Once live, Neo3 will offer an all-in-one suite of tools and features for a seamless developer experience. In a recent O3 Live AMA, Neo Foundation developer community specialist, Longfei Wang, discussed various new changes and attributes of Neo’s next iteration. The AMA was hosted by Rusian, an O3 Labs product manager.

In the AMA, Wang noted Neo3’s comprehensive environment comprised of a native decentralized identity standard, a distributed file storage network, built-in oracle accessibility, among much more. Other improvements he touched upon include changes in the architecture, governance and economic model, consensus mechanism, and more.

A full transcript of the O3 Live AMA can be found below:

Rusian: Let’s welcome our guest, Longfei Wang, the developer community strategist at the Neo Foundation who is going to talk about Neo3!

Longfei lives in Shanghai and has been with Neo since July 2018. Before joining Neo, he was with Wanxiang blockchain labs, where he started in the blockchain industry.

Hello Longfei, and thank you for joining us today!

Longfei: My pleasure! Let’s start with something about me first.

I have two roles with Neo, one is as a manager of Neo Global Development research and development team, and the other as a developer community strategist with the Neo Foundation. So, I work very closely with internal NGD team as well as with Neo developer communities.

So one of my main jobs is working with NGD and communities to build the fundamental tools and infrastructure to provide a better developer experiences to anyone wants to develop on Neo blockchain.

Rusian: You have been with Neo since July 2018, right? Is that what you have been doing at Neo from the beginning?

Longfei: Actually, that is something interesting about me. I am the only one in the office who worked in three departments related to Neo.

First, as an investment manager for Neo Global Capital, where I focused more on technical analysis for blockchain project investment. Then, I worked on the NGD R&D team, and now with the Neo Foundation. So basically, I am everywhere, lol.

Rusian: Cool! Well, the O3 Wallet was launched back in 2017 and you joined Neo in 2018, do you remember your first impression of the O3 team?

Longfei: Haha, definitely because that is something very memorable. Actually, I got to know O3 team for the first time during 2018 Neo DevCon in Seattle because of their hat. All thanks to the awesome O3 hat that Alex Knight (previous lead product designer of O3 team) was rocking during his presentation. After his presentation, I ran to the O3 booth to ask for one and lucky I got the last one they have which I still keep it with me now. Love that hat.

Q1: Can you list the main features of Neo3 that will make it ahead of its competitors? And what is the competitive advantage Neo3 will have that you feel most confident about?

Longfei: Well, first, I want to emphasize something our founder Da Hongfei has said before. He mentioned during one of his talk that the existence of public blockchains is not to replace Ethereum or other blockchains, but to explore and mature in certain areas.

For Neo, that is “smart economy.” So, the main purpose of Neo3 is to build the mature blockchain protocol to better serve our vision. Not to make it ahead of competitors.

But we have added a lot of features into Neo3, which I believe they are very competitive advantages. 

Source: Neo Foundation

First part is all the brand new features that Neo3 will offer with a complete suite of all-in-one blockchain experiences.

The Neo3 MainNet will integrate three important functional modules, including a decentralized ID solution, a decentralized storage network, and a built-in oracle. As you guys may already know, those features are core infrastructure of other blockchains, but Neo or dApp developers will get to use all at the same time in Neo3.

Secondly, in order to fulfill Neo’s vision of the smart economy, we need to have Neo3 blockchain to be a safer, more effective, and more reliable network infrastructure.

Considering the problems and issues we were facing for Neo2, the Neo core developers have made tremendous enhancements and updates from the architecture level, including replacing UTXO model with account model for NEO and GAS, upgraded dBFT2.0 consensus algorithms to guarantee un-forkability and single block finality, and enhancing smart contract module via new NeoVM design.

Last but not least, there is our new governance and economic model.

Neo3 will start adapting to a flexible and manageable on-chain council governance mechanism based on dynamic comprehensive democratic voting to encourage NEO holders to participate in the governance process by voting for trustworthy council members to manage and govern the Neo blockchain.

On the other hand, the new incentive model guarantees that all parties who contribute to Neo3 governance will be rewarded accordingly. Besides that, with the brand-new economic model, Neo developers and users will experience a significant decrease in development costs and transaction costs on Neo3. 

Q2: And what is the current status of Neo3 development and plan in the upcoming months?

Longfei: Neo3 Preview4 was released in Dec. 2020. This release had the majority of Neo3’s new features and reaches to a very high level of maturity. But throughout past two years, Neo core developers and communities worked hard to gradually deliver Neo3 protocol according to the roadmap.

