2018 was a solid development year for Radix, both of the code-base and of the team. Over the course of this year we have consolidated our mission, expanded our team to 21 full time staff, and made some key technical breakthroughs.
Achievements last year include:
Of course it has not all been plain sailing though - timelines have slipped several times on us, and we have seen massive adjustments in the crypto markets. We have gone through initial team scaling problems, such as moving development methodologies (to Scrum + Agile), which has also allowed us to refine the technical priorities we have to make sure we do not do too much at once.
Moving to an agile process has given us a much better view of our development timelines; painstakingly going through the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) for launch, defining the user stories for each deliverable, backlog grooming, and then being incredibly strict about what it is that we must launch with first and what has to be left until later.
This blog post will cover our current view on what 2019 will look like for Radix at the start of the year; these timelines are still subject to change and will be kept up to date on our roadmap page:
The agile process has led us to the conclusion that it is necessary for us to split the Go-Live into several milestones:
For the Radix MVP we currently have 43 User Stories to complete for Ledger Code Freeze and 91 more to get through before Technical Go-Live. These numbers will be updated every month, and as the story points and sprint velocity are also calculated, we will also add those. You can stay up to date with our progress and sprint velocity here:
As soon as Ledger Code Freeze is complete, we can start the process of a Code Audit. We will also launch the Beta Network. Once this is completed, and as long as no glaring issues are highlighted, this puts us ready for the final Beta Network Go-Live.
Technical Go-Live also includes the ability for any company or individual to start using the Radix system in a commercial setting, including building their own tokens, assets, wallets and applications on the Radix main net. This is currently soft targeted for Q4 2019. We do not have a solid launch date yet as we are still working towards a consistent sprint velocity for the team.
Economic Go-Live is the Radix main event - it will happen at least 2 months after the Technical Go-Live and will be when both the Economics, Decentralised Exchange and Network Fees begin functioning. Given the proximity to Christmas 2019, it will likely not be until 2020 that the Economics goes fully live.
For obvious reasons, any delay in the Code Freeze will impact all the other timelines, as will anything serious that is turned up in the Code Audit. It is therefore important for me to be clear that the timelines above are only best estimates on what we know from the state-of-code at the end of 2018.
Up to now, there has not been a huge amount to play with on the Radix Alpha net. Despite that we have seen some great applications built with the tools including a Reddit clone called Raddit (great name) and a Telegram Radix Wallet bot.
However, The Node Runner client has had several delays and the ability to mint 3rd party tokens etc is also not yet live.
Both of these are being addressed in the first quarter of 2019 and once Code Freeze has been finished, we will increase our focus on Developer Community activities. Much of this will centre around Bounties and Challenges.
The Bounties will be split into three parts: security, libraries, features. Security will be looking at our public network and client library code; seeing where code injections and spam attacks are possible, as well as any security issues in our Android, Desktop and iOS clients. Libraries will be challenges around building things like a Python Client Library, and support for other languages that we have not built ourselves at Radix, but will materially improve any developer's ability to get up and running on Radix. Features will be additions to the client libraries that add functionality or utility that make using the Radix ledger easier.
Challenges will focus more on building applications on top of Radix, and giving easy to use/easy to fork examples of what can be done using the Radix ledger in commercial applications.
More details on both of these programs will be released later this year.
One of the key features of Radix is the Radix Economics - it answers a very important question about the network: how will this system benefit all stakeholders? The Economics Paper is there to address the three key stakeholders: Users, Balance Holders, Node Runners. This document has gone through a large number of iterations and is scheduled for release in draft form on the 31st of January 2019 as an open comment document. The goal of the Economics is to give clear incentives to all stakeholders to engage with the Radix platform.
With the current massive movements in the Crypto markets, an Economic system that can provide stability, rather than the current, intense volatility, is going to be very important, as well as a clear message for all users:
Here is a platform that gives you both scale and stability - built for a fast moving world.
Hot on the heels of Economics will come the need to answer some key questions of Governance - many public ledger systems have suffered from the fate of poor Governance structures; a difficult line to continue to walk is the need for some form of co-ordinating force, combined with a need to be antifragile and adaptive. In 2018 we have spent a lot of time discussing with partners and people we deeply respect in this industry - in 2019 we will be releasing our proposals for making that Governance work at scale, in a way that can outlast myself, Dan and the team in the system.
We are also intensely aware of the need to publish the hotly anticipated Security White Paper. This has been delayed for a number of months due to us updating several key elements of the consensus system; this work will be of course augmented with the work by our Chief Scientist and other mathematicians and will underpin the technical specification for the Radix ledger. We expect this to be the last technical paper that we will release before the main network is launched and the source code is released to the world.
With the completion of the Radix Economics Paper we can start the task of legal review. As so much of this system pushes into potential new areas of law, we will be starting with an analysis of the UK legal system. Our focus on this area will ramp up in January, with the initial legal opinion formed soon after so that we can review what the next steps for jurisdiction and legal entity for the foundation should be. This critical piece of work will also allow us to discover if we will require any licenses for the Foundation to operate in its role as custodian of the public networks.
Much of this legal opinion will likely centre around two elements: the functioning of the Radix minting algorithm and the functioning of the DEX. We are under no illusions that this complex area of law will need considered and in-depth thought.
Launching a system of this scale and scope is very much a marathon, not a sprint, but it has been an incredible journey so far. We would also like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has been following our progress and supporting us - hope you all have a most excellent 2019.