The Open Economic Framework and the Ledgers allow AEAs to create value through their interaction with other AEAs. The following diagram illustrates the relation of AEAs to the OEF and Ledgers.

The AEA, OEF, and Ledger systems

Open Economic Framework (OEF)

The 'Open Economic Framework' (OEF) consists of protocols, languages and market mechanisms agents use to search and find each other, communicate with as well as trade with each other.


The OEF is under development. Expect frequent changes. What follows is a description of the current implementation.

At present, the term OEF is also used to refer to a node that enables agents to search, discover and communicate with other agents.

For two agents to be able to find each other, at least one must register as a service and the other must query the OEF node for this service. For an example of such an interaction see this guide.

Currently, you need to run your own OEF node for local development and testing. To start an OEF node follow the Preliminaries sections from the AEA quick start. Then run:

python scripts/oef/ -c ./scripts/oef/launch_config.json


In the current implementation agents act as clients to the OEF node. We are working on a fully decentralized peer-to-peer implementation which will remove the need for a central entity.


Ledgers enable the AEAs to complete a transaction, which can involve the transfer of funds to each other or the execution of smart contracts.

Whilst a ledger can, in principle, also be used to store structured data - for instance, training data in a machine learning model - in most use cases the resulting costs and privacy implications do not make this a relevant use of the ledger. Instead, usually only references to the structured data - often in the form of hashes - are stored on the ledger and the actual data is stored off-chain.