Registrations have opened for a NEO dApp competition with 13,500 GAS in prizes to be won, run by the community development team City of Zion (CoZ). CoZ are an international group of developers working hard to build up the NEO ecosystem, and are responsible for one of the most popular NEO wallets, Neon.
Canesin, one of the founders, is largely responsible for organising the CoZ initiative, and did so when there was little ongoing community development or documentation to work from. Since then, City of Zion has become one of the main driving factors behind the enrichment of NEO, creating a bridge between China and developers around the world. In fact, they have been so successful in producing real results that the NEO Council have agreed to fund their efforts for five years.
Canesin was nice enough to answer a few questions for NEO News Today, so NEO enthusiasts can learn a little bit more about the team who have dedicated themselves to making the blockchain platform successful.
Dean – NEO News Today: Firstly, thank you so much for allowing us some of your time. Can you tell us a little bit about your background as a developer and how you first came across NEO?
Canesin: Hi, thank you for the service you provide to the community =).
Sure: I have always been involved with computing. When I was very young I was lead at a warchalking community – so I was exposed to cryptography early in my life. I ended up doing engineering for undergrad and masters – my thesis is on computational fluid mechanics. By day I’m a developer for the Oil & Gas industry.
This year, after accomplishing some life goals, I found myself with some spare time and decided to give blockchain a second try – after some encounters in 2010. I looked for the best blockchain project I could find and that was NEO. At the time it had no community of developers, so as it was an open source project I saw the opportunity to start CoZ together with some key community members.
Dean – NNT: There will be a lot of casual NEO investors who might not have heard of City of Zion (CoZ), or are unaware of what you do. For the benefit of those readers, what is CoZ?
Canesin: CoZ is a group of people with technical skills that work together to improve the NEO ecosystem. We are not a company nor a legal entity, we are an open source community. We, as a group, have established structures to organize ourselves so that our work can have a higher impact and quality. It is like a club that outputs solutions for the NEO ecosystem. Almost all of our members are holders. The NEO Council acknowledges our continued efforts, providing funding of which we redistribute to the people in CoZ. Every day we are becoming more managed and focused.
Dean – NNT: I hear you were instrumental in pulling CoZ together. What was it about NEO that inspired you to dedicate your time to this project, especially as initially there seemed to be such a small development community?
Canesin: Having been to other places besides the US I know how aback it is in terms of financial solutions, (guys, chip cards are new here, check is still a thing and mobile has very low usage) so I don’t believe it will lead on blockchain adoption – China is already a cashless society, they completely skipped the plastic card. Like how African countries skipped landline phones and went straight to cellular phones. So for that and other reasons (like acceptance of change) my best bet on the place to really adopt blockchain first was China. After that I started to read code on GitHub trying to figure out legitimate projects in China, found NEO, and liked what I saw: it was innovative and I was not late.
Dean – NNT: How is CoZ structured, how big is the team and what does a typical day for a core CoZ member look like?
Canesin: CoZ is loosely managed, the way we drive the developments is by voting and distributing the funds we receive from NEO, but members are free to work on whatever they want. We have a council of 9 people that every week have the task to look for all the developments happening in our Slack #develop channel (today at 6339 members) and GitHub repositories and document the things that are happening. That results in a weekly report (medium.com/@cityofzion), and afterwards we spend the following week voting how to reward each contribution in said report (in parallel to looking for new contributions). Usually, after someone receives rewards two or three times, we invite that person to a private group (today at 46 members). If contributions are constant and/or important we invite that person to join our GitHub org (today at 25 members), and from that point he has the CoZ badge.
Hence, I have no idea what a typical day is.
Dean – NNT: How much contact does CoZ have with Da, Erik and the NEO Council? What kind of support do they provide?
Canesin: WeChat, email, Skype. It is a relationship of mutual trust, we have constantly delivered on our promises and they have done the same. NEO support comes as directions and funding for rewards. CoZ is really very independent, the main connection is that we only exist to improve the NEO ecosystem.
Dean – NNT: NEO has really been thrust into the spotlight over the last month, and it’s been a wild ride. What impact has this flood of new interest had on CoZ?
Canesin: It is becoming a full time task for some of us, and if this rate of adoption and appreciation becomes sustained over the coming months it will probably be for all of us.
Dean – NNT: Are there any misconceptions about what CoZ is / does that you’d like to set straight?
Canesin: Yes, people think we are a company that outputs products and that we need to provide support for it: we are not, we are an open source community. CoZ projects use the MIT license, read it: (https://github.com/CityOfZion/neon-wallet/blob/master/LICENSE.md).
Dean – NNT: What do you think CoZ’s proudest achievements are thus far, and what projects in the pipeline are you most excited about?
Canesin: Hard to say, CoZ is responsible for so much. The work from Ash and Tom on unit testing was essential to be where we are. Without Ethan’s wallet and Luciano’s explorer the ecosystem would be much weaker. Tyler and Alan’s work on smart contracts broke ground. Michael and Fabian are on the front of the community. So many things, all done with no documentation and very little communication. I’m really proud of this team, they created the path for the community to grow.
Dean – NNT: What is your personal vision for NEO 5 years from now? How do you see the platform being adopted and used in the future?
Canesin: CoZ will work to make NEO the standard platform for the smart economy in 5 years. My personal vision is that NEO becomes so natural that, for example, for it would be common for someone to have 25% of a vacation home shared with 3 other unknowns and that the ownership is registered in NEO blockchain in a completely transparent way – NEO will be there and nobody will even notice. You just use your “NeoBnB”.
Dean – NNT: For any developers out there who want to contribute, what is the best way to get involved with CoZ?
Canesin: Join our Slack in https://slack.cityofzion.io and go to the #develop channel. Then just do it! We value code done, it is amazing – everybody has so many ideas, but only a few make it real. It is the lowest hanging fruit around, getting the blockchain to the real world is probably the most rewarding task right now, like internet companies in the past decade.
Dean – NNT: For anyone else who loves the NEO project but isn’t a developer, how can they contribute?
Canesin: There are many ways to be a developer, you don’t need to understand and contribute to core and complex computer science code. People do design work, economic analysis, network simulations, reporting. The reality is that all professions are and will increasingly use some coding skills. I expect lawyers to learn to read smart contracts in the (near) future and even reporters that can follow a series of commits in GitHub will have the advantage of giving the news first. So don’t be afraid of “not being a developer”, none of our members were before becoming one.
Dean – NNT: Do you have any final messages for the public, or anything on the horizon you’d like to plug?
Canesin: Sure! Watch for projects coming out of CoZ and contribute. No contribution is too small or too superficial. I can see that in the next six months all of the members in our private channel will launch some service or application on NEO, that is just the natural outcome of being so involved. CoZ’s process really helps identify serious teams, so keep an eye on this people.
NNT: Thank you so much for answering our questions. NEO is definitely enriched by all your efforts, and we’re very lucky to have you working on the project!