COZ organizational update — New roles, new focus, and streamlined rewards system

Dean Jeffs
Mar 13 · 8 min read

COZ started as a small group of enthusiastic developers who had a common goal — to help the NEO Smart Economy grow. In this respect, we have been wildly successful. We opened the door to NEO for many investors and developers through documentation, the release of Neon Wallet, the authoring of the NEP-5 token standard, the creation of Neoscan, and the development of tools such as neo-python and neon-js.

Our small group of trailblazers quickly grew from less than a dozen to over 50 contributors. Our open rewards model has given developers from all over the globe an avenue to learn blockchain development, experiment with new ideas, and contribute to a project they believed in — All while being financially rewarded for their efforts.

COZ built a reputation for incubating talent. Many members of COZ were approached for full-time employment by ecosystem projects, while others spun off into projects of their own. We are immensely proud of the individual success stories of our community members, just as we are of our collective efforts.

Projects that set forth to build dApps on the NEO blockchain often cited COZ as a key reason for choosing our ecosystem. They have been able to use the tools that we have created to develop their projects, and have turned to COZ for development support and guidance.

We’ve also held development competitions, workshops, and meetups, and participated in events around the world to attract developers and give the community the support it needs to thrive.

When we look back at all that has been achieved in such a short time, we can say without a doubt that COZ has succeeded in its goals.


In December 2018, the COZ Leadership team came together for a three-day summit in Amsterdam to discuss plans for COZ into 2019 and beyond. In the weeks leading up to the summit, we asked the development community for feedback on topics such as onboarding, rewards, adoption, communication, and the overall direction of the community.

It became clear that three main improvements needed to be made. Firstly, we needed to focus our resources on the products that would provide the most value to the NEO ecosystem. Secondly, projects would benefit from increased leadership through the definition of roadmaps, task priorities, and overall vision. Lastly, we needed to improve the rewards system to be more transparent and easier to understand for new contributors.

Over the last few months COZ has undergone a range of re-organizational and operational changes to improve in these three areas. This article is intended to outline these changes and COZ plan moving forward into the future.

Supported Projects

COZ will be shifting its priorities to provide more focused support to the NEO ecosystem by narrowing the scope of its projects that are eligible for weekly rewards.

Enabling COZ members to build and explore through the weekly rewards system has been an incredible learning experience that has incubated a lot of talent and ideas. However, the truth is that the majority of value realized by the ecosystem comes from a few select projects.

Taking into account the COZ community feedback and the current needs of the NEO ecosystem, we have defined eight core projects eligible for weekly rewards:

This move focuses our resources on the projects that are most critical to the success of NEO. The neon-wallet, neo-python/boa, neo-scan, and neon-js projects are easily those most relied upon by the community. When we asked COZ members “What COZ projects do you feel bring the most value to the ecosystem?” these projects won by a landslide. It wasn’t even close.

We also asked NEO Global Development which of our projects they would like to see COZ continue to incentivize. NGD indicated they saw value in neo-go, neo-storm, and neo-debugger-tools, and as we agree these projects have the potential to be widely adopted they remain eligible for weekly rewards.

Project Leads

Under the new model, maintainers are no longer be known as “maintainers,” but as Project Leads. The new title is much more representative of what this role entails, which is to provide leadership and vision to a project.

Our two initial Project Leads are Max (@comountainclimber) for Neon Wallet and Erik (@ixje) for neo-python, carrying over from the old maintainer roles. Max and Erik are currently working with the COZ leadership to define roadmaps and milestones for these projects, which will soon be shared with the community.

The Project Leads also play a crucial role in the improved Rewards process, which includes tagging issues with priority status and assessing contributions from other developers.

Moving forward, anyone looking to work on either of these projects is encouraged to speak to the Project Leads for guidance. This is a full-time role, and as such, there will be nobody who knows a project better than its Project Lead.

New Role — Technical Project Manager: Joe Stewart

We’d like to congratulate Joe Stewart (@Hal0x2328) for being selected as COZ’s first Technical Project Manager. Joe has a wide range of experience in programming and information security. As one of the most talented smart contract developers in the NEO ecosystem, Joe has shown an aptitude for innovation and problem-solving. Among his achievements, Joe was the winner of the first-ever COZ dApp comp with NEO Smart IoT. He is also the creator of the MCT token, the lead developer of HashPuppies, and has authored a NEO Enhancement Proposal for an NFT standard. Joe has been running Special Projects for COZ for a number of months, providing user and development support in public channels. His work leading development teams such as Splyse makes him an ideal candidate for this role.

