BLOG January 18, 2021
As we close the book on another year, the Neo community can look back and be proud of all that has been achieved in the last 12 months. 2020 was a year like no other. The COVID-19 pandemic forced everyone to re-imagine their personal and professional lives. Many sacrifices have been made, and new habits forged.
Neo has come through it with the help of our community and we move into 2021 with strength. Three new Neo3 Preview versions shipped in 2020, with Preview4 - the most complete and performant to date - landing in December.
Neo’s global community developer groups have been hard at work, with almost all major infrastructure and tooling projects reporting levels of Preview4 compatibility.
Together we are building the foundations for the next evolution of Neo and the digital economy. It speaks volumes about the cohesion of our community that we are doing it in tandem. The work that has been completed in 2020 and in the early stages of 2021 will make it a joy for new developers to build applications on Neo deep into the future.
The full December Neo global monthly report can be found below.
December brought with it the release of Neo3 Preview4, a major accomplishment by core developers and other contributors. The update introduced Neo3 in its most stable and performant form so far, and officially debuted a number of new features including the Oracle service and NEP-17 functionality. Preview4 also provided optimizations and supplements for the committee governance strategy and implemented the revitalized economic model.
Core developers are also currently working to migrate state root logic from neo-core to neo-modules. The Oracle plugin is also under development, which will support the operation of oracle nodes.
Despite the accomplishments in December, new and unfinished tasks have prompted the team to release a Preview5 version. This final Preview release will include almost all Neo3 features and logic. The Preview5 checklist can be found here.
Several PRs have been created following the decision to move state root logic to a new state service plugin, located in neo-modules. #410 moves the MPT data structure to the service module, whilst #414 will enable nodes to store only the latest state locally. Core developers are also working on the underlying logic for the state service, including storage and validation, command & RPC, P2P messages, etc.
The core development team has decided to close PR #1878, regarding MPT refactoring, in order to focus their efforts on the development of Neo3. This issue may be reopened later when more development resources are available.
The oracle service also saw a range of improvements throughout December, with several optimizations and fixes implemented (#326) in preparation for testing in Preview5. Examples include the replacement of HashsetCache with ConcurrentDictionary, prevention of multiple starts, and the addition of the CheckOracleAccount method.
December also saw the introduction of various improvements to the smart contract system for Neo3, such as the ManagementContract (#2119), a new native contract that is responsible for managing all contracts. The Contract Create, Update, and Destroy methods have been moved to the native contract as methods, whilst ContractState and ContractIdState are added as storage entries. This contract also allows native contracts to be deployed in any block through the use of the ActiveBlockIndex field.
Other improvements include persistence of the original hash for a contract after modification, simplifying contract upgrading, and infrastructure maintenance (#2044). A new MinimumDeploymentFee, set to 10 GAS, was also introduced to regulate deployment and prevent spam (#2140, #2153).
Developers using Preview4 will also discover the new opcode/interop service pricing model. The new model uses coefficient values for prices alongside an adjustable base price to allow committee members to scale costs up or down as necessary (#2045).
Other improvements include the new CALLT opcode, which enables the calling of specified token logic in NeoVM (#382) using the new method tokens (#2185), and simplifications for the iterator APIs (#2190). Core developers also completed the non-fungible token native contract base class in December, which will be used in the Neo Name Service (NNS) to allow users to send and receive via aliases instead of addresses (#2177).
Infrastructure and Tools Development
Completed community voting on the Flamingo governance proposal regarding the use of GAS from nNEO, the first step in the project’s governance transition.
Published Preview4-compatible versions of the Mamba and Neon.js SDKs, published a Python NEP-17 example, and integrated Neo3 into Dora for testing.
Released the first alpha version of NEO•ONE v3, featuring near-complete compatibility with the Neo3 Preview3 version.
Continued to update its SDK, compiler, and devpack according to the latest changes in Preview4.
Updated NeoLine and Neotube to bring them in line with Preview4, and began formulating plans for Neo3 dAPI, voting, and migration.
Finished adapting NeoGo to Preview4 compatibility and finalized various remaining pieces of NeoFS, including CDN components and a new storage engine.
Added Bitcoin support to the wallet and updated the API service to provide BTC and ETH asset prices and access to Ethereum-based dApps.
Rolled out Preview4-compatible releases of the Neo Blockchain Toolkit components and unveiled a new contract test framework.
Flamingo Finance by NGD
In December, the Flamingo team proposed the first Flamingo Improvement Proposal (FIP), allowing the community to decide on whether to use GAS generated by nNEO as a reward for the Perp trading competition. Though the proposal did not pass, it represented a milestone achievement for the governance transition of the Flamingo project. Another proposal will be initiated following community discussion regarding a more appropriate distribution method.
