Neo is seeking to incubate new projects in line with industry trends as the enhanced infrastructure and governance for N3 rolls out. Neo cofounders Da Hongfei and Erik Zhang recently participated in an AMA to discuss N3, vision, and next steps.
N3 TestNet launched on March 26, which included the integration of NeoFS into the oracle modules for the first time, alongside state root services and other new features.
In the AMA, Da noted Neo Foundation and Neo Global Development are looking to incubate DeFi and non-fungible token projects. He specifically mentioned lending and swap platforms as potential DeFi applications and marketplaces and explorers as areas of interest for NFTs.
Da said, “At this moment, our first priority is to deliver N3 MainNet and bring developers on board.”
N3’s native oracle network was referenced often throughout the AMA. The new oracle network will enable smart contracts to access URLs via the internet, allowing developers to build sophisticated oracle/data feeds. Da pointed out that the NF and NGD will also incubate any products or solutions put forth by good teams.
Governance in the Neo ecosystem will also go live during the N3 rollout. There will be a 21-member committee responsible for voting on proposals that impact the Neo ecosystem. Seven of these members will serve as consensus nodes. Da said this model is unique because “it balances compliance and permissionless-ness in a way that is dynamically determined by the governance token (NEO) holders.”
Initially, the NF and NGD will run for election as committee members, but Da encourages the community to run for the majority of the seats in the committee.
Looking forward, the NF and NGD plan to release an early adopter plan for projects and users to migrate to N3. Neo will release a roadmap, which Da generalized as “to build [the] core protocol, then [the] infrastructure, then enabling applications, then mass adoption.” Now that TestNet is live, a hackathon will be taking place soon.
Ultimately, Da anticipates N3 MainNet will launch “mid-2021, no later than the end of Q3 2021.”
A full transcript of the AMA can be found below:
Q1: In the short and medium term, what are your expectations in terms of adoption of the Neo platform? What is the best feature do you think could give a true advantage to Neo in comparison to other smart contract platforms?
Da Hongfei: In the short term, I expect the community to be activated by all the new things come along with N3. In medium term, I expect to see a flourishing of DeFi and NFT projects to grow on N3 in the second half of 2021. A handful of pilot projects are starting as early as now, since N3 TestNet is live.
From a technical perspective, N3’s new architecture provides an edge over Ethereum and other smart contract platforms. Functionally, embedded Oracle and NeoFS are the highlights for N3.
The on-chain governance model of N3 is also a unique feature. It balances compliance and permissionless-ness in a way that is dynamically determined by the governance token (NEO) holders.
Q2: How well will N3 scale with more nodes and how will it effect the speed of the blockchain?
Da: In a testing environment, a few thousand TPS had been achieved by N3. But it is pointless to quote a number without specific hardware, network, transaction details. I’m confident N3 will have sufficient throughput capacity to compete with other leading blockchains at Layer One level.
Meanwhile we’ll work out one or several Layer Two/sidechain solutions before we hit a Layer One bottleneck. It is still too early to say which technical approach will win out in the end, be it rollup, sharding, sidechain or state channel.
We are keep a close eye on new developments in the Layer Two/sidechain sector.
Q3: Can you share more information about who is on the marketing team and their plans for N3?
Da: You can find our team and contact on our official website, which is https://neo.org/.
We have development roadmap but marketing plan is usually not shared publicly. If you are interested and wish to discuss with us, join our Discord channel, which can also be found on the website.
Q4: Are there any major entities being approached to be candidate consensus nodes?
Da: Eco Growth team is working on bring new and major onchain governance council member/consensus nodes operator on board.
Q5: Are there plans to launch a wrapped Bitcoin on N3? If yes, will the Neo Foundation consider wrapping the Bitcoin they hold into an N3 wrapped Bitcoin token? Are there plans to run a stable coin, such as Tether, on N3?
Da: Wrapping BTC is a separate activity that needs a separate entity from Neo Foundation. Personally, I think it’s better to have a number of trusted third party to do it via a multi-sig/MPC scheme.
