Neo Monthly Report — September 2020
Without a doubt, Flamingo Finance dominated the headlines in September, bringing many new people into the Neo ecosystem. Flamingo’s overarching goal is to bring the “missing pieces” of DeFi to the Neo blockchain. Its full feature set is planned to include a cross-chain asset gateway, automated market making-based swaps, synthetic stablecoins, and AMM-based perpetual trading contracts.
Flamingo officially launched on September 23rd with Flamincome and Wrapper. Flamincome allows users to stake wETH, USDT, wBTC, and other ERC-20 tokens to generate a yield on the Ethereum network. Additionally, these ERC-20 assets are converted to synthetic nTokens on the Neo blockchain, which can be used to earn additional yields.
Wrapper is a cross-chain gateway with support for NEO, BTC, ETH, and ONT tokens, among others. Wrapper mints tokens based on Neo’s NEP-5 standard, making cross-chain assets available to Neo users and contracts.
Flamincome and Wrapper enabled the inflow of over US $100 million in assets onto Flamingo in under 24 hours, and at one point, surpassed US $1.5 billion. Users staked these assets in Flamingo’s Vault as part of the Mint Rush event, where over 50 million FLM tokens were distributed to contributors to the platform.
The massive influx of users meant that the launch was not without its challenges. However, the NGD-led Flamingo team and wider community worked hard throughout September, participating in AMAs, publishing guides, and staying highly connected with users to help with their queries.
On the Neo3 front, work continued as we moved towards Preview4, aiming for a release in November. Among the recent progress, several optimizations were implemented to the governance and economic model, while the asynchronous method was selected for Neo3’s oracle solution. Preview4 is currently planned to be the final milestone release before the Neo3 TestNet.
The full Neo global monthly report can be found below.
In the last month, Neo has been completing the remaining tasks on a checklist for Neo3 Preview4, expected to release in early November. This milestone release will introduce several new features in the lead up to the launch of the first official Neo3 TestNet. So far, various Oracle components have been implemented, alongside logic modifications to the new committee mechanisms intended to enhance the stability of the economic model in Neo3. Finally, the implementation of state root functionality is now underway, including several performance-enhancing optimizations.
Governance & Economic Model
To improve the operational logic behind Neo3’s governance and economic model, several optimizations have been implemented. One important example is the refresh interval of committee members. Committee member status will now be recalculated every 28 blocks, derived from the total number of committee members and validators. This new mechanism was selected following careful considerations and discussion with the community and is expected to better incentivize committee members and their voters. Relevant changes and optimizations can be found in the following PRs: #1848, #1917, and #1920.
In September, Neo2’s economic model underwent some modifications designed to improve the protocol’s friendliness for more complex smart contracts, such as those used in DeFi services. Changes include raising the maximum amount of free GAS (#1888), adding the ability to adjust the minimum network fee (#1901), and corresponding changes in the CLI and plugin modules. The changes were included in a new version (neo-cli v2.12.0), used for the MainNet upgrade on September 20th.
The core development team and community are still discussing whether or not to decouple state root from the consensus algorithm. A new proposal suggests adding a new role to the chain — the status validator. These nodes would be designated by the committee and communicate through additional channels, and are used to sign and broadcast state roots. However, there are still various views on whether state roots need to be broadcast across the entire network, or whether this information should be obtained over RPC. Discussion can be found on this topic in #1526. Neo core developers have also decided to pursue the implementation of state root logic in the optional Neo modules. Logic migration is still being worked on; a PR will follow in the future.
During September, numerous improvements were implemented for the state root functionality. These include synchronization speed improvements (#1854), a fix to prevent nodes from being killed when state verification fails (#1940), optimizations for the state root payload (#1955), changes to avoid getroots request spam (#1957), and raised priority of the root sync task to prevent state synchronization from being influenced by session task count (#1922). Further improvements are also planned which will enable nodes to only store the current state; one of the relevant PRs (#1878) has completed the review, another one is being prepared.
The asynchronous oracle scheme has been selected as the core Oracle solution for Neo, rather than the original synchronous version. The decision was made due to the advantages offered by the asynchronous option. These include the lack of dependence on special transaction ordering/delaying, and the ability to access URLs related to a specific time. The relevant PR (#1738) has passed testing and is now merged into the master branch. An additional PR (#326) required to add the OracleService plugin into Neo modules is currently undergoing review.
