The time for a new Decred roadmap has finally arrived. While many users have been keen to know where the project is headed in detail, we have intentionally avoided laying out our longer term plans in order to prevent other projects from implementing these ideas before they make it into Decred. I recognize that our approach with Decred runs counter to most other cryptocurrency projects, which often focus much more on hype and marketing than on development and sound engineering. Instead of hyping future work in advance of its completion, we have quietly completed our work and will hype it as it goes into production. Now that we are close to our first major post-launch milestone, hard fork voting, it is a good time to share where Decred will go from here. Here is a summary of what we have planned for Decred in 2017:
- Convert Decred into a stakeholder-directed DAO - While other projects have attempted to create a DAO via a monolithic smart contract, Decred will build a DAO in several steps, ensuring each component works independently before putting it into production.
- Hard fork voting - Stakeholders will be able to vote on all hard fork changes to Decred, with only those changes obtaining greater than 75% support being activated.
- Public proposal system - After hard fork voting is in production, we will create an off-chain system where Decred users can submit proposals for future work to be performed by the development organization, Decred Holdings Group (“dev org” or “DHG”).
- Decentralized control of DHG funds - Currently, the control of DHG funds is centralized, and this will be resolved by creating a system whereby control of these funds is decentralized, e.g. based on stakeholder voting.
- Lightning Network support - The lightning network is the most directly useful application of smart contracts to date since it allows for off-chain transactions that optionally settle on-chain. This infrastructure has clear benefits for both scaling and privacy.
- Improved GUI wallets - We have made substantial progress with GUIs, Paymetheus (Windows) and decrediton (Windows, OS X, and Linux), and will continue to improve the user experience.
- RFP process change - To date, the RFP process has involved giving quotes on deliverable sets, and this system is cumbersome to administrate and maintain. The RFP process will change to one where individuals and businesses will be contracted on a longer term basis to work for the project. As part of the RFP changes, we will be looking for contractors to do marketing, advertising, documentation and community management work.
- Presence at events - With hard fork voting nearly ready for production, we have some legitimately interesting content to discuss at events. Our presence at events will ramp up starting in late Q1 2017.
- Enhanced privacy - Starting in late Q2 or early Q3 2017, we will propose a new initiative to enhance user privacy.
- Payment integration support - Instead of only focusing on Decred from a speculative position, we will support efforts to integrate Decred as a payment method for businesses starting in Q1 2017.
Each of these roadmap items is discussed in greater detail below.