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After a year of mostly positive news and unreal returns for investors, cryptocurrency has recently been battered by news portending doom and gloom for the crypto world.
With China outlawing initial coin offerings (ICOs), JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon calling bitcoin a “fraud” akin to tulip mania, and Bitcoin China, one of China’s largest Bitcoin exchanges, announcing that it will halt all bitcoin trading by September 30th, bitcoin has decreased in value by as much as 22 percent since September 7th and taken other cryptocurrencies along with it.
For many, this might seem like a good time to get out of the “crypto game”, or for those who were considering stepping in, avoiding it altogether.
However, could this be a good opportunity for savvy investors to get in on lower prices?
While Bitcoin is the forerunner in the cryptocurrency market, many traders and investors look to other, newer cryptocurrencies both for their potential to disrupt industries as well as promise even greater returns.
One cryptocurrency that has been making waves is NEO (formerly known as Antshares), the token for NEO, China’s first ever open-source blockchain. Many have referred to NEO as “China’s Ethereum”, as the network, like Ethereum, is based upon the premise of being a platform for “smart contracts”, or self-executing contracts of computer code that are executed upon the fulfillment of previously agreed upon terms between two parties.
According to NEO’s website, the NEO name comes from the ancient Greek prefix “νεο” (pronounced Nay-oh), which means “new”, “modern”, and “young”. For the NEO team, an old word with the meaning of youth brings about a “feeling of a gateway that leads us from the physical world to the digital”.
Mission: What is NEO Actually About?
Founded in 2014 as Antshares and re-branded as NEO in July 2017, NEO’s mission is to reinvent commerce. While Antshares focused on digital assets, the rebranding of Antshares to NEO also shifted the company’s focus to smart contracts. The NEO team aims to transform the traditional economy into what they call a “Smart Economy”.
According to NEO’s sleek site (it does remind you of The Matrix), three things will make up the Smart Economy:
- A platform for smart contracts
- A new model for digital assets
- A blockchain-based digital identity structure
Features and Uses: What does NEO Actually Do?
While their mission statement is quite bold and filled with inspiring language, at the end of the day, what are NEO’s actual features and uses? There are quite a few actually:
Support for Various Digital Assets
NEO supports various kinds of digital assets, and users can do things like register, deliver, and exchange assets as they please on NEO’s blockchain.
NEO supports digital certificates, which guarantee trust by providing legal protection for assets that are digitized using NEO’s platform.
Program Smart Contracts Using Various Programming Languages
NEO, through the use of NeoContract, allows developers to develop smart contracts without learning a new programming language and instead using more familiar ones, such as C#, Java, and Go.
Peer-to-peer (p2p) Exchange of Digital Assets
A “superconductive trade mechanism” will allow for the p2p exchange of digital assets and currencies without a third party.
Neo Virtual Machine (NeoVM)
NEO’s lightweight virtual machine, Neo Virtual Machine (NeoVM), provides quick startup times and execution.
Unlimited (in Theory) Scalability
In theory, NEO’s deterministic calling tree technology grants NEO uncapped scalability.
Cross-chain Interoperation Protocol
NEO will allow for atomic assets swap and smart contract execution on different chains.
While NEO is just starting to gain in popularity in the Western world, NEO has a long history (relative to other crypto projects) with co-founders Da Hongfei and Erik Zhang founding Antshares in June 2014 and receiving seed funding around this time. Antshares was placed on Github as a live, open-source project in June 2015.
A few months later in November, Antshares released its test net and beta app in November 2015. Since then, Antshares/NEO has seen a lot of activity with forums and blockchains browsers based on NEO being launched and projects like atcgo.cn, a smart contract assets transfer platform, being built on the platform. Today, NEO boasts 1,370,262 blocks on its blockchain.
NEO has been covered in media like 8btc and btc38, China’s leading media sources on Blockchain, as well as CCTV2, China’s popular financial media outlet.
They have also been a part of blockchain events and projects, such as the 2016 Global Blockchain Summit, and Hyperledger, a project of open-source blockchains and related tools started by the Linux Foundation.
In addition, NEO has partnered with notable organizations, such as Alibaba, Microsoft, Mngo VR, and WINGS, a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) platform.
While there are a lot of active crypto projects out there, NEO has definitely been busy since its inception