In China, they have their Google, Twitter, and even an alternative for Ethereum, it’s called NEO. The fact that the project is Chinese doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s worse. In fact, large corporations like Microsoft and Alibaba have invested in NEO.
In our review, we will discuss how does NEO cryptocurrency differ from Ethereum and what prospects are in store for NEO.
The history of the NEO cryptocurrency began in 2014, with the Chinese company called OnChain. They have designed and launched the AntShares project, which goal was to create a platform for moving all economy deals into a virtual environment using smart contracts. The idea was that AntShares blockchain users could digitize any real asset with tokens and sell it or exchange it.
The AntShares project quickly gained popularity in China and other Asian countries. It even acquired the "Chinese Ethereum" nickname. The OnChain developers decided to move forward and hold ICO to create a more perfect platform which was called NEO.
The NEO cryptocurrency ought to become the basis for a future “smart economy” in which any asset can be tokenized and sold. For example, real estate, stocks or precious metals. In this case, the buyer should receive ownership of the real asset attached to the token.
In order to understand NEO in-depth, let’s review its key specifications.
NEO has no mining. At the time of the platform launch, 100M coins were generated, of which 50M were distributed among ICO participants, and the rest remained on the OnChain account. The developers promised to gradually withdraw coins from their account and release them to the market, but no more than 15M per one year.
In order to pay for the smart contracts process on the NEO blockchain, there is a utility cryptocurrency called GAS, which is another similarity with Buterin’s Ethereum. GAS can be bought for NEO and other cryptocurrencies, or obtained for free if you have NEO coins in your wallet. The more NEOs there are on the user's account, the more GAS will be accumulated in the wallet. This process gradually slows down and completely stops after the total amount of GAS will reach 100M tokens.
The NEO platform has an original consensus algorithm that allows processing 1000 transactions per second. However, as you know, the faster the blockchain – the lower its decentralization level. Despite the fact that the NEO network has two cryptocurrencies and open source code, it is actually not a public, but rather a corporate blockchain. That is because the OnChain developers control most of the network nodes and can influence their project as needed without anyone’s consent.
Pros and cons
The pros are as follows:
- Fast transaction speed and no mining cost
- Smart contract development accessibility due to the inclusion of popular programming languages
- Working with the real economy and collaborating with the Chinese government to legalize the platform
Now, for the cons:
- A lack of anonymity. According to developers, all users must be identified to work in the smart economy
- The project is centralized. The NEO network workflow is fully dependent on the OnChain company.
NEO is well-known in China, but the cryptocurrencies are banned there, and while negotiations are in progress, there are no certain outcomes. All this while NEO has weak positions on the European and American markets.
Summing up, there are two points to note. The first one is the NEO’s peak value of $190, with a capitalization of over $12B in January 2018. Today, this asset has fallen in price by almost 10 times, which is likely to be the bottom and indicates the potential for growth.
The second important point is the strategic partnership with the Ontology project, which is included in the top 30 cryptocurrencies and specializes in identification and data transmission systems.
This indicates that the NEO platform will continue its technological development and that it is attractive for long-term investments. But its development still depends heavily on the position of the Chinese government and other countries, because the implementation of the “smart economy” is impossible without an appropriate legislative framework and state cooperation.