Tether is a similar topic. We will talk to fiat-backed stablecoin issuers to bring stablecoins onto N3.
Q6: What is your plan to invite developers to build on N3? Are you still against projects like Poker or spot betting?
Da: We will have an early adopter plan for both NEO token holders and developers to migrate and build.
Personally, I’ll not endorse betting apps. But Neo is an open network, the onchain governance council and governance token (NEO) holders have the final say. Currently, there is not such prohibition on Neo or the upcoming N3.
Q7: Why isn’t NEO listed on Coinbase? Can you give us an idea about when a marketing campaign start, and in what form?
Da: I can’t explain Coinbase’s listing criteria. What I can say is as soon as N3 is fully decentralized, has sound governance and a vibrant community, we should not worry about listing issues.
You raised something need to be addressed. We’ve spent a lot of time revamp current Neo and you’re correct it’s time to make more noise. We will start by doing a hackathon for N3, with more to come.
Q8: NGD-incubated projects like Flamingo seem to have traction in adoption. Will there be further efforts to have incubated projects?
Da: Yes. DeFi and NFT are the main direction NGD will incubate.
Q9: What’s your plan of action to improve adoption and take on the likes of Ethereum?
Da: Ethereum doesn’t have the capacity to handle the ever-increasing transaction demand.
The plan is to give orders of magnitudes of higher capacity (hence the update of N3), all in one functionality (i.e., Oracle, NeoFS, NeoID), flexibility of governance, and technical/capital support from Eco Growth team through an early adopter plan.
Q10: When it comes to voting, will there be any restrictions for NEO holders who keep their coins on exchanges?
Da: This issue exists on any blockchain that relies on voting. I’ve yet to see an elegant and non-gameable solution.
Q11: Under the Neo governance framework, do you foresee many government institutions comprising the Top 21 candidates forming the Neo Committee (or even some forming the seven consensus nodes)? And would it be easy to keep them on the Council, since in the unique form of Game Theory, most voters will project them to be the correct winners and vote for them in order to gain twice as much GAS?
Da: Yes Neo’s consensus mechanism, dBFT, and governance are very different from Proof of Work or Proof of Stake mechanisms. That’s the beauty of variety.
The design goal is to strike a balance between stability and permissionless-ness. Individual council member/consensus node can follow legal requirements in their jurisdiction, while overall permissionless-ness can be maintained by the selection of the committee by NEO token holders.
Q12: What are the biggest issues that prevent Neo from being the number one blockchain?
Erik Zhang: We need more practical commercial applications that can create value.
Q13: When will there be a dev/community forum on the website?
Da: A couple of times in the past the topic has been debated. For now, we use GitHub to track and discuss technical issues, and Discord to chat about more general topics.
Q14: In 2017 when Neo reached its all time high, you said blockchain was nowhere near ready for adoption and was overvalued. In 2021, with N3 MainNet around the corner, has your view on blockchain as a whole? How about Neo’s readiness for adoption?
Da: The blockchain industry alongside the world had changed a lot since 2017. Many projects during the 2017 ICO frenzy have gone nowhere. But this wave of new projects are different.
Lending and swap DeFi apps are demonstrating the possibility to run real-life banks and exchanges autonomously. It’s a complete different story than “give me money because I have a whitepaper with a bunch of semi-famous advisors.”
I believe the market overlooked Neo and mistakenly wrote it off. I’m quite confident with the launch of N3 we’ll see the resurge of Neo ecosystem.
Q15: Do you have any plans to push for a Coinbase listing? Are any other exchanges being targeted?
Da: The Neo Foundation is not in charge of token listing.
Q16: Regarding digital identity, what is your opinion on the standards currently being developed by the ID2020 alliance, and how Neo might integrate those standards?
Da: Over the past years, I started to think that it might not be a solution that links your real-life and onchain ID to get adopted first. Instead it could be a reputation system abstracting your on-chain activities to let others to evaluate your credit or give you perk.
Q17: How did you meet John deVadoss and why were you convinced he is the right man for the job to take Neo to the next level? And, will he stay with us when N3 is successfully up and running, maybe take us to a new Enterprise level?
