NEO, formerly known as Antshares and commonly called “Chinese Ethereum”, is a platform where users can issue and trade assets. The cryptocurrency was launched by Shanghai-based Corporation ONCHAIN. It is a cryptocurrency whose development started in 2014, a year before Ethereum was proclaimed (in 2015), and enjoys sturdy support from the cryptocurrency community.
The currency offers Smart Contracts, much like Ethereum; however, NEO has been primarily adopted in the Chinese market while it is mostly absent in the Western economies.
The company responsible for NEO’s development, ONCHAIN, has sufficient funding for the development of NEO – raising close to US$325 million in funding.
NEO’s coin mission and objectives
The cryptocurrency’s mission, is to provide digital assets for everyone. While most cryptocurrencies aim to parallel financial system, NEO intends to bridge real-world assets with the blockchain. It intends to facilitate safe and fair trading of real-World assets via smart contracts.
Partnerships with the corporate sector
NEO has a lot of support from several major companies, such as Alibaba, Microsoft and WINGS. The partnership with Alibaba focuses on Ali Cloud, aimed to provide secure, auditable trails of communication.
Its partnership with Microsoft relates to Microsoft Azure aiming to research digitization of Real-World assets with blockchain. The companies ONCHAIN, Microsoft and Fanada (a legal-service firm in China) initiated a blockchain consortium called ‘The Legal Chain’ which aims to provide a digital evidence storage service, including digital contracts, intellectual property and e-medical records.
The company also partnered with a crowdfunding platform WINGS to focus on R&D to coordinate resources on DAO (decentralized autonomous organization) projects in the Chinese community
Key features and technology
- Allows more programming languages than Ethereum: While Ethereum allows support for Solidity as a smart contract programming language, NEO supports most of the programming languages used today. This helps lower the learning curve to use Smart Contracts.
- Proof-of-stake: NEO has two tradeable assets on the blockchain – NEO shares and NEO coins. NEO shares gives partial ownership of the blockchain while NEO coins are what power the blockchain, and are needed to issue transactions and run Smart Contracts
- Capped supply: NEO, unlike Ethereum, has a hard cap on supply. There will be at most 100 million NEO shares in circulation and its estimated it will take approximately 22 years to mine all 100 million NEO shares.
- NEO Virtual Machine: NEO’s smart contracts are based on its Virtual Machine, quite like Ethereum’s Virtual Machine. The company plans to release its ‘Smart Economy’ platform in the future, which has been dubbed ‘Smart Contracts 2.0’
- Sharding and concurrency: NEO incorporates Sharding and concurrency in its computer science model that solves scalability problems. Note that Ethereum is yet to make such changes to better scale smart contracts.
Exchanges that trade in NEO
One can buy NEO through some of the key exchanges that deal in NEO, which include are:
- Bittrex (US) using BTC, ETH, USDT
- Binance (International) using BTC, ETH, BNB and USDT
- Bitfinex (Taiwan) using BTC, ETH and USD
- Hitbtc (International) using BTC, ETH and USD
- Cryptopia (New Zealand) using BTC, LTC and DOGE
- Qryptos (Japan) using BTC and ETH
- Allcoin (Canada) using BTC
Recent developments in NEO
A recent investor relations disaster in November 2017 brought NEO’s price in a downward spiral. The reason behind investors’ ire over NEO coin was the announcement by NEO promoters that big declarations are in store for the currency. Ever since the announcement, several cryptocurrency enthusiasts began speculating on the announcements as being some major developments in technology for the coin or a change in regulation by the Chinese government concerning cryptocurrencies.
The announcement pushed the price of the digital currency upwards. However, at the time of the supposed big reveal, nothing spectacular materialized than just an announcement of a developers’ conference. This lead to traders’ reacting with anger and leading to a price fall.
Furthermore, NEO has also faced some criticism regarding its centralized nodes. An article suggesting not to invest in NEO that appeared on GitHub received great publicity. It suggests that the NEO network has only 13 validating nodes, which make it very centralized. As compared to Bitcoin’s 11,191 nodes, Ethereum’s 19,862 nodes, and QTUM’s 1,319 nodes.
Predictions for NEO in 2017 / 2018
NEO has had an amazing rally in 2017, rising from $1.3 in June 2017 to $35 by November 2017. The currency is expected to reach $70 by the early 2018, from $35 at the time of writing (November 2017), and to $150 by end of 2018.
However, in 2018, there is expected to be a tough competition between Ethereum and NEO.
Can NEO keep pace with Ethereum
NEO is fast – it can process 10,000 transactions per second. It offers support to various languages, with DApps that can be written and compiled in C# and Java. Additionally, the currency is Quantum proof – according to its White Paper, the currency has developed a quantum proof mechanism, so quantum computers cannot break into the cryptographic math on the blockchain.
However, NEO is completely being used out of China and isn’t much used by the English-speaking World. While Ethereum, on the other hand, caters to a global audience.
Additionally, China’s stance on initial coin offerings (ICOs) is a temporary ban for the time being. If initial coin offerings make a return to China, they will be some genuine interest in the currency as a new ICO platform. Currently, there is some candid interest from companies, such as Microsoft, who support it as their go-to-platform.
No one knows which currency will win in the future. However, it seems that NEO is well placed in the cryptocurrency world and it will go a long way in terms of mainstream adoption.