work is needed to make sure that the feature is fully ready for rollout to every node in the network. This can specifically help the introduction of performance updates or other lower-level improvements where positive and/or negative effects may take a longer time to test. The PR benefits from being merged because this makes it easier for testers to pick and choose sets of features to experiment with in their custom built Dogecoin Core deployments.

Enabling experimental features

Experiments can be enabled by passing --enable-experimental AND the desired experimental feature to ./configure:

Current experiments

FeatureConfigure flagDescription
Scrypt SSE2--enable-scrypt-sse2SSE2 asm for Scrypt functions
SHA ARMv8--with-armv8-cryptoSHA1/256 intrinsics for ARMv8-crypto capable processors
SHA ARMv82--with-armv82-cryptoSHA512 intrinsics for ARMv8.2-crypto capable processors
SHA AVX2--with-intel-avx2SHA1/256/512 intrinsics using Intel AVX2 extensions, depends on intel-ipsec-mb


  1. An experimental feature shall be controlled by a configuration flag inside configure.ac that explicitly enables the feature.
  2. The feature shall by default be disabled.
  3. The feature shall call the DOGECOIN_REQUIRE_EXPERIMENTAL macro in configure.ac, to enforce that --enable-experimental was passed.
  4. All code blocks related to the feature shall be guarded by a preprocessor check on the configuration flag, to prevent leaking code into releases.
  5. Inside each experimental code block, a call shall be made to the DOGECOIN_REQUIRE_EXPERIMENTAL macro from support/experimental.h, to clearly mark the code as experimental and ease review and troubleshooting.
  6. Only when an experimental feature matures into production shall the above requirements be voided.


Experimental features move through different stages. By default, each experiment is "maturing", which means no decision is made whether the feature will be included in a release, and the feature does not have to be ready for inclusion at that time. This gives interested parties time to test, suggest changes and form an opinion about the benefits of the feature without this blocking release.

Once there is consensus that a feature is beneficial, it needs to be prepared for generic inclusion. This means that while it retains experimental status, the feature is tested to not break any builds on known platforms, after which it can be matured into production code in a separate PR.

It is also possible that an experiment is abandoned instead of included in a release, for example when it lacks a maintainer or when another implementation is proposed for the same functionality that is more desirable.