Da: John is awesome and very capable. NGD in Seattle renamed to NGD Enterprise to better reflect our vision for enterprise adoption. The Neo community will continue to see him as a connector of business and crypto world.
Q18: Can Chainlink leverage NeoFS to make more complex oracle solutions? If so, how do you approach them and ensure they may make use of the system?
Da: N3’s built-in Oracle simply empowers smart contract the ability to access any URL on Internet. Therefore you can build more sophisticated Oracle/Data feed product on top of it. NGD will incubate such products when we see a good team and solution.
Q19: Are there any initial views on contenders for the running of consensus nodes in N3? Are we likely to see the original adopters up for voting in?
Da: A dedicated website for council election will launch soon, then NGD will actively approach potential council member/consensus node candidates. NF/NGD encourages third party/community to run for council members and will vote for them as we see fit.
Q20: NEO has positioned itself as an Enterprise solution and touted partnerships with the Interwork Alliance and Blockchain Services Network. Should the community expect/look forward to further high-profile partnership announcements concurrent to the release of N3 main net?
Da: We are promoting enterprise adoption and the community ecosystem. NGD Enterprise in Seattle will focus on the North American market, and NGD in Shanghai will focus on the Asian market.
We have a brilliant idea how enterprise and community adoption can work together and complement each other.
Q21: Is it possible to integrate USDT on N3?
Da: Not just possible, it should be done.
Q22: How will Poly Network leverage the new features of N3? Will other block chains be able to utilize NeoFS, oracle, and/or DID features of N3? What is advantage of Poly Network versus attracting projects to build on or move to the Neo platform?
Da: Yes. You can look Poly Network as a free trade agreement. Within free trade countries, the most productive one wins.
N3 is aiming to be the most productive blockchain.
Q23: Are there any NFT projects built on N3?
Da: We’re paying attention to the NFT space and related application. NGD is currently looking for projects (marketplace, data explorer, etc) to incubate.
Q24: What are some types of projects that can be built on N3, and which ones would you consider funding?
Da: DeFi, NFT, and DAO’s are three directions I pay close attention to.
Zhang: Any valuable application.
Q25: Will exchanges be able to participate in voting on N3?
Da: Whoever possess the private key has the ability to vote.
Q26: Will N3 support hardware wallets such as Ledger or Trezor?
Da: Ledger already supports Neo Legacy. We will update the Ledger app to support N3.
We can give a bounty if someone from the community can build the Trezor app.
Q27: Are there any enterprise partnerships in the works?
Da: We’ve been focusing on the launch and migration to N3. Now, with the launch of N3 TestNet, we are starting to talk to business partners.
Q28: Do you have an estimate for when N3 MainNet will go live?
Da: Mid-2021, no later than the end of Q3 2021.
Q29: How is Neo’s relationship with the Chinese government and has there been any communication between the two entities?
Da: Chinese government encourages original technology innovation, and blockchain technology is listed in the 14th national 5-year plan.
Q30: Is s COZ still working with Neo, and can we get some details?
Da: Yes, NF/NGD work closely with COZ and you should have a look at their new products, like the Dora Explorer (https://dora.coz.io/).
Q31: Is there any relationship between the old Neo Name Service and the new one that will be a part of N3?
Zhang: There is no relationship between them.
Q32: What happens to dApps that currently exist on Neo once N3 becomes active? Do they need to be rebuilt from scratch or can they be “ported” over to N3?
Zhang: Now that the architecture of N3 is completely different, all applications must be rebuilt.
Q33: Do you see Conflux as your greatest competition within China? And, would it make sense to eventually merge Ontology into Neo to become the biggest public blockchain in China and capture market share faster?
Da: It’s an interesting idea. Did we see a merge of public blockchain ever before?
Conflux’s roadmap is focused on PoW mechanism optimization. I don’t see a strong competition.
Q34: How will Ontology and Neo work together once N3 has been released?
Da: Neo and Ontology are both the founding member of Poly Network, which connects major blockchains including Ethereum, BSC, Polkadot, Cosmos, etc.