Since Neo3 is an enormous, complicated, and innovative software development, it took time and patience for design, development, and testing. Hence, we gradually delivered all the planned features according to Neo3 roadmap via preview releases. Let me explain the progress:

First, in 2020, three Neo3 Preview versions were delivered. The latest Preview4 release – the most complete and performant to date – was released in December. By now, majority of features are already implemented in the Neo core, including dBFT2.0, architecture upgrades, native contracts, new governance and economic model, oracles, NeoVM upgrade, and much more.

According to the Neo3 roadmap, only stateRoot and NeoFS are still works in progress. So, we are targeting to release stateRoot along with some optimization in Preview5 release in the coming month. Then, NeoFS integration will be ready when official TestNet launch around March 2021.

In addition, there will be a series of announcement and events post-TestNet. Examples include a Neo3 early adopter plan, a Neo3 hackathon, council member recruitment, and Neo2 to Neo3 migration plans for tokens and projects. More information will be released in the coming months. 

Q3: One of the goals of Neo3 is to provide the most developer-friendly platform, what has been done for Neo3 to achieve that goal?

Longfei: That is a good question. I think it is combined effort from Neo core devs, as well as Neo developer communities. The whole Neo family is working together to make Neo as developer-friendly as possible; not only from protocol layer, but also from the developing experience with the tooling. I will share three of my perspectives.

First, Neo3 will have new measure that increase the cost-efficiency of using the network. Neo3 will use a brand-new economic model to reduce the costs for Neo users and increase the economic incentives for NEO holders. 

Developers and users will experience a significant decrease in development costs and transaction costs on Neo3. The contract would only charge for incremental storage spaces, and the cost of deploying a new contract is as low as 1/100 of that in Neo2. Smart contract execution cost is decreased according the execution consumption as well.

Here are some examples of fee changes:

  • Smart contract deployment: 1,000GAS to 10 GAS
  • Runtime.checkwitness(): 0.2 GAS to 0.003 GAS
  • Storage.get(): 0.1 GAS to 0.01 GAS

Second, Neo will provide developers and users with a complete suite of all-in-one blockchain experiences. The Neo3 MainNet will integrate three important functional modules, including a built-in oracle, a decentralized storage network, and a decentralized ID solution.

Third, developers can more easily test code with the time-travel debugging experience. After all, blockchain developers may already know how difficult and yet helpful debugging smart contract is, especially with real on-chain data.

Time-travel debugging greatly simplifies debugging by enabling developers to easily step forward and backward through the code execution. Further, by going back in time and with a greater understanding of the context, the developer can “replay” the scenario as many times as they want to while they examine every step that leads up to the bug and figures out how to best to fix the issue with the code.

According to John deVadoss, with Neo Blockchain Toolkits (a VS Code plugin) providing time-travel debugging and fractal debugging experience, Neo continues to raise the bar and push new frontiers to become the most developer-friendly blockchain platform.

And, Neo offers multi-language support.

Q4: Can you share a little more about NeoFS and its distributed file storage network?

Longfei: NeoFS is designed and implemented by Neo Saint Petersburg Competence Center. It is a distributed and decentralized object storage network integrated deeply with Neo blockchain. In terms of architecture, NeoFS is running as sort of a side-chain of Neo3 to provide decentralized storage service for Neo blockchain.

Deep Neo blockchain integration allows NeoFS to be used by dApps directly from NeoVM on the smart contract code level. As a result, dApps are not limited to on-chain storage and one can manipulate large amounts of data without paying a prohibitive price.

NeoFS stores and distributes user data across a peer-to-peer network comprising NeoFS nodes. Whether a business or an individual, any Neo user may join the network and get paid for providing storage resources to others or pay a competitive price and employ NeoFS storage solution. NeoFS enables a transparent data placement process and gives full control over data to the users by letting users to select storage policies for NeoFS nodes, such as geographical location, redundancy level, number of nodes, type of disks, and capacity.

Currently, Neo SPCC has already released NeoFS-Preview4 compatible version and are running their NeoFS TestNet along with Neo3 Preview4 network. We are expecting the final mature NeoFS and integration with Neo3 will be done when Neo3 official TestNet launches. We welcome all the developers and projects to try it out soon.

