Some call it, in frightened whispers, “The Ethereum Killer”. Others just call it “China’s Ethereum”, “Chinese Ethereum”, and “The Ethereum of China”. Hey, nobody said cryptocurrency sobriquets had to be inventive.
But that’s basically it. NEO is China’s first-ever digital coin and it’s soon expected to be among the top ten digital coins in the world. As a blockchain platform and cryptocurrency designed to build a scalable network of decentralised applications, it bears some similarities to Ethereum – and purports to improve on it in certain essential ways.
Who was behind it?
NEO was founded by Da Hongfei – a crypto veteran who’s been working in the space since 2011. Its team is comprised of in-house developers, and assorted third-party developers such as City of Zion, PeterLinX, and NEOTracker.
How much did it raise?
In October 2015, NEO held its first ICO. It sold 17.5 million tokens for $550,000 – a sum that might seem quite modest by 2018 standards, but ICOs were quite a new phenomenon back then.
A year later, the story was quite different: NEO’s second crowdsale raised $4.5 million from 22.5 million tokens. Where the NEO token initially traded at $0.032, as of this writing, it currently trades at $36.20: a 114,000% rally (and still less than its peak of $48.01 in August 2017).
Why was NEO’s ICO a success?
China has a history of cracking down on ICOs, so the fact that NEO has received support from its government is a major coup. In fact, it makes them somewhat unique among cryptocurrency businesses.
Both Bitcoin and Ethereum have achieved some notoriety for their slow transaction speeds – but NEO can handle 10,000 transactions per second. Its platform was also designed to better handle mainstream apps, so it’s well-equipped for the future.
Technology has advanced rapidly in recent years, and quantum computers – once a purely theoretical notion – may soon become operational. This will lead to unique risks for cryptocurrencies: it’s expected that quantum computing will easily break their cryptography.
This won’t be a problem for NEO, if NEO is to be believed. The company has rolled out quantum resistant cryptography as a safeguarding and futureproofing measure. If nothing else, the feature sounds cool as hell.
An ICO platform
NEO allows projects to launch tokens on its platform – just like Ethereum’s ERC-20, NEO has an equivalent token standard called NEP-5. Some projects have already chosen the platform – expect more to do so in future.