NeoID is a different implementation than Ontology’s DID, and is designed to be used by Neo smart contract mainly.
Q35: What are you most excited for in the coming months?
Da: Hackathons and new ideas.
Q36: Are there any features that you are still thinking about for the future of NEO beyond N3?
Q37: How do you see Ontology’s connection with NEO moving into the future?
Da: Ontology and Neo are both using NeoVM and member blockchains of Poly Network.
Q38: How does Neo plan to get onboard with new media partners? Is there a plan to rollout major upgrades in a faster way so that we keep the developers always curious on what to come next and be competitive?
Da: We will try to have more exposure on global media. Though, [N3 rollout] didn’t take 3+ years as you said. But it did arrive much later than expected. It is not uncommon in the blockchain world since we have to coordinate developers in different countries and timezones.
We learned a lot in the process and have become a very efficient team.
Q39: How can Neo’s unique governance fight inequality? What does a roadmap look like to get Neo to mass adoption?
Da: In general, crypto gives ordinary people opportunities to mitigate deflation and to gain access to financial products that are not accessible otherwise. But crypto project is also prone to technocracy where people with better technology skills possesses huge advantages. Neo’s on-chain council is more human-centric and easy to understand by the ordinary people, thus gives everyone equal chance.
In a nutshell, the roadmap is to build core protocol, then infrastructure, then enabling applications, then mass adoption. We have a roadmap for internal work. Since roadmap had been asked for several times, we will make it public.
Q40: If you could snap your fingers and make any tech advancement happen, what would that be?
Da: Make ZK and other cryptography scheme 1,000x efficient.
Q41: How will the dBFT mechanic in Neo N3 different from Neo Legacy?
Zhang: dBFT has been improved in N3. The block time interval is now fixed at 15 seconds, and there will be no more forks. (In Neo Legacy, the block time interval is slightly longer than 15 seconds, sometimes even up to 20 seconds. And there is a small probability that a fork will occur.)
Q42: Were there any ideas to implement which you couldn’t in N3, but are looking to do in the future?
Da: My personal thoughts:
- sub-second block time
- separation of consensus of ledger and consensus of execution/state
- asynchronous consensus flow
- ZK support
- multi VM support
Q43: What is your strategy to converge and/or convince the different silos of blockchains to adopt Poly Network? Also, did attending burning man change your perspective on anything? Is Neo doing anything to help prevent copycats or rug pull projects? Or, can we expect this to happen once N3 formally releases?
Da: Poly Network is the interoperability protocol founded by Neo and other blockchains. I think it is the most promising project in the cross-chain sector.
Burning man is an eye opener. It intrigues you to think about who you are and who you want to be.
Regarding the copycat/originality question, Neo’s has a completely different architecture and smart contract system to Ethereum/BSC, so I have reasons to believe Neo developers are smart enough to build original stuff.
Q44: After N3 MainNet launch, when will we be able to vote on who gets to become a consensus node? How many nodes will be controlled by Neo vs the open market? Once N3 is released are you planning to expand the nodes and council members if you find the blockchain is stable and the ecosystem is growing?
Da: NF/NGD will run for council members, but will encourage the community to run for the majority seats in the council.
We will start with the seven consensus node and 21 committee member setup. The setup can be changed when the community grows substantially.
Q45: Can N3 enable a project to create their own “chain” (like Cosmos, Polkadot, or Ark)? Do you think this is an important feature in the future of blockchain technology? As you have watched other projects move in this direction how do you feel about N3’s direction? Is this a missing piece?
Da: Providing a framework to build new blockchain is not N3’s mission. With regard to interoperability or connecting blockchains, our approach is to connect existing blockchains via neutral protocols like Poly Network. Every blockchains connected through Poly Network are equal. There is no mother/hub chain and child/sub chains. We think it’s the right way to go.
Q46: As portions of society shift to the digital economy, which major Fortune 500 businesses like Microsoft do you see leading the charge and partnering with Neo to help build this infrastructure of the future?