September saw the completion of several key infrastructure improvements. One notable example is the addition of a block receive height limit (#1870). By limiting incoming block payloads, Neo will prevent caches of unverified blocks from growing too large whilst also preventing malicious entities from flooding the node. Another change, the introduction of a Designate contract (#1950), provides a mechanism for new roles to be added to the network in the future. In the meantime, it will be used to store the oracle node list.
Other noteworthy changes include the release of a Preview3 version of Neo-devpack-dotnet (#352), the addition of a non-interactive mode for neo-cli (#651), and optimization of Ping messages (#1903) to improve performance. Finally, to better serve developers, a new type has been created, Neo.SmartContract.Framework.List<T> (#361). It will be used to fill the need for a growable list/array in C# smart contracts.
Infrastructure and Tools Development
NGD-incubated interoperable full-stack DeFi protocol Flamingo began rolling out functionality with the Mint Rush campaign launched on the 25th, with TVL exceeding USD $1.6 billion by the 28th.
Released Dora v0.0.2 and Neo Boa v0.4.0, and published a Neo3 ICO template example. The team also deployed five new high-availability public nodes to meet increased network demand.
Continued to work towards the NEO•ONE 3.0 milestone release with updates to its client and node implementations, targeting compatibility with Neo3 Preview3.
Redesigned the neow3j SDK’s contract API, added string concatenation support to Java smart contracts, and updated documentation for Neo3.
Revamped the NeoLine Chrome extension wallet with improved support for Flamingo and UX, coupled with backend system upgrades in order to scale and meet DeFi user demand.
Deployed its first pieces of NeoFS architecture to the Preview3 TestNet following latest node updates, and implemented basic CDN components.
Discovered eight issues in its Preview3 release, including 2 critical vulnerabilities that were reported and fixed prior to the report delivery. An exploit in the new CNEO contract was also found and fixed.
Completed the final specification for dBFT 3.0, and worked on new documentation for its user-facing tools with recent academic interest, such as SMACCO (smart account composer).
Upgraded to its backend setup to Preview3, completed its analysis of Neo3 contract transaction data, and rolled out relevant frontend changes for NeoRay.
Flamingo Finance by NGD
After publishing a litepaper, FAQ, and user guides, the Flamingo platform was launched on September 23rd with the release of the Wrapper module and the Ethereum-based Flamincome yield booster. The platform exceeded $1.6B in total value locked within 3 days of the launch. After a temporary interruption on the 25th stemming from wallet issues, the Mint Rush event for fair FLM distribution ran successfully through to the end of the month.
NeoGo by Neo SPCC
Neo SPCC released v0.78.0 of its Neo2 Go node, including all the protocol changes introduced in neo-node v2.12.x. The team also introduced a new getalltransfertx RPC call to simplify transaction history queries that involve both NEP-5 and UTXO assets. For the Neo3 version of NeoGo, the native oracle contract was implemented alongside other recent changes, which include alterations to the GAS distribution scheme and improvements to dBFT timers for more precise inter-block intervals.
Explorer & Monitor
Dora by COZ
Following on from its release last month, COZ released Dora v0.0.2 with several new features, including invocation history plots for smart contracts, new columns on the contracts page, and formal publishing of the API.
NeoTube by NEXT
NEXT added caching for frequently queried data and other optimizations to its in order to help scale the its various services to cope better with the increased user demand experienced since the Flamingo launch. Address information pages have also been updated to display FLM and other related asset balances.
Smart Contract Compiler
Boa by COZ
In September, COZ released version 0.4.0 of neo-boa, its Python smart contract compiler for Neo3. The latest release includes a range of new features, including new methods, code generation optimizations, and validation for try except statements. A Neo3 ICO template example was also created.
neow3j by AxLabs
AxLabs continued to extend its Java compiler functionality during September with support for string concatenation and updated the devpack to allow developers to create classes and methods that act as an interface to any smart contract on the blockchain. Outside of the end user’s view, the team also produced a framework for conveniently testing the compiler in order to improve and maintain its quality.
neow3j by AxLabs
September saw the release of neow3j 3.3.0, with a rework of the SDK’s contract API, and other improvements, fixes, and extensions of both the compiler and SDK. The changes bring the tool up to date with Neo3 Preview3, and make the contract API more consistent and convenient for developers.