If you are interested to see the comparison among different distributed storage solution, please check out this article from Neo’s medium page: https://medium.com/neo-smart-economy/neo-insights-decentralized-storage-solutions-compared-3a33acc617f5 

Q5: After the Neo3 release, will there be an effort to further decentralize the platform? If so, is there any kind of timeline?

Longfei: That is a great question and also something I personally would love to see it become reality.

Fortunately, with the brand-new governance model, I am sure the further decentralization is definitely coming with Neo3.

First, I’ll briefly explain the new governance model.

In short, there will be 21 council members who are managing and governing the Neo3 blockchain by adjusting critical on-chain parameters. Among them, seven members will be running consensus nodes to keep the liveness of Neo3 blockchain. Most importantly, these 21 council members will be voted by NEO holders.

The new economic model will guarantee further decentralization by incentivizing NEO holders to vote. 80% of generated GAS will be used to reward voters who voted the right council member. So, there is big motivation for NEO holders to participate.

Then, there is also an incentive for council members. 10% of generated GAS will be distributed to council members. Therefore, we hope to see organizations, institutions, and Neo ecosystem partners join Neo3 governance.

Once all the governance related infrastructure (i.e., website, wallets, and SDKs) are ready, NF and NGD will start recruiting partners with significant influence within the industry to form long-term partnership and participation in council to bring benefit to the development and growth for Neo.

Ideally, the council will be formed by members from the following categories:

  • Neo communities or ecosystem projects
  • Ecosystem partners such as exchanges, wallets, and staking agencies
  • Institutions such as security firms, universities, and think tanks

Q6: Could you tell us about O3 Labs’ support and progress for Neo3? What will change with the Neo3 on the O3 Wallet?

Rusian: For sure O3 will support all modules of Neo3 but we are preparing the wallet-related infrastructure first. Those are not strongly wallet-related modules (features) will be available at the second stage. After Neo3 officially launches its MainNet, we will go with it synchronously. Recently, the O3 Wallet desktop version is supporting Neo 3 Preview4.

Q7: I read on the Neo GitHub that candidates need to stake 1,000 GAS to be selected as a Neo Council member. If the candidate isn’t chosen, what with their GAS, and can these parameters can be changed by NEO holders in future?

Longfei: Wow, I am impressed by that. You got the latest update from our codebase. Yes, the core development team is in discussion about requiring 1,000 GAS to register as a candidate. Candidates can get their GAS back if they are not voted into the position. Also, there are plans to make the parameters adjustable.

Q8: Changes from Neo2 to Neo3 seem to mostly apply to GAS tokens. Why don’t you just remove the NEO and GAS dual-token system?

Longfei: First, that is not true that the change from Neo2 to Neo3 is mostly only in GAS. I have explained a lot of changes during the first part of our conversation. Please refer to it for the important and useful upgrades for Neo. 

Secondly, it is a great question of why not just remove GAS. This is the topic what Neo communities has discussed a lot openly on Github as well as privately during our meetings. There are pros and cons for keeping GAS or removing GAS. We could not say which solution is the best, but we definitely keep the solution best suit us.

Q9: What has been the greatest challenge during the development of Neo3? Are there plans for integrating more African developers? If so, what are they?

Longfei: I like this question. If anyone has worked with a community-based project, you will understand the challenge of reaching agreement among so many talented minds and eventually developing a project everyone is proud of. This is a challenging task and also the most rewarding. 

In terms of integrating more African developers, we are very open and welcome new developers to join us and contribute since Neo is an open-source and community driven project.  As long as developers are interested and contribute to our codebase, they are very welcomed. 

Also, we will release Neo grants for Neo3 soon, anyone is welcome to apply if they have good ideas or projects they’d like to build on Neo.

Q10: Between increasing token price, making tokens valuable, or building community trust, which one the most important for you?

Longfei: Definitely a tricky question. But as a blockchain developer as well as Developer community strategist of Neo Foundation, I will definitely pick the third one because that is what I think is most valuable thing for Neo. 

As long as we keep building community trust, then we will have a stronger team to build and achieve Neo’s goal. Then token price or token value will be reflected by stronger community and better blockchain platform. 

Rusian: Hey guys, thank you for your patience, our O3 Live is coming to an end.

Longfei, thank you so much for being with us today!

I believe it was very informative for the community to learn more about the work that you do. So, once again thank you for sharing with us today and we look forward to having you again as a guest speaker in the future.

Longfei: Thank you for having me to talk to O3 community. It is my pleasure!

Note: Some edits have been made for formatting and readability.

The full AMA can be found at the link below: