” I’m trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You’re the one that has to walk through it.”
Today The Coin Shark will talk about NEO, not Mr. Anderson, but a chinese cryptocurrency that is currently one of the most popular altcoins and is ranked #11 by market capitalization (May 2018).
How it all started
In 2014, Da Hongfei founded the OnChain blockchain company in Shanghai and launched the AntShares (ANS) cryptocurrency project. AntShares used smart contracts,and as the new virtual currency gained popularity, one even called it the “Chinese Ethereum.” In 2016, the company made a full rebranding. It changed from its technical documentation and website, the platform and its blockchain. The project and the cryptocurrency was called NEO.
After this rebranding, the rates increased from 1 to 7 USD, and soon reached 30-40 USD. In August 2017, NEO`s market capitalization was already 2 billion dollars. However, in September 2017, the project was affected by chinese crypto restrictions, in particular, the ban on Initial coin offerings. The company was holding its ICO but had to return investments. A serious outflow of capital led to the price fall below 10 dollars.
Anyway, the developers managed to go through and we can clearly observe it now, as NEO has its place among top digital coins on the market.
What is the NEO platform and how does it work?
NEO is a blockchain platform and cryptocurrency, designed to build a scalable network of decentralized apps. The main asset of the platform is the digital currency NEO that also generates GAS, which can be used to pay commission fees in the system.
The project developers aimed to create a new model of economic relations, which they called smart economy. The concept includes three key elements – a platform for smart contract operation, digital assets and digital identity. NEO can be used to “digitize” and then exchange any asset, like gold, fiat money, cryptocurrency, real estate, etc. Smart contracts will help make commercial deals to exchange these assets without lawyers, banks, payment systems, etc. Digital identity is used to connect real and digital assets.
Developers issued 100 million NEO coins. The current circulating supply is 65 million. It is not possible to mine this cryptocurrency, however, if you have a certain number of NEO on your account, you are automatically credited with GAS – platform internal currency that is used to pay commission fees.
Advantages and drawbacks of NEO
NEO network capacity is significantly better than such strong altcoins as Ethereum and Ripple have. Moreover, the platform is rather secure as an advanced dBFT protocol implemented in NEO protects the system from almost any cyber attacks. What is also important, it is quite simple to write smart contracts. Unlike Etherium itself, that has a special and complicated Solidity programming language, “Chinese Ethereum” supports Java, F#, C#, Kotlin, VB.Net, Microsoft.net, Go and Python. What is more, although the system has commissions for transactions, users are credited with GAS tcoins automatically if they have a certain number of NEO on their accounts.
However, users often criticize NEO for its lack of anonymity and centralization. OnChain company controls most of NEO blockchain nodes, can see transaction history of users and track transactions on the platform. The company is looking for cooperation with the traditional financial and banking sector, as well as with the government, which means users probably are not to expect increasing anonymity and decentralization.
What can happen in the future
NEO is already rather successful. The project is focused on cooperation with large companies such as Microsoft, Alibaba, HyperLedger, etc., and also tries to adapt to the tough crypto environment in China, that nevertheless remains one of the largest cryptocurrency markets. NEO uses and develops the technology of smart contracts, which is considered to be one of the most important and promising implementations of blockchain. Today, the cryptocurrency costs about $60, however its rate used to exceed $150 and can potentially “come back”. Anyway, it’s difficult to say what will happen to NEO in the long term but if you decided to invest in digital assets, you can certainly include some NEO coins in your portfolio.