Smart Contract & dApp Framework
NEO•ONE by NEO Tracker
In September, the team rolled out a number of updates on the roadmap for it’s 3.0 milestone release, which will make the service compatible with Neo3 Preview3. On the client side, changes affect various pieces of functionality, updating how NEO•ONE smart contract client APIs are created and how contracts are created and structured. Other improvements were made on the node side, updating RPC methods, storage, and the blockchain implementation.
NeoRay by NEL
Building on the work from last month, NEL worked to make its integrated dev environment NeoRay compatible with Neo3 Preview3. Modifications to the storage plugin enabled storage and analysis of transaction data from Preview3 TestNet contracts, and a contract information page has been added to display relevant information.
NeoLine by NEXT
The NEXT team rolled out a number of improvements to the NeoLine wallet during September. For the Chrome extension version, changes include a redesigned interface, an improved dAPI invocation and priority fee menu, and a prompt to remind the user to back up their secret information. The team also rolled out a number of changes on the backend, intended to help improve data access speeds and scale the service up to support a higher number of requests.
NeoFS by Neo SPCC
In September, Neo SPCC released v2.0 of the InnerRing node and a pre-release of the v2.0 Storage node. Testing of the service has now begun following the deployment of the NeoFS InnerRing, smart contracts, and micropayments sidechain on the Preview3 TestNet. Additionally, the platform’s governance model has been designed in cooperation with NGD, with implementation now underway.
Other key services for NeoFS are at varying stages of development. In September, the team completed several basic components for the NeoFS CDN, namely the Edge Manager, Task — Coordinator, and Cache Invalidator. Furthermore, relevant documentation has been updated in preparation for the CDN to deploy on the Preview3 TestNet.
dBFT 3.0 specification by NeoResearch
In September, NeoResearch delivered the final specification document for dBFT 3.0, which is now undergoing evaluation. NeoResearch members also submitted an academic work regarding integer programming model and dBFT 3.0 to a scientific journal, which is currently under review.
Auditing by Red4Sec
Red4Sec has continued its ongoing security audit of Neo core. So far, the audit has been completed up to 60% of Preview4. Since the Preview3 release, two critical vulnerabilities were reported out of a total of 8 issues found, which are being addressed in preparation for Preview4. The team also reported vulnerabilities in the CNEO/CGAS contracts, which have now been fixed and reviewed.
Marketing and Operations
In September, the NGD marketing team focused on DeFi and the launch of Flamingo. Key NGD members such as Da Hongfei, John Wang, and Gao Yuan made frequent appearances in both online and offline events to introduce the Flamingo platform.
To accompany the launch of Mint Rush and Mint Rush 2, the NGD Marketing team released an FAQ and user guide, while keeping real time communication with international communities to answer questions throughout the event.
- 16th — 18th September, Neo participated as the main sponsor for “The 3rd China (Xiamen) International Blockchain + Future Business Development Summit” hosted by ChainNews in Xiamen, China.
- Da Hongfei gave a keynote speech titled “The New Open Finance Paradigm,” while NGD marketing director, Gao Yuan joined the Flash Roadshow, showcasing Flamingo’s mechanisms, economics, and product roadmap to the crowd.
- NGD EcoGrowth director, John Wang also joined two panel discussions and shared insights on the topics of “BSN — The Open Permissioned Chain” and “DeFi outside Ethereum.”
- 20th September, The Burency Platform co-hosted an AMA session with Neo in Burency’s Telegram group. John Wang joined the group to introduce Neo’s progress in ecosystem building and shared the latest roadmap for Flamingo.
- 21th — 25th September, Da Hongfei joined multiple AMAs to discuss the Flamingo project and his opinions on DeFi. These included AMAs held in Neo communities, such as the Chinese WeChat and English Discord, and others hosted by blockchain media such as Bihu, Coinvoice and CoinTelegraph China.