The role of the TPM involves overseeing all COZ projects. For projects with a lead, Joe will be a part of the conversation regarding roadmaps and overall progress. For supported projects without a lead, Joe is currently speaking with past maintainers and contributors to put high-level roadmaps in place and is also responsible for defining issue priority.

Draft roadmaps will be published on GitHub for discussion, and we encourage the community to provide feedback and comments. Our goal is for every reward eligible COZ project to have a clear purpose and direction. This will make it easier for new and existing contributors to find tasks to work on. Joe’s primary responsibility is making sure these projects stay on track.

Joe will also help to review project contributions and provide informed feedback to the COZ leadership to be weighed for the distribution of rewards. The new rewards model is detailed further below.

Rewards model

In an effort to improve the effectiveness and transparency of the COZ rewards model, we are migrating to a model loosely based around the Ethereum Bounty Program found here.

Under the new system, PRs are collected by the Project Leads and TPM, and will be assessed in collaboration with the COZ leadership according to their Impact and Quality, determining the reward value.

Each eligible project has a project board (example) of tasks tagged with Impact labels. The Impact label correlates to both the importance of the task to the project as well as eligible awards for task completion. Contributors can either directly submit pull requests against the issues or contact the Project Leads or TPM in the Slack channels to be assigned the tasks.

When an issue (or award justified PR) is closed out, it is moved to the Award Distribution Project. The Project Leads or TPM will provide a comment on the Issue or PR indicating the awards for each contributor to the task in points. The Award Distribution Project allows contributors to track the status of the award process.

Please be aware that awards are made at the discretion of COZ, and that labels are an indicator of approximate awards and do not represent any guarantee.

Upon distributions of awards, the transaction ID is posted on the GitHub issue or PR. This creates a fully transparent, closed-loop process for contributors and the community. (example)

Another advantage of this new system is that the Impact labels make it quite clear to contributors, both new and old, which are the most critical items that need to be addressed and which are the low hanging fruit. Developers are now better able to pick up issues that best suit their skills and availability while still driving projects in the right direction.

In the future, we intend to publish an article with examples of different types of contributions and where they are likely to fit within the rewards model.

COZ Board

One final change we would like to announce is that we are transitioning the COZ Council into a smaller and more active Board. The new board members are:

  • Tyler Adams
  • Fabio Canesin
  • Ethan Fast
  • Tom Saunders
  • Chris Hager
  • Jaime Kindelan
  • Dean Jeffs

The reorganization of COZ includes its leadership. It became clear that a full-time Council was consuming too many resources under our previous structure. Each Council member was at one stage a project lead in some form or another, but as COZ evolved that ceased to be true.

As such, the transition to a “Board” provides an opportunity to redefine the Council role into one that makes sense for COZ in its new state. The Board is an unpaid position. Although it has always been the case, this emphasizes that those who serve on the Board do so because they want to see COZ flourish as a community.

The purpose of the Board is to guide the direction of the community, provide support to its members, manage funding distribution, and act as the primary liaisons with NGD.

The Board will also introduce more accountability. There will be clear expectations for activity and more explicit roles for those who serve in a leadership capacity.

Each of the current former Council members were given the opportunity to join the new Board. Fabian Wahle, Ashley Rolleston, and Luciano Engel, all of whom have made huge contributions to NEO inside and outside of COZ, have decided they can best serve our common goals by focusing on other projects. Ashley will continue to assist with board related tasks during the transition.

We also welcome Fabio Canesin to the Board. Although he left the Council in September last year, Fabio has continued to be a leader within this community and has a special relationship with the NEO founders, making him a natural fit for this redefined role.

Finally, we intend to establish clear guidelines for voting Board members in and out and will provide further details on these plans as they continue to be ironed out.

Next Steps

We are very excited about our evolution. COZ has always been a community of do-ers, and we hope that this new wave of changes will help to unlock our collective potential further. We invite developers both new and old to join our Slack channel, or visit the various project boards for supported projects to find items they can start contributing on.

Some of you may have also noticed that there is a new #help-wanted channel in the NEO Discord, which carries a feed of issues from the COZ GitHub eligible for rewards. You can expect to see more this type of outreach as we continue to look for new developers to join our community.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to anyone on the COZ Board.

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COZ community magazine

Dean Jeffs

Written by

Of the Seven Dwarfs, the only one who shaved was Dopey. That should tell us something about the wisdom of shaving.

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COZ community magazine

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