A Tough Month for Neo - Understanding the Recent Challenges and Their Effects

Jun 11, 2024 3:09:56 PM

The last weeks on Neo were not the best. It wasn’t one, but a few things that happened that may have caused an impact on both $NEO and $GAS prices. This article discusses a few of these issues, their impact, and possible solutions.

New Neo Version: Cockatrice Hardfork

The new version, 3.7, has just been launched. This update introduces several significant improvements, such as updating native contracts. Unfortunately, due to the complexity of the changes, it also came with a few bugs.

One of these bugs caused some nodes to freeze, leading to numerous periods when the block time exceeded the expected 15 seconds. Since GAS is generated per block, the longer the block generation time, the less GAS is produced. It didn’t take long until investors started to notice and ask questions.

The changes also affected existing node plugins and extensions, which are necessary for providing functionalities to wallets, explorers, and applications. The update required a complete node resynchronization. Some teams updated their nodes but forgot to resync their network state, causing application errors or inconsistencies.

Since most users consult these tools for network information, the tools being offline or displaying incorrect information led people to think there were other issues. In reality, these teams also had to update their tools to work with the latest release.

If running a Neo node, ensure your team has updated the software to the latest version and performed a full data resync (deleting the old chain data).

Result of Increased Activity

The activity level in Neo’s repositories has significantly increased in recent months. With more code being produced, the number of bugs has also increased. Some of these could have been identified earlier, especially those related to plugins, but not all situations are predictable. Given that it is a platform supporting smart contracts (arbitrary code), it is impossible to foresee all scenarios related to its behavior.

The team began working on the corrections and published a new version when a problem was identified. It is worth noting that the problem was discovered during the weekend, which did not stop the team from fixing it. A good aspect of this situation was the new member’s demonstration of teamwork.

The situation reflects an increase in development pace rather than the team’s lack of responsibility or negligence. The QA team conducts tests to prevent such situations, including complete network synchronization. This issue was related to a condition that had never been reached before, specifically tied to changes in notifications emitted by smart contracts during a contract update.

People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones

Sometimes, Neo users criticize other platforms like Solana for their downtime. Such situations remind us that it is unwise to attack competing platforms, as we might face similar issues. Understandably, these actions aim to make Neo more attractive than other chains, but it’s not a recommended practice.

Problems with Development Tools

A complicated and ongoing situation involves bugs related to development tools, like Neo Express. In this case, many updates to the project have been made without proper testing. Some modifications introduced errors, causing older projects to stop working properly.

Another issue related to Neo Express is the uncertainty about its maintenance by the core developers. Previously, NGD Enterprise maintained this tool. This team no longer exists, and voluntary contributors are maintaining their projects.

Various teams, such as Linkd Academy, AxLabs, COZ, and Ghost Market, depend on Neo Express. Bugs or unexpected changes in the tool’s functionality significantly impact these teams’ operations.

The problem is that fixing Neo Express will not be trivial due to modifications in the Neo project. Additionally, the project has not received attention from the core developers, who are still divided on whether they should maintain it.

Linkd Academy as Neo Express Maintainer

At Linkd Academy, we use Neo Express to onboard new developers. This tool is extremely necessary and currently irreplaceable. For this reason, Linkd seeks a partnership with Neo to maintain the project, freeing the core developers to work on the network’s main functionalities.

We believe we are the best team to maintain it given we already use it in our developer tools, documentation, and guides. Neo is a great platform that offers unique value propositions, and one of the main reasons it lacks projects is the poor developer experience. The software works, but learning how to use it can be frustrating.

Consider supporting Linkd Academy as the Neo Express maintainer. This will free core developers to work on other important features and allow Linkd to work on important user experience updates.

Two Names on Neo

Neo has announced a partnership with ZNS Connect. According to their official statement, the company will work on an identity service for Neo X users, starting with a name solution. This is good for Neo but not for NNS NFT holders.

It’s great for Neo because names greatly improve the overall user experience. Like web browsing, we should expect names to be used instead of IP addresses. However, there is a problem: The Neo X network won’t adopt the names registered under the Neo Naming Service (NNS).

Unfortunately, the Neo X won’t use .neo , but .neox instead. In practice, anyone could buy a name registered on NNS on Neo X. Their similarities can lead to confusion, but the main issue is that NNS owners bought “names on the Neo platform,” and their ownership rights were stripped away.

That was a serious mistake by the Neo team. It showed a severe lack of empathy with investors and a poor understanding of the ‘tokenization’ concept. They also failed to see something quite obvious: not only are the suffixes too similar, but people use just one name. Which one should they use?

Not the first time

It’s not the first time the Neo team has done something like this. A similar situation happened with Neo Verse, a commemorative NFT collection that “carries various “VIP” privileges within the Neo ecosystem”.

Unfortunately, these privileges are yet to be known. For this reason, the Neo Verse trading volume is zero. The same could happen with NNS NFTs.

This situation impacted trust in the platform and made people wonder if the Neo platform cares about their investors.

Silence and External Factors

We can speculate that the reasons above had a price impact. However, Neo’s main reasons for losing market share are likely related to external factors and the absence of communication.

First, regarding external factors, Neo and other Chinese coins benefited from uncertainties in the US market. After the SEC “calmed down” and ETH ETFs were approved, Hong Kong stopped being seen as an alternative to investors. There was other news about crypto platforms accepting Chinese registrations, but it had no impact.

Secondly, the price is dropping because nobody talks about Neo—at least, not in a genuine way. We see some partnerships being announced now and then, but that’s all. Even the haters aren’t there anymore, only the bots.

Tough Spot for Neo

Neo is now in a tough spot. Although it has recently acquired a lot of attention, most of these leads and investors are gone. They got ‘cold’ and lost interest in the platform. Getting some of these people interested in Neo again will require substantial work.

New developers are struggling to join and existing users losing interest in Neo. The Neo team should invest in solving these issues, otherwise, we will likely continue to see a price drop. That will continue until Neo X is officially released.

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