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NEO Global Development (NGD) released a 2018 annual report on December 31st, 2018. NGD used the annual report, which was its first, as a retrospective on the events of 2018. The report is also a discussion of NEO’s community ecosystem and development progress.

NGD titled the report, “The Darkest Hour is Just Before the Dawn”, and led with a quote from NEO founder Da Hongfei. According to Hongfei, “2018 was a tumultuous year for us but we have been holding on to the vision of smart economy and will make NEO the most developer-friendly public chain.”

2018 NEO Software Research and Development

NEO’s full-node computer programs, the command-line NEO-CLI and the graphic interface NEO-GUI, underwent iterative development in the year 2018. NEO-CLI was updated from version 2.6.0 to 2.9.3, and NEO-GUI has reached v2.9.0.

NEO’s underlying consensus mechanism also saw improvements as community developer Shargon assisted in the development of code designed to fix the ‘block fork’ issue that was experienced intermittently in 2018. The revised code is undergoing testing before it is merged for an upcoming release.

In addition, NEO’s NEP-5 token standard and NEP-6 wallet standard have been added to NEP-10, a proposal offering streamlined management of those features that may be supported by new smart contracts, and go beyond the basics of the NEP-5 token standard.

NEO’s testing regimen for new software releases was also bolstered by improvements and additions to its automated testing process, standards, and team.

2018 NEO Core Ecosystem Development

NEO began the road to network decentralization though its consensus nodes in the summer of 2018, with global development community City of Zion, as well as Dutch telecom company KPN, now hosting two of seven bookkeeping nodes on the NEO blockchain. NGD also stated that “It is expected that complete network decentralization will be realized in 2019” in a December 2018 announcement detailing an election schedule for its node candidates.

NEO also announced a Vulnerability Bounty Program offering rewards of up to USD $10,000 for disclosure of security vulnerabilities.

Last but not least, feature proposals for the next version of the NEO blockchain, NEO 3.0, were added to Github by NEO founder Erik Zhang. Development work on the major upgrades is underway and scheduled for completion at the end of 2019. As NEO 3.0 is an iterative upgrade, features created for NEO 3.0 will be released as they are completed.

Finally, NGD has created a webpage offering updated bootstrap files to speed up the process of chain synchronization for those in the community who are maintaining RPC nodes or running NEO-CLI or NEO-GUI on home PCs.

2018 NEO dApp and Community Development

NGD noted major contributions from the community groups City of Zion, NewEconoLabs, NeoResearch, and NSPCC, among others. On the dApp front, NGD maintains a listing of NEO dApps that has grown to nearly 100 projects.

In addition, NGD says that it “has hosted/sponsored over a hundred events in 2018,” including the first annual NEO DevCon in January 2018. Separately from the annual report, NEO community member and NEO News Today editor Brett Rhodes posted an extensive list with citations on the NEO subreddit of “over 75 days of community events and hackathons” that received either direct support or attendance by representatives of the NEO core team.

NEO Global Development now claims 38 full-time employees, which represents “a growth rate of 200%” for the year.

NGD’s full 2018 report can be viewed at the following link:
https://medium.com/neo-smart-economy/the-darkest-hour-is-just-before-the-dawn-4c5dff22acb7