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NEO is one of the top cryptocurrencies in the world. This coin managed to capture the imagination of the Asian markets, even during times of regulatory uncertainty. Today, the NEO ecosystem is more vibrant than ever thanks to the hard work of developers and participation from the community.
What is NEO?
NEO is a non-profit community-based blockchain project that entered the market to provide Dapp developers with an easy-to-utilize platform. Specifically, NEO is an open-source blockchain and cryptocurrency. According to the company’s whitepaper, NEO functions as a “distributed network for the smart economy.” Notably, NEO translates to new and young in Greek. The name is appropriate when you consider that the platform is seen by many as a newer and younger version of Ethereum.
NEO was China’s first blockchain project to receive a nod of approval from regulators. Interestingly, the Chinese government has embraced the project, even after shuttering exchanges in the country. The firm is one of only a select few cryptocurrencies allowed to operate in China at this time. This support and the nationalistic feeling behind the project have led many to call the project “Chinese Ethereum.”
What Problems Does NEO Correct
NEO seeks to tackle a multitude of issues facing the market. Primarily, NEO is meant to act as a more flexible alternative to Ethereum. The company utilizes a philosophy that evaluates design choices on a multivariate spectrum. In this way, Neo can adjust its market approach accordingly.
For example, NEO developers can decide based on each particular use case what level of decentralization/centralization is most appropriate for a project. They can also make similar judgments on other important issues such as the level of on-chain/off-chain governance. These options provide NEO with more use case scenarios for large scale adoption in both the commercial and governmental sectors
How NEO Works
The NEO blockchain can accommodate a wide variety of digital assets. For example, the network features full support for blockchain assets, digital identity, and smart contracts. The platform can support decentralized apps (dApp) of all types, tokenization of real-world assets, and initial coin offerings.
NEO is a public platform that also leverages the Onchain network to create an optimal governance scenario. The interoperability of the networks extends the platform’s reach to new heights. It also combines these project’s communities to leverage developments across the network.
Onchain was founded in 2014 in China. This private blockchain company is best known for its focus on government and large enterprises. The platform is well-known for its Decentralized Network Architecture (DNA) tech. This protocol simplifies the creation of public and private blockchains.
NEO utilizes a two-tiered system to provide the network with more flexibility for users and developers. The ecosystem relies on both NEO and GAS tokens. In total, the firm will issue 100 million of each token. There are currently 70,538,831 NEO in circulation.
NEO is the cryptocurrency of the NEO blockchain. This crypto represents a share of ownership in the NEO blockchain. This crypto also plays a role in governance. It allows the community to create blocks and manage the network. Interestingly, NEO has indivisible units and cannot be divided like other coins such as Ethereum. The reasoning behind this decision is that each coin is meant to act as a single share in the NEO blockchain. Just like stocks, these coins cannot break down into smaller units.
GAS is the utility token for the NEO network. This token was formerly known as ANC- Antcoins. In the ecosystem, GAS functions like Ether in the Ethereum network. Developers use GAS for transactions in the network. Additionally, users receive rewards in GAS tokens.
GAS generates at a rate of eight GAS per block. The network automatically reduces the number of rewards per block after two million confirmed blocks. Users have options with GAS. You can trade GAS for other cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Litecoin, or Ethereum. You can also convert your GAS to NEO directly. In this way, GAS pricing remains decoupled.
Coding Smart Contracts
NEO provides developers access to a powerful virtual machine that simplifies the most critical components of smart contract programming. For example, developers don’t need to learn a new coding language to use the platform. The network allows smart contracts in C#, Java, Python, plus a wide variety of other coding languages. In this way, the network can accommodate developers from across the industry.
NEO introduces the world to the Delegated Byzantine Fault Tolerance (dBFT) consensus mechanism. In this mechanism, there are certain nodes known as Bookkeepers. These digital accountants do the actual block verifications. The data is broadcast on the blockchain. Only when two-thirds of the nodes on the network agree with a bookkeeper’s version of the blockchain is consensus achieved.