NeoGo by Neo SPCC
In December the team completed Neo3 Preview4 compatibility in the Go node and tested for correctness on the Preview4 TestNet. The team also implemented the proposed P2P notary request payload and updated neo-bench to allow for performance testing of the Preview4 update.
Explorer & Monitor
Dora by COZ
December brought Neo3 support to Dora, which is pending design review before release. The team also worked to further implement the Neoscan API, adding new features such as storage state change based on feedback from the community.
NeoTube by NEXT
In December, NEXT finished adapting the NeoTube explorer to make it compatible with the Preview4 network. Alongside protocol changes, the team also took the time to repair some issues with the interface, particularly when viewing the site on mobile devices.
Smart Contract Compiler
Boa by COZ
Boa v0.6.1 was released in December, aligning the contract methods to be compatible with Preview4. The new version also implemented Union type annotations and added the extend method for bytearray values, amongst other fixes. COZ also included a NEP-17 example contract, providing a useful entry point for Python developers looking to write contracts for Neo3.
neow3j by AxLabs
AxLabs continued to work on its SDK and devpack in December, bringing them in line with the latest Preview4 changes. New support was added for the management contract and changes to contract deployment, the new opcode pricing model, new syscalls, and other updates.
Neon.js by COZ
COZ updated the Neon.js library with Preview4 compatibility, which is now undergoing final reviews. The new release, next-5, is intended to facilitate dApp integrations.
Mamba by COZ
COZ also rolled out a new performance-oriented release of its Python SDK. The latest Mamba version, v0.4.1, enhances chain sync speed by 4x, surpassing the C# core client, neo-cli. Under the hood, Mamba makes use of the team’s C++ VM implementation, which has also been aligned with Preview4 alongside the SDK.
Smart Contract & dApp framework
NEO•ONE by NEO Tracker
The Neo Tracker team released NEO•ONE v3.0.1-preview3 in December, a milestone version with almost full compatibility with Neo3 Preview3. The main outstanding task for the team is its TypeScript smart contract compiler, a substantial body of work which is expected to be Preview3-compatible by the end of January. Once finished, the team will move on to Preview4 compatibility in the NEO•ONE node and client before finally revisiting the compiler again.
Neo Blockchain Toolkit by NGD Enterprise
In December, NGD Enterprise rolled out its first Preview4-compatible releases of the Smart Contract Debugger, Neo Express, and Visual DevTracker, helping developers get to grips with the latest Neo3 protocol changes.
The team also unveiled new innovations, introducing a new smart contract test framework to help push a test-driven development philosophy in blockchain. The new tooling automates the process of creating a private blockchain, deploying contracts, and executing tests.
Neon by COZ
In December, COZ completed the Neon v3 design for the desktop version and added support for the SWTH contract’s integer return type. Development also continued on the mobile version of Neon, which is currently undergoing testing.
NeoLine by NEXT
NeoLine also received updates in December, across both the mobile and chrome extension versions. The team implemented Preview4 support, updating the wallet to allow it to coexist with the Neo2 network. The Chrome version also received bug fixes to solve a problem with repeated message pushing on Neo2. NEXT also began designing and formulating plans for the Neo3 dAPI, voting, and migration functionalities.
O3 Wallet by O3 Labs
The team officially released its Bitcoin wallet in December, adding a multi-chain structure to the desktop version which includes support for Neo3 Preview3. The data interface and notification functions were completed for the API service. Other updates to the API service include price feeds for BTC, ETH, and common ERC-20 tokens, and introduces support for Ethereum-based dApps.
NeoFS by Neo SPCC
Through December, Neo SPCC continued to refine NeoFS, implementing the new storage engine for metadata and BLOBs, and improving support for large objects through automatic splits. The latest changes also bring full Preview4 support, and introduce the data auditing process required to prevent storage nodes from gaming the system.
Other components were also updated to bring them in line with the changes, including the NeoFS contracts, daemons, and API. The API went through two iterations in December—the first, v2.1.0 “Modo,” adapted the API to the new storage engine changes, and the second, v2.2.0 “Yeouido,” added support for the data audit functionality.
Neo SPCC also completed the development of all CDN components, which are now being integrated. The CDN SDK, API, and dev-env were all upgraded. The team also released an update to the NeoFS DevEnv with Preview4-compatibility for developer testing.
Marketing and Operations
As we drew closer to the release of the official Neo3 TestNet, the marketing team continued to promote new features and components of Neo3 in online and offline events. Following the release of Neo3 Preview4, NeoLive sessions were hosted in Neo’s official Telegram group on core topics such as Poly Network, NeoFS and Neo3’s new governance and economic model.
Later in the month, Da Hongfei appeared at the International Blockchain Technology Innovation Summit in Sanya to deliver a keynote titled “Neo3: A New Start for Pragmatic Idealists” which systematically highlighted everything new and noteworthy in Neo3.
