NEO is a non-profit community-driven blockchain platform designed to create a scalable network of decentralized applications (dApps). Sometimes named as “Chinese Ethereum” or “Ethereum’s killer“, it was originally launched in 2014, under the brand name of Antshares. The project rebranded on June 22nd, 2017. The new name means “newness, novelty, and youth” in Greek and aims to renew the professional image of this Chinese-based company. Its dual-layered blockchain was developed by Onchain DNA, a leading blockchain technology company in its region, with a protocol that is said to fix many of Ethereum’s scalability issues.
The platform NEO can be utilized by developers for a number of purposes. First of all, it can be used for the creation of digital assets. With the help of NEO, users are able to convert traditional assets such as real estate and securities into digital form. Such assets will retain all their characteristics, they will be protected by law with the help of digital certificates and will give their owners much more freedom of operations compared to their real-world equivalent.
Also, NEO enables the digitization of identity for companies and individuals. Identities will be protected by a number of multi-factor authentication tools such as face and voice recognition, fingerprints and text messages.
Since NEO poses itself as an alternative to Ethereum, it also implements its own smart contracts that can stand in place of third parties to govern user transactions and thus reduce the necessity of trust between the parties. What’s special about NEO smart contracts is that they are based on well-known programming languages such as Java, C# and others mentioned above. This is particularly useful as developers don’t need to learn any new language from scratch as in the case of Ethereum’s Solidity and thus make fewer mistakes in the code.
Finally, NEO gives developers a formed environment for creating decentralized applications or dApps. On the NEO platform, developers get access to a wide variety of out-of-the-box solutions and tools that significantly facilitate the process.
What makes NEO coin different
This project stands apart from Bitcoin, Ethereum and all their derivatives for a number of reasons.
For one, NEO is an indivisible cryptocurrency. This means that one cannot own or transfer 6.5 or 172.93846 NEO to another wallet as the number should always represent a whole integer. This may become an issue in case NEO significantly increases in price and would make it difficult to exchange it for any other digital currency. Exchanges supporting NEO have come up with their own solution to this issue and have made it possible to trade fractions of NEO within their environments. However, users can only withdraw whole NEO coins to their wallets.
Next, the NEO platform is fueled by the two-tiered system of tokens. While the ownership of NEO tokens represents the stake in the platform, GAS tokens (or neoGAS) are needed to pay transaction fees. Such a system may look similar to Ethereum at first glance, however, the core difference is that GAS is generated automatically while holding NEO. Since NEO is based on the proof-of-stake consensus algorithm, holding NEO tokens contributes to the network and helps create new blocks. For every newly generated block, 8 GAS are distributed across all NEO holders in the proportion relevant to the amount of staked coins.
The total supply of both coins is 100 million. Every NEO token gives its holder the right to manage the network and vote in discussions regarding bookkeeping and NEO network parameter changes. NEO cannot be mined, because it represents a share of the NEO market and it is technically classed as a security.
Finally, NEO utilizes its own smart contracts that play a role similar to what Ethereum-based smart contracts do, i.e. help participants of any deal exchange value without third-party governance. But unlike Solidity-based Ethereum, they are created with the help of well-known programming languages that simplify the process for developers
NEO released its tokens during the public sale which was launched on August 8th, 2017, and ended on September 9th, 2017. 20 million tokens were allocated for the public sale with the total fundraising goal of 5.1 million USD. The total supply equals to 100 million NEO.
NEO can be purchased on numerous exchange platforms, including such leaders of the industry as BitForex, OKEx, Bitfinex, CoinBene, and BitMart. The tokens can be stored on desktop and web wallets which are represented on the project’s official website. A hardware wallet Ledger Nano S also supports NEO, so this can be an option for long-term investors who care for their funds’ security.
NEO team and partners
Since the community-driven platform targets primarily the internal market of China, not much is known about people standing behind the NEO project. Da Hongfei and Erik Zhang are proclaimed to be its co-founders, but there is no information about their background available on the web.
In July 2019, NEO declared its partnership with another Chinese blockchain platform Ontology with the key goal to create an interoperable protocol. After the platform’s launch, Ontology airdropped 37 million USD worth of its tokens to NEO holders.