Ever since 2009, the birth of cryptocurrency brought forth all kinds of novel technologies that have made people’s lives easier. Of all the new developments today, smart contract technology stands out as the most promising one with its automated and trustless features that make it useful to every industry in the world.
Various smart contract platforms have launched in the last few years with Ethereum leading the way. As years passed, tech developers from all over the globe founded similar projects such as NEO. Often dubbed as the ‘Chinese Ethereum’, NEO offers comparable features to Ethereum but with the exception of numerous notable innovations.
What is NEO and what exactly does it offer that Ethereum lacks? Find out here at BTC Post.
What is NEO
The first cryptocurrency project created and launched in China, NEO is a decentralized blockchain platform and cryptocurrency rolled into one ecosystem.
It uses blockchain technology to realize its vision of creating an ‘open network for the Smart Economy’. As NEO’s website puts it, Smart Economy is the sum of smart contracts, digital assets and identity. This makes it easier for data to be transferred anywhere in the world.
Let’s delve into each aspect of NEO’s Smart Economy:
- Digital Assets – Fiat currencies converted into their decentralized digital versions using smart contracts; it allows faster transfers and is regulated by law through digital certificates
- Digital Identity – Identity of individuals, organizations and communities in electronic form that will be used to authenticate transactions
- Smart Contracts – Self-executing contracts written in code; once published, becomes absolute and can never be changed.
With these three present in the Smart Economy, NEO plans to realize a more optimized digital world in the future. Users can buy what they want using digital assets, commission developers to write smart contracts and prove their identity without needing any central authority.
Open-source and community-driven, NEO’s platform allows developers to create their own decentralized applications, abbreviated as ‘dApps’ and smart contracts called ‘NEO Contracts’ using mainstream programming languages. The network provides all the tools developers need to create blockchain infrastructure, digital assets, decentralized finance applications and even games on its platform.
Running within this system are two native tokens called ‘NEO’ and ‘GAS’. These two make the voting and payment systems possible within the NEO network.
A brief history of NEO
Chinese developers Erik Zhang and Da Hongfei first launched NEO in 2014, though at this time, it was still named ‘Antshares Project’. It wasn’t until 2017 that the two developers renamed their project NEO.
Zhang and Hongfei also founded OnChain, a blockchain research company based in Shanghai while working on the Antshares Project. The two posted their open-source project on the program-sharing site Github a year after, allowing other developers to jump in on the Antshares project and contribute.
Four months after, they launched the test net and the main net followed a year later. Since rebranding the project in 2017, it achieved milestones in just a short time with NEO 3.0 being the latest development. This improvement enhanced the network’s security and allowed more transactions to be processed per second.
What makes NEO different from the rest?
Because of their similarities, NEO and Ethereum are often compared with each other. However, since NEO is newer than the groundbreaking second-generation crypto, its developers had the opportunity to see where Ethereum lacked and improved on it.
From the perspective of a developer, NEO’s most outstanding feature is its multi-language support. Programmers can use mainstream programming languages such as Java, Python and C# when developing their decentralized applications and writing smart contracts, making it more accessible to developers.
On the other hand, Ethereum uses its own programming language called Solidity. Programmers who want to join the network and create their own decentralized applications and smart contracts need to learn the language first before they can begin.
NEO and GAS: What sets them apart?
Two native tokens are used within the network: NEO and GAS. Both coins serve different purposes and are often confused with each other. Let’s dive into these two coins and their features.
What is NEO cryptocurrency?
NEO gives its users voting rights in the network’s system. It is not used to pay for transaction fees or issue smart contracts—instead, it’s used as a stake so members can partake in the governance system. Those who hold NEO can usher a vote and elect a Consensus Node to process transactions and upload blocks onto the blockchain.
NEO follows a proof-of-stake protocol called ‘delegated Byzantine Fault Tolerance’ (dBFT) that doesn’t require an absolute consensus to verify a transaction. This means network members need to stake a certain amount of NEO tokens before they can be considered and chosen as a validator.
NEO Foundation, the organization responsible for the project’s promotion and development, pre-mined 100 million NEO before the network’s main net launch. They distributed half of it to local and external developers, council members and blockchain projects used by NEO. The other 50 million went to the council’s storage to use for further improvements.
IF NEO allows members to do their part in the network, GAS makes the microtransactions in the network possible. It’s used in registering new assets, issuing smart contracts and paying transaction fees.
GAS has a maximum supply of 100 million and once this number is reached, no new GAS coins will ever be created. For every block uploaded on the NEO blockchain, the validator receives 8 GAS, and every year, this number reduces by 1.
Where to buy NEO
NEO is available in most global exchanges such as Binance, Poloniex and HitBTC but exchanges based in the US like Coinbase do not have it listed. If you want to buy, store and send NEO, you’ll need to have a wallet that can also support GAS.
As long as you have NEO in your wallet, you won’t have to buy GAS since it automatically produces GAS when stored. NEON wallet and Exodus are excellent NEO wallet options. Once you’ve purchased NEO, you’re already staking and earning GAS. After accumulating enough GAS, you can trade it to whatever coin or fiat currency you want.
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