Ted O'Neill

@ted.oneill

Why the future may already be here with NEO

December 31st 2017

Take a closer look at the “Chinese Ethereum”

NEO, formerly called Antshares, has many features that make it superior to Ethereum, the second-generation blockchain platform that has garnered so much attention over the past two years.

Like Ethereum, NEO supports smart contracts, which allow for complex logic to be built into blockchain transactions. This means that payments, for instance, can be conditional upon some specific series of events occurring first.

When the project launched as Antshares in August/September 2016, the focus was primarily on digital assets. It’s marketing was muddled and the coin price languished for nearly 9 months.

Chart from Sep 2016 — April 2017 (from CoinMarketCap.com)

Then a funny thing happened, in the spring of 2017 the project started to get its act together. It announced news of major cooperation with the Chinese government. It announced its rebranding to NEO. It started getting coverage in the English-speaking press.

I honestly do not know who was behind the effort to redefine the project, but it was truly brilliant. Someone dubbed them the “Chinese Ethereum”, which attached them in spirit to the hottest blockchain in existence. China is a huge market, Ethereum is amazing. Put them both together and you’ve got the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup of blockchain.

But there is MUCH more to NEO than just marketing spin.

Flexible Development Environment

Unlike Ethereum, which forces software developers to learn and use its own proprietary language (Solidity), NEO supports many different programming languages, including Java, C#, VN.Net, F#, Kotlin, and Python, with plans to support C, C++, Golang, and Javascript in the future.

NEO provides compilers and plug-ins for these languages, which are used to compile high-level languages ​​into instruction sets supported by NEO virtual machines. This makes the platform much more accessible to developers, allowing them to use programming languages that they are already familiar with.

Ingenious Consensus Method / No Forks

All blockchain platforms rely on consensus to prove that all transactions are valid. Bitcoin and many other projects (including Ethereum currently) use Proof of Work (PoW) methods, which basically require expending a lot of energy to solve complex mathematical problems.

Another common method is Proof of Stake (PoS). With this method, blockchain nodes are required to “stake” or allocate funds (denominated in the currency being used) to earn verification rewards. The big benefit of PoS, compared to PoW, is that much less energy is expended. It is more eco-friendly.

NEO utilizes a different consensus method called Delegated Byzantine Fault Tolerance (dBFT). You can read all about the mechanics of dBFD here, but the biggest benefit of that system is that it prevents code splits/forks. This is a huge plus, as we have all seen the controversy and drama associated with the numerous Bitcoin (and Ethereum) forks. This will lead to greater stability of the NEO platform.

Transaction Speed

Both Bitcoin and Ethereum suffer from slow (and expensive) transactions. Ethereum can handle about 15 transactions per second, while NEO can support over 10,000 transactions per second.

When Cryptokitties became a thing recently, Ethereum struggled to keep up with demand.

They look innocent, but they took down Ethereum.

NEO is designed to handle mainstream apps like that as well and it is much better equipped for the future. To be fair to Ethereum, there are plans to improve performance in the future, but those plans are still not set in stone, with no near-term timeline for significant improvement.

Quantum Computer Proof

This one is really important. We are getting closer and closer to the time when quantum computers will be operational. And when they are, nearly every cryptocurrency will be vulnerable, because quantum computers may be able to break their cryptography. It’s important that every blockchain project is prepared as soon as possible for the future by using quantum-resistant cryptography.

NEO already does.

Dividends For NEO Holders

NEO coins represent ownership in the NEO platform. There will be a maximum of 100 million NEO coins and these coins represent shares in its blockchain. NEO owners have voting rights for important decisions related to the platform. They also receive recurring dividends in the form of GAS coins. GAS is used to pay for NEO transactions and the dividends received by NEO holders are generated by those transaction fees.

This is a unique, compelling model that incentivizes people to hold NEO.

Note: if you own NEO, make sure you own the wallet and/or that you can claim the GAS that you are earning. For instance, most exchanges will not allow you to claim your earned GAS (Binance being a lone exception).

I highly recommend the NEON wallet for NEO; it makes it very easy to see your current balances, in terms of NEO and GAS and to claim your GAS anytime you like.

NEON Wallet in action.

Platform For ICOs

Ethereum has rightly gotten a lot of attention for its role in developing the booming ICO market in 2017. Hundreds of ICOs were deployed using Ethereum as the backbone for their tokens. The Ethereum ERC-20 token framework has been the biggest attraction for Ethereum overall and that standard is now accepted on nearly every exchange and most Ethereum-based wallets.

But NEO also allows projects to launch their own tokens/projects on its platform. The NEP 5 token standard is their ERC-20 equivalent. We’ve seen a couple of ICOs on NEO recently and now some templates/standards are popping up as well, such as the NEX ICO smart contract template.

You can expect a LOT more ICOs to running on NEO in 2018.

Summary

As you can see, NEO has many powerful features not found in other blockchain projects and the combination of those features, with its smart contract capabilities, make it an attractive platform for future dApps.

The world has definitely taken notice, as the price has skyrocket from US$0.20 on April 1, 2017 to nearly $80 at the close of 2017. With a market capitalization of around US$5 billion, however, it still represents a tremendous value, when you consider that Ethereum has a market cap of $70 billion.

NEO from April 2017 to Dec 31, 2017 (per CoinMarketCap.com)

While this is by no means investment advice, I am extremely bullish on NEO. (In full disclosure, I also own some NEO, as well.) It’s future-proof, thoughtfully-designed, and fully focused on being the hub of the next-generation smart economy.

Please consider supporting the new project I am working on, Narrative. Our goal with Narrative is to create the world’s first true content economy, giving users autonomy over the content they create. 85% of all revenue generated by the Narrative Network is returned to its members.

Narrative White Paper: https://assets.narrative.network/documents/narrative-network.pdf

Narrative Token Sale: https://tokensale.narrative.network

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