- 21th — 25th September, John Wang joined multiple AMAs hosted by ecosystem partners such as OKEx, MXC, HyperPay, Jubi, and Crypto Nation, to discuss the Flamingo project and his thoughts on DeFi.
- 22nd September, Yuan Gao appeared on the Neo News Today Podcast to discuss Flamingo Finance, including topics such as a comparison between Flamingo and Ethereum-based DeFi platforms, NGD’s role in the project, strategic goals, and the FLM Mint Rush.
- 23rd — 30th September, the NGD Marketing team was involved in preparing and releasing the FAQ and user guide during the launch of the Flamingo platform. Team members were also actively involved in community engagements for real-time communication and problem-solving.
- 28th — 29th September, Da Hongfei attended the POW’ER 2020 DeFi Innovator Summit in Shenzhen, China hosted by Huoxing Finance, and delivered a keynote speech titled “The Sugar-Coated New Finance Paradigm.” Gao Yuan also gave a presentation, introducing Flamingo’s mechanisms, economics, and product roadmap in his speech.
Without a doubt, the majority of September’s ecosystem growth came in the DeFi space.
Flamingo Finance launched on September 25th, and within 24 hours over USD $100 million in assets had flowed into the new DeFi platform, later peaking at over US $1.5 billion. Staked assets included NEO, ETH, BTC, USDT, BNB, BUSD, and OKB in wrapped states or through exchanges, in addition to a percentage of Uniswap’s WBTC-ETH liquidity pool.
Over 50 million FLM tokens were distributed to users who participated in the platform, while the inflow of assets set up Flamingo to launch its Swap module in October.
September was also a milestone month for Nash, which celebrated the one year anniversary of its MainNet exchange launch.
The celebrations continued as it was added to the register of regulated exchange bureaus by the Liechtenstein Financial Market Authority, allowing Nash to launch the MVP of its Nash Cash crypto/fiat service to European customers on September 14th. Nash Cash enables the buying and selling of USDC to and from the Euro, and offers 0% fees on cryptocurrency purchases.
Other ecosystem progress and activities from September can be found below.
- Flamingo Finance launched its Flamincome, Wrapper, and Vault modules, allowing users to wrap assets to the NEP-5 standard and stake them on the Neo blockchain. At its peak, the total value of staked assets on Flamingo exceeded USD $1.5 billion. Flamingo distributed over 50 million FLM tokens during its Mint Rush phase.
- O3 Labs co-hosted an AMA session with Neo in Neo’s official Telegram group to introduce the newly revamped O3 wallet.
- TypeEarn completed its crowdfunding campaign — the funds will be used for preparing documentation and technical support necessary for exchange listings. The project is now working on its whitepaper.
- September 9th marked one year since Nash launched its exchange on MainNet. On September 11th, Nash announced that its parent company, Neon Exchange AG, was added to the register of regulated exchange bureaus by the Liechtenstein Financial Market Authority (FMA). It followed by launching the MVP of its Nash Cashcrypto/fiat service to European customers on September 14th.
- The team behind the NeoLogin web wallet announced the development of Onramper, an API and widget that enables the purchase of cryptocurrencies using fiat directly from within a website or app. Currently, Onramper supports 150 countries, 130 fiat currencies, and 47 cryptocurrencies — NEO included.
- NEO•ONE started a series on Twitter to highlight many of the features users can take advantage of when developing with NEO•ONE. These features include courses, documentation, inline diagnostics and more.
- One NeoResearch member is participating in RNP CT-Blockchain in Brazil, with a focus on education for blockchain. New advances suggest that Neo could figure between the indicated protocols for learning blockchain, among the major technologies.
- TranslateMe has launched Beta testing of its service. TranslateMe is a blockchain-based protocol that allows users to contribute translation suggestions for TMN rewards. TranslateMe has already integrated Germany and French language models.
- Switcheo Tradehub validation nodes have all been upgraded to v1.8.0, and will gradually release modules including CDP, AMM/LPs, which will make up its unique Oder Book + AMM trading mechanism. Other updates from Switcheo include the conclusion of Demex TestNet Trading Competition and the launch of the Discord channel.