NEO - The Flagship Cryptocurrency of China
Cryptocurrency and Blockchain technology are revolutionizing the digital world as we know it. With ground-breaking advancements in Internet utility, financial management, and the birth of sustainable independent economies, there really seems to be no foreseeable limit to the scalability and utility of the blockchain. With more and more countries, companies, and individuals hopping on board the blockchain train – though there are always a few outliers trying to resist change - it seems to be only a matter of time before the global economy is fully digitized, marking the end of paper money.
Even amid harsh crackdowns by the government and bankers , the Chinese crypto-space is growing and interest in blockchain tech is not stopping anytime soon. In fact, there are some massive players making headway in creating what might possibly be a fully comprehensive platform that will allow the creation of smart contracts similar to Ethereum’s, but accepts existing code-bases and is scalable.
Formerly known as Antshares (ANS), the company was rebranded as NEO in June of 2017 during a conference held at Microsoft HQ Beijing. The team includes Da Hongfei, one of the founders of NEO, and Erik Zhang, who is the lead developer for the project. Hitters Xu (Yiji Xu), who is also the founder of Nebulas (NAS), was involved in the project for a period of time before focusing his attention completely on the Nebulas project. Essentially, NEO is China’s first open-source blockchain platform, utilizing two cryptocurrencies, the first being NEO, which can be considered their investment token to enter the platform. The second is the GAS token, which will act as the internal currency within the platform, driving the use of smart contracts and decentralized applications. Both are hard-capped at 100 million.
It’s easy to see the similarities between NEO and Ethereum; with both having a focus on creating and managing smart contracts and DApps, having their own internal currency, GAS and Ether respectively, and the open-source, Turing complete, community-backed ecosystem both advocate.
The differences though are where things get interesting. We’ve already mentioned that NEO will support multiple languages, a contrast to Ethereum’s Solidity which is the only language it supports.
Speed is another large difference between the two platforms, with NEO boasting a whopping 10,000 transactions per second, in comparison to Ethereum’s 15 transactions per second. Though this may change in the future with Ethereum actively working on their processing speed.
Beyond the language and speed differences, you have the matters of audience and accessibility; NEO is not localized enough to be considered apart of the global market, meaning only those who speak Chinese can truly utilize it so far.
But for those can use it, NEO can be considered as a public cloud solution; a marketplace for those wishing to create contracts and DApps that can be reliable, scalable, and easily accessible; a ‘Smart Economy’. In contrast, NEO’s sister company OnChain, can be viewed as a private sector blockchain solution catering to large corporations and firms. We will be discussing OnChain further in a later article.
NEO has gained the monikers “The Chinese Ethereum” and “Ethereum killer” due to the core feature of smart contracts that support existing programming languages and are scalable, unlike Ethereum which builds smart contracts using their own proprietary coding language. This makes NEO more viable from the sense of learning curve and entrance threshold. This feature of the platform is called the NEO Contract.
Other features include their ‘Cross-chain interoperability agreement’ simply known as NeoX, which is a set of protocols that allow for cross-chain exchanges. In layman, this means the possibility of creating contracts that can be read and validated by different blockchains at the same time. 
This is compounded even further by the utility of NeoFS, which can be considered a p2p cloud storage that is decentralized. This opens the possibility of removing the worry of data loss in business, as the data stored will always exist on the many different nodes that make up the blockchain.
Also, the official community group for NEO, the City of Zion, have created a decentralized exchange platform within NEO called the Neon Meta Exchange (NEX). This is a massive step in the functionality of a blockchain platform, as it will use the Cross-chain interoperability agreement, NeoX, allowing people to trade across different platforms while maintaining blockchain ledger integrity. This also marks the first use of the token sale legal framework developed by the NEO Council, which will allow the utilization of legally safe ICO’s.
And in a stroke of genius future proofing, the team at NEO came up with NeoQ, a lattice-based cryptographic technique that creates problems that cannot be solved even by Quantum Computers. There is no other blockchain platform that can boast this security measure to date.
All of this and more is the reason why NEO is gaining a lot of traction, and is plugging a lot of holes that are found on other platforms like Ethereum. But not everything is perfect about China’s flagship mark on the cryptosphere, NEO is 100% completely pre-mined, with only 50% available as an ICO to early investors, and the other 50% managed by the NEO Council.  Understandably, this has brought concern to some of those interested in the project and potential long-term effects on its economy and value.
- Smart Contracts programmable in common languages
- Quantum Proof
- Cross-chain operability
- Blockchain storage
- 100% pre-mined
- Status of NEO is unclear with current ICO ban by China but may fix through the token sale legal framework
- Has yet to see massive adoption like Ethereum and Bitcoin
How to Buy:
A Basic Guide to Buying NEO
NEO doesn’t have the most varied selection of a cryptocurrency wallet, but there are a few options available. Here are some:
- Hardware Wallet: Ledger S Nano
- Paper Wallet: Ansy
- Web Wallet: NEO Tracker, NEO Wallet.net
- Desktop Wallet: NEON Wallet, NEO GUI
- Currently there is no way to purchase NAS with traditional money, so the first step will be to purchase a known coin like BTC or LTC, from one of the exchanges that support NEO natively. The following exchanges will work:
- CoinSwitch: https://coinswitch.co/
- Cryptopia: https://www.cryptopia.co.nz
- Binance: https://www.binance.com
- KuCoin: https://www.kucoin.com
Choose from the available wallet options above and transfer any NEO tokens purchased to your chosen method. Please make sure you never leave any amount on the exchange.
1. Get a wallet that supports NEO
2. Buy coins to purchase NEO
3. Transfer funds to Wallet