What Is NEO Coin?
NEO coin is the native currency of the blockchain platform NEO. It was the first decentralized, open-source cryptocurrency and blockchain platform launched in China.
NEO uses blockchain technology to automate the management of digital assets using smart contracts, à la Ethereum. Not surprisingly, it is often referred to as “Chinese Ethereum.”
The primary NEO coin applications are to facilitate smart contracts and to become a digital, decentralized, and distributed representative of non-digital assets. Simply put, NEO makes monetary transactions simple and smart. In addition to NEO coin, the platform also has another token, GAS.
NEO originally launched in 2014 as Antshares Blockchain. While Antshares became popular in the Chinese cryptocurrency market, it did not create a great impact on the global stage. To address this, the Antshares development team decided to rebrand as NEO.
Shortly after the rebranding exercise, some of the largest Bitcoin exchanges, including the U.S.-based cryptocurrency trading platform Bittrex, integrated support for NEO traders.
Spurred by such support, NEO grew by leaps and bounds and, within a few months, NEO coin eased into the list of the top 10 largest cryptocurrencies in the world. It’s little wonder that many people have questions like “What is NEO coin?,” “What are the NEO coin features?,” and “What are the NEO coin pros and cons?”
NEO Coin Features
According to Da Hongfei, co-founder and CEO of NEO, the cryptocurrency shows promise in terms of high scalability, high certainty, and compatibility across applications.
NEO supports fast development and deployment of smart contracts and projects, since its developers do not need to learn a new programming language. They can use a programming language they are already familiar with, like Java.
In addition, NEO is very energy-efficient, supporting up to 10,000 transactions per second, in contrast to Ethereum’s 15 transactions per second.
Another great feature of NEO is digital identity, which enhances the integrity of transactions. This particular feature will help NEO integrate with real-world applications, particularly those that require confirmation of identity, such as smart contracts.
NEO’s delegated Byzantine Fault Tolerance (dBFT) consensus mechanism ensures finality of transactions and supports more transactions at any given time. This means that, once a transaction is confirmed by a block, it is confirmed permanently without ever being rolled back or revoked.
Uses of NEO and GAS
The best way to understand NEO coin use cases is to break them down into core uses: digital assets, digital identity, smart contracts, and decentralized applications (DApps).
NEO will help convert traditional assets into digital assets that will not only be decentralized, but will also be protected by law using digital certificates on the blockchain. These certificates will guarantee trust for the long haul.
NEO is designed to play a role in the creation of electronic identity for individuals, organizations, and other entities. The security of these identities will be boosted by multi-factor authentication mechanisms such as short message service (SMS), fingerprints, voice recognition, and facial recognition.
The best thing about NEO smart contracts is that users don’t have to learn a new smart contract programming language. Users familiar with “Java,” “C#,” or any other mainstream programming language can start coding their smart contracts right away.
NEO also has a Universal Lightweight Virtual Machine (NeoVM), which offers advantages like high scalability, high certainty, and high concurrency for smart contracts based on the blockchain.
NEO continuously supports and develops more mature development tools and techniques. Some examples of NEO’s DApps are artificial intelligence (AI)-assisted legal smart contracts, smart funds, and decentralized exchanges.
List of Companies Accepting NEO Coin
Before we go to the list of companies accepting NEO coin, it is important to know that NEO’s interests align with Onchain, a company founded by Da HongFei. NEO acts as the foundation of Onchain’s decentralized network architecture (DNA) system.
The DNA system aims to work with Chinese businesses and governments. Once DNA integrates with them, it will push the adoption of NEO to greater heights.
Together, NEO (providing the public blockchains) and Onchain (providing the private blockchains) can link up and give the user the best of both worlds. Onchain already has several projects and partnerships underway.
Some of the organizations and companies that are working with Onchain (and therefore NEO) are Hyperledger; National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA); Microsoft China; Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA); the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry; Fosun Group; and the Chinese Regional Government. (Source: “The company behind NEO: Onchain and its ultimate plan — DNA,” Hackernoon, September 11, 2017.)
NEO Coin and NASA
NASA has ranked NEO as one of the top five cryptocurrencies, along with Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Ripple. (Source: “Bitcoin, Blockchains and Efficient Distributed Spacecraft Mission Control, NASA, September 13, 2017.)
NEO Coin and Alibaba
NEO has been collaborating with Alibaba, which is China’s answer to Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN). NEO coin and Alibaba are working on a project together to deliver an e-mail certification service for “Ali Cloud.”
NEO Coin and Microsoft
In China, NEO already has an established relationship with Microsoft China to digitize and secure signatures using blockchain technology. But now the NEO coin and Microsoft relationship is moving to a whole new level.
NEO recently announced it will host China’s first developer competition in conjunction with Microsoft. The competition, which has total prizes of up to $490,000 (first prize is $150,000), will see contestants battle it out to create the best apps.
As part of the competition, the contestants will have to use the support of NEO Blockchain and Microsoft’s development environment and tools. The judging team will include Da Hongfei and experts from Microsoft China. (Source: “Neo DevCon sees Microsoft Judge network’s potential uses,” Cointelegraph, November 21, 2017.)
NEO Coin Potential
The World Economic Forum predicts that, over the course of the next decade, 10% of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP) will be stored using blockchain technology. At today’s prices, that represents a whopping $7.8 trillion value.
But the truth is, there are many technical aspects that can shake the blockchain.
To give you an example, the current proof-of-work (POW) consensus used by Bitcoin and Ethereum and other popular blockchains is very energy-intensive, needs real-world verifications, and is quite slow (15 transactions per second).
This is where NEO scores big over the competition.
Instead of using POW, NEO uses the more advanced dBFT to support faster development and deployment of smart contracts and projects. NEO’s digital identity addresses the inherent disadvantage of “integrity of transactions” that other blockchains like Bitcoin and Ethereum are facing.
Since NEO’s dBFT technology holds more promise in terms of certainty, scalability, and compatibility across applications, the NEO coin potential is something to tap into.
Add the fact that NEO can support over 10,000 transactions per second and it’s not surprising that most NEO coin partners (and this includes governments) are extremely pleased with the alliance.
NEO Coin Benefits
To summarize, the core NEO coin benefits are high scalability, high certainty, and better compatibility across applications. In simpler terms, the NEO blockchain is faster, better, and cheaper than the other existing blockchains. If this were a tennis match, the score would read “advantage NEO.”