The dBFT consensus mechanism is fast, really fast. It can handle more than 1,000 transactions per second. In comparison, Bitcoin handles around six transactions per second (tps). Ethereum can handle a whopping 12 tps. Impressively, NEO seeks to push its tps rate to new heights with their next upgraded. The goal of the update is to take the network to an insane 10,000 transactions per second.
In May 2020 the developers behind NEO proposed a major upgrade to the network. The upgrade would introduce a new governance model. The new strategy enables coin holders to vote for a committee of 21 governing members. These members hold the responsibility of representing the community. They gain the ability to vote on various modifiable parameters of the blockchain and other changes to the network’s coding.
The proposal suggests that people that vote for these members receive extra GAS rewards. This reward is a means of thanking members for their participation in the governance process. The proposal states that out of the 21 chosen governing members, seven will also become consensus nodes.
As a consensus node, their responsibilities will extend to validating blocks. Additionally, these seven members gain veto powers. To make a veto decision, the consensus nodes must obtain two-thirds support from the community.
History of NEO
NEO entered the market as Antshares back in February 2014. This firm is the brainchild of two longtime blockchain enthusiasts, Erik Zhang and Da Hongfei. During this time, the actual cryptocurrency went under Antshares (ANS). In 2014, the two developers expanded their vision with the creation of Onchain.
In April 2016, NEO releases its whitepaper officially. The paper highlighted the benefits and technical aspects of the delegated Byzantine Fault Tolerance. At the time, this was the first Chinese born consensus mechanism. As such, it received heavy media coverage in the region.
In August 2016, NEO entered the market via an ICO. The event was a major success with the project securing over $4.5 million in funding. These funds went to the further expansion of NEO’s strategy in the region. In September of the same year, Onchain established a Technology Strategic Partnership with Microsoft. The agreement inked cooperation on multiple projects.
In June 2017, Antshares rebranded to NEO officially. The crypto also received its first US-based support this year. Specifically, the coin saw a listing on Bittrex. The next year, the digital ID platform VALID announced a strategic partnership with the firm.
This year saw the announcement of a major upgrade. The NEO3 upgrade is set to be the company’s largest to date. In addition to the introduction of the new governance models, the upgrade will bring more interoperability into the sector. Specifically, the platform will gain more cross-chain capabilities. Currently, developers are experimenting with these protocols. They have set up Testnets with Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ontology.
The upgrade will also simplify the tokenization process. Specifically, developers want to make it easier to create and issue Non-fungible tokens. Non-fungible tokens are unique digital representations of an asset. Some examples of non-fungible tokens include the tokenization of:
- Security Tokens
- Event Tickets
- Other Physical Assets
How to Buy NEO
NEO is not hard to find in the market. Most major exchanges have NEO/Bitcoin trading pairs. To utilize these platforms you will just need to register for an account. Once your account is live, load it with fiat currency or Bitcoin directly. From there, you just need to locate the NEO/BTC trading pair. The entire process is quick and easy once you complete your registration.
How to Store NEO
There are a few ways to store your NEO. The important thing to remember is that you only want to store your crypto in a wallet that allows you to earn your GAS rewards. The NEON wallet is one of the best options for investors seeking to earn their rewards.
Impressively, you can also earn GAS rewards using a hardware wallet. The Ledger Nano S is able to connect to your NEON wallet directly. You can then send, receive, and get your rewards from one safe wallet platform Notably, NEON is not the core wallet for the network but it has received unmatched community support and has the blessings of the developers.
Given NEO’s unique stance in the Asian markets, it’s hard to imagine anything but success for this platform. These developers continually upgrade the network with NEO3 set to release in the coming months. For now, NEO shares a top spot in the crypto market as one of the premier Dapp development platforms available.
David Hamilton is a full-time journalist and a long-time bitcoinist. He specializes in writing articles on the blockchain. His articles have been published in multiple bitcoin publications including Bitcoinlightning.com
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