NEO is a blockchain platform from China that is flourishing in the face of a government crackdown on digital currency. Originally called AntShares, the company rebranded to NEO in 2017. Along with the rebranding came a surge in interest from investors.

Lately, the digital currency marketplace took a sharp downward turn following a mixture of bad news, like a possible government crackdown in Korea. Despite the rest of the marketplace taking a downward turn, NEO was able to shrug this movement off. It continued a strong rally upwards for several hours before eventually succumbing to the overwhelming downward movement of the entire marketplace.

Many experts see this as a very positive sign of the strong momentum behind NEO. The digital currency reached an all-time high of $240 CAD on January 15th, 2018, nearly 6 times higher than it was in December 2017.

Blockchain 2.0

NEO is one of many new digital currencies that also acts as a platform to run smart contracts and decentralized applications (dApps). The added functionality of these blockchains over their predecessors earned them the label ‘blockchain 2.0’.

dApps add functionality to blockchains in a similar way to how mobile applications add functionality to smartphones. The most popular dApp to-date is Cryptokitties, a dApp that ran on the Ethereum network that allowed users to breed, buy, and sell digital cats.

Ethereum is NEO’s predecessor which has earned it the nickname the Chinese Ethereum.

Crowdsourcing

The ICO fundraising model is very popular in the digital currency world, and its popularity led to the ICO craze of 2017. Hundreds of new companies launched ICOs in 2017 and raised a total of over $4 billion CAD in funding. The majority of these ICOs were hosted on the Ethereum network.

NEO just recently began hosting its own ICOs for companies based out of China. One interesting ICO to launch on NEO is DeepBrain, a token based artificial intelligence marketplace. The strong price action behind NEO is possibly the result of the network reaching this stage in its development. Many investors see a lot of potential in the blockchain 2.0 digital currencies.

Ethereum and NEO are not the only two blockchains planning to host ICOs. Stellar LumensIcon, and Cardano are all blockchain 2.0 platforms that plan to run ICOs.  This variety means startups now have the option to choose between platform when deciding how to launch their ICO.  

Fuel for the network

NEO uses Delegated Byzantine-Fault Tolerance (dBFT) to provide network consensus. Users who stake their NEO in their wallet are rewarded with a second digital currency called GAS at a rate of roughly 5% per annum.

GAS is the actual fuel of the NEO network. If you send some NEO to another address, you use GAS rather than NEO to pay transaction fees.

The future of NEO

NEO recently announced a new mobile wallet, which allows users to carry their NEO with them. The wallet is available in the Android and iOS app stores.

They are planning a developers conference in San Francisco, Jan 30th-31st 2018. We will likely hear more updates to NEO’s roadmap during the conference. The event is sponsored by Microsoft.

The CEO of NEO, Da Hong Fei, recently gave a talk to a crowd full of digital currency enthusiast in Korea. Despite regulatory crackdowns in China, and potentially Korea, his talk was optimistic about the future of blockchain technology.

The world awaits the outcome of the battle between the innovation of Chinese blockchain communities and their government’s regulatory actions.

 

Image credit: NEO

 

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