NEO Coin – Quick Guide to China’s Ethereum

According to their website, Neo, formerly Antshares, is China’s first ever blockchain. It is an open source project and is positioning itself not only as an alternative currency but also as a technological and financial service. It offers its blockchain technology to financial institutions and in a sense encrypt personal information and at the same time make that encrypted information understandable and public while making said information anonymous as well, just like any other blockchain. In a sense, they are trying to be mediators of the fiat powers that be to the newer cryptocurrency market.

History of the NEO coin

NEO is a relatively young cryptocurrency. It started first as Antshares in June 2014, publicly funded and their operating company was established. On August of that year, they started Weangel, which is Antshares’ platform in serving crowdfunding initiatives. In June 2015, Antshares then gave out its specifications in Github as a real-time open source project.

2016 was big for Antshares. In 2016, Antshares activated delegated Byzantine Fault Tolerance alternative (dBFT) over the more commonly used Proof-of-Work (PoW), used by Bitcoin, and Proof-of-Stake (PoS), used by most cryptocurrencies. Since Antshares digitalize real-time financial assets, like shares, stocks and other securities and derivatives, they need not only a secure blockchain ecosystem; they have to make their security impossible to attack. dBFT allows very quick transactions while ensuring that there are no forks. Forks are cryptocurrencies that came from but are distinct of the mother currency (think of Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin). This not only provides stability of operations but also protects the information in the blockchain.

2017 also brought a lot of changes for Antshares. On February of 2017, Antshares made its first smart contract transfer of assets live. They also increased their exposure, especially in China, by holding a blockchain development competition with the Shanghai Science and Technology Committee. On July 2017, they have changed their brand, from Antshares to Neo.

To shed more light on this currency, there is an enlightening video interview of one of the founders, Da Hong Fei.

Da Hong Fei is the Co-founder of NEO. In a quite recent interview on August 2,2017, Da Hong Fei talks about what separates NEO from other currencies and other important information about it. The video runs for 16 minutes and below are a few of its cogent points:

  1. NEO focuses on digital assets and smart contracts rather than just trading the coins. Although most of the market volatility is due to the movements in the market for the NEO coins, Da Hong Fei said that they are capturing more markets to use their services and improving the back-end technology and development of NEO itself.
  1. Instead of making their own language, ecosystem and coding structure like Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies, they use existing languages and structures. This way, the developers no longer needs to learn more languages and programming grammar, their languages are easily accessible and they can even use C++, Java and python.
  1. They are continually improving their web client and coding program, and are working behind the scenes with other forex and coin exchanges. Smart contracts are also being improved for faster verifications. Coin Wallets are also being developed and improved upon and the open project source is also being improved and developed for Mac users.
  1. NEO has its own company that has ties with Chinese companies and government, but not NEO company itself. They have a joint company with the Chinese government for a making of an identity chain.
  1. They have some cooperating projects with Microsoft. Being the first blockchain technology that supports C++ and with most of Microsoft’s programs and codes being written in C++, they are providing Microsoft with blockchain technology.
  1. Neo is also developing an internet of the internet of everything. They are making links for consecutive blockchains and publicly known blockchains. This is connecting the whole information of the internet, encrypting it and then publicly showing it. This will increase the speed, stability and security of NEO as a blockchain, and just the whole blockchain economy in general if Neo manages to complete it. This will make “the public blockchain” the center blockchain, and Neo will play an important role.
  1. Da Hong Fei also talked about what makes, for him, a blockchain great. It is not just the price nor the team behind it, but how the public uses it. In simpler words, what makes a blockchain great is the ecosystem. He asks for more web developers and content makers use NEO blockchain more to improve the usage of Neo. The trading of the Neo coins is secondary to the usage of Neo and the Neo coins.

Where and How to Buy Neo cryptocurrency

Current Market Cap is $966 million, with 50 million NEO in circulation out of 100 million Neo expected supply. Current all-time high was $47. The total supply of 100 million Neo will be done within 22 years.

For the more known cryptocurrency exchanges, you can use Bittrex, which is an exchange based in the United States. You can also use Binance, a new Chinese exchange and also 19800, another Chinese exchange which is considerably older than Binance.

There are two main Neo cryptocurrencies available online. First is the Neo Coins, and then Neo gas. They were both Antshares and Antcoins respectively. For the purpose of this article, we mainly deal with Neo Coins, which is the one much more traded. You can think of Neo coins as owning a share of Neo and Neo Gas as the dividend.

As of 9/21/17, Neo Gas is at $9.15 with a market cap of only $77 million. You can actually make Neo Gas passively by holding your Neo coins. It takes around 2170 days for your Neo coin to make a Neo Gas.

What are some wallets for Neo cryptocurrency

The most stable and perhaps most secure Neo cryptocurrency wallet is the wallet by Antshares or Neo itself. This was the original Neo wallet. On one hand, it is safe and stable. On the other hand, it is a synchronizing wallet so it may take quite some time making one since it will have to interact with the whole Neo blockchain.

The most popular though is the NEON wallet. It is very fast and like the original Neo wallet, it can store both Neo Gas and Coins.

For offline storage, you can use the Neo tracker. By offline, I mean that it does not store your information on the server but is local your machine.

An important reminder, move your Neo to a wallet as soon as possible since the exchange will be the one earning gas and not you, if the Neo is held in the exchange. The wallet does not need to be left open for it to produce Gas.

Can you mine Neo Coin?

Neo coins are not mined but are offered. Instead, you can stake Neo coins to earn dividends called Neo Gas.

For the circulating Neo coins, the first ICO has distributed 17.5 million shares. Second ICO distributed 22.5 million shares and 10 million was given as bounty to the early users and the development team.

As per their website, the 50 million in reserve will be used for crowdfunding sites, exchanges, wallets, gateways and others. However, the remaining 50 million cryptocurrency units are not to be traded directly on an exchange.

How does the Neo coin work?

There are two main Neo cryptocurrencies available online. First is the Neo Coins, and then there is the Neo gas. They were both Antshares and Antcoins respectively. For the purpose of this article, we mainly deal with Neo Coins, which is the one much more traded. You can think of Neo coins as owning a share of Neo and Neo Gas as the dividend. 

According to their white paper and wiki, Neo coins will be used as proof of ownership in the Neo blockchain. The Neo coins can be used for elections, bookkeeping and staking to generate Neo Gas. Neo Gas is used to buy and or pay for the service and the fees associated with using the blockchain.

What is the future outlook?

Neo has been dubbed many times as China’s Ethereum, and for good reason. They focus more on providing services to companies using their technology and have partnered with big companies. In fact, both Ethereum and Neo have collaborated with Microsoft and other banks.

However, China has recently banned ICOs from happening. This has led to a more than 20% drop in Neo price from the announcement. However, Neo has some ties to the Chinese government, and even if the ban persists, they still offer services to other companies.

The Neo cryptocurrency is making waves. While similar to the more popular and western Ethereum, Neo has been leveraging its ties with companies and governments. 

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