Da: We love to work with company who agrees helps us to fulfill our mission: To make any asset, digital or physical, accessible by human beings and programs with minimized trust and permission.
Q47: Any specific reason there has been no new dApp developed on Neo since the 2017/18 ICO days? Neo was one of the earliest blockchain platform to emerge from China, why haven’t we seen any enterprise adoption of Neo in China?
Da: The main reason is N3 is later than expected. But nevertheless N3 is around the corner.
Chinese enterprise tend to use consortium/private blockchains, which is also encouraged by the government due to regulatory concerns. But eventually private, consortium, public blockchains will merge and from an interconnected network. Neo’s vision is play a major role in that network especially for digital asset related areas.
Q48: What are your NFT visions within Neo and in regards to interoperability? Would you like to see Neo NFT’s being able to move across other networks for example? Also, if we already have Neo NFT’s on the legacy chain, will it be possible to move them to N3?
Da: Yes, NFT can also be transferred through cross-chain protocol like Poly Network between Neo Legacy and N3. More interestingly, you can transfer NFT on Ethereum to N3 and play with it in the future.
Q49: What areas are at the forefront of Neo development ?
Da: The enabling applications will be DeFi, NFT, DAO. Game can be upper level apps on top of these three. NF/NGD is focusing foster N3’s enabling applications ecosystem at this moment. Meanwhile we are keen on working with game developers to advance Neo’s adoption.
Q50: What was the most difficult thing to build on N3?
Da: Anything involved in a decision making process. People alway have different preference and emphasis.
Q51: Awarding 5% of all generated GAS to 21 people feels like an excessive amount. Do you have an estimate of the yearly income for them purely from Gas? Do you consider it a fair reward for protecting the network?
Da: I can tell you the reward is way way lower than other PoW/PoS miners, it means Neo is highly efficient in mining/consensus cost.
Q52: Where can I get a .neo domain?
Zhang: You can get it from the native Neo Name Service.
Q53: What’s your personal favorite aspect of N3?
Da: My favorite is the new architecture. It’s more powerful than Ethereum.
Q54: Are there any real world partnerships or significant companies that will build on Neo3?
Da: At this moment, our first priority is to deliver N3 MainNet and bring developers on board, and then enterprise partnership will happen naturally.
Q55: Do you foresee the DCEP becoming the major stablecoin on Neo?
Zhang: I think it is possible.
Da: DCEP is not launched yet and is not based on blockchain. It’s M0 money guaranteed directly by central bank and operated by financial institutions and designated organizations. Let’s wait and see what Neo can do for DCEP.
Q56: When and how do you plan to increase the number of supported nodes? Seven consensus nodes does not seem to be enough.
Da: Neo’s design support infinite numbers of nodes. As a matter of fact, there are hundreds/thousands of Neo nodes at any given time. (Think of exchanges, wallet providers, explorers, and full node wallets)
The notion of seven nodes is merely incorrect. In Neo Legacy it’s seven consensus nodes selected by NEO token holders; In N3, it’s seven consensus nodes designated by 21 council members who are selected by NEO token holders every 21 blocks.
Q57: What’s the most important use case for Neo use?
Da: At the minimum, Neo is the digital asset protocol.
Q58: How does one implement a 3D NFT like a new protocol on your network but how can implement a NFT 1155 on N3? The 3D assets need a storage inside the chain, or how you can own that kind of assets?
Zhang: You can find N3’s NFT standard here:
Q59: Can you do aggressive marketing like Tron?
Da: That’s not the way or how we do things.
Q60: Could you please talk a bit more about your marketing plans of N3 and the timing of N3 hackathon?
Da: N3 TestNet went online last week, and we will have a series of launch activities afterwards, including Hackathon, Grants, Early Adopter Plan, Governance activation, etc.
Regarding N3 hackathon, it will be held in about one month, and we select and support projects from the hackathon to build on the N3 MainNet.
The full AMA can be found at the link below: https://www.reddit.com/r/NEO/comments/mdpci4/neo_n3_official_ama_with_da_hongfei_and_erik_zhang/