To round off December, the team prepared a special NFT Treasure Hunt game on social media to celebrate the holiday season. Winners of the treasure hunt received a limited edition NFT: Neo Fast-Pass (NFP). Holders of NFP can keep it as part of their NFT collection or exchange it for Neo official merchandise and other privileges. More information on the exchange will be revealed later and more NFP tokens (total supply 500) will be rewarded to participants of upcoming campaigns.
- Adam Yang, NGD Marketing
- Dec. 3: NGD Ecosystem Growth manager, Denis Suslov, participated in a joint webinar with Moonstake entitled “The future of blockchain: The Case for Neo3.”
- Dec. 3: Poly Network tech lead, Tan Yuan, delivered an online training course for broader China, that taught users how to access the interoperability protocol via Blockchain-based Service Network.
- Dec. 4: NGD Enterprise lead, John deVadoss, introduced fractal debugging, a multi-pronged approach to support debugging in transactions, even across complex cross-chain or off-chain execution scenarios. In addition to fractal debugging’s first stage of implementation, NGD Enterprise also began rolling out debugging for oracles.
- Dec. 7: Da Hongfei published an article on CoinTelegrah to discuss "The butterfly effect: Why DeFi will force BTC to break its 21M supply ceiling".
- Dec. 7: Da Hongfei, participated in a virtual panel hosted by Jinse to discuss cross-chain technologies in the blockchain industry.
- Dec. 8: NGD Ecosystem Growth lead, John Wang, participated in a panel on non-fungible tokens and DeFi at the Cutting-edge Games Conference virtual event.
- Dec. 9 – 12: Co-founder and CIO of Neo SPCC - Stanislav Bogatyrev delivered a presentation for the Smart Data Engineering Conference on how NeoFS is going to replace centralized S3 with a more accessible and efficient solution.
- Dec. 19: John deVadoss, published an article on CoinTelegraph about blockchain systems and how they can disrupt enterprise IT architecture. deVadoss argued that blockchain platforms enable a fundamentally new approach to enterprise architecture by putting economic incentives front and center.
- Dec. 22: Da Hongfei delivered a keynote speech titled “Neo3: A New Start for Pragmatic Idealists” at the International Blockchain Technology Innovation Summit in Sanya, China.
- Dec. 23: Da Hongfei participated in a virtual panel at the “CoinTelegraph Chinese First Anniversary” online summit.
- Dec. 25: NGD released a Christmas NFT Treasure Hunt video. Participants could watch a video published on YouTube and follow instructions to win a limited edition NFT.
- Dec. 30: The Neo Foundation hosted an AMA in the official Neo Telegram channel to discuss Neo3’s governance and voting incentive mechanisms. NF developer community strategist Longfei Wang outlined how council members and consensus nodes will operate in the governance model, examples of issues that can be put to vote, GAS distribution to NEO token holders, and more.
- Dec. 31: Da Hongfei was featured in a CoinTelegraph article alongside other blockchain industry leaders to discuss the 2020 trends in DeFi and outlook for 2021. Da noted several new protocols to improve cross-chain asset bridges and outlined how interoperability protocols such as Poly Network help pave the way for a globalized and boundary-free smart economy.
- Switcheo TradeHub was upgraded to v1.9.0. This version supports new functions such as bi-directional transactions between Ethereum and Neo assets, new trading pairs, liquidity provision, AMM, futures trading, and so on. Starting from this version, rewards are distributed to liquidity providers for multiple trading pairs.
- Demex, a decentralized derivatives exchange based on TradeHub, was launched on Dec. 16. Users can currently trade SWTH/ETH, SWTH/USDC, and ETH/WBTC pairs and a number of cross-chain assets including nNEO/USDC.
- Nash has announced its integration with Margin, a trading terminal offering tools including indicators and trading bots with customizable strategies. The terminal integration coincided with the Nash League trading competition event launch, which offered up to US $1M in rewards across a mix of solo and team participants.
- Tuned, an all-in-one platform for creating and automating crypto trading strategies, adopted Nash Link to power its payment acceptance and invoicing protocols. Tuned claims to have processed more than $150 million worth in trading volume since its launch nine months ago.
- O3 Labs made various updates to its wallets, including the introduction of a multi-chain infrastructure with the addition of BTC and Neo3 Preview3. Its API service is now able to access exchange rates for BTC, ETH, and ERC-20 tokens, and O3 Labs has also completed the API service for Neo3 Preview3 data interface and notification functions. O3 Labs also conducted online activities such as O3 Live to build community engagement.
- Bridge Protocol upgraded its identity platform to v3.1, expanding Bridge Passport access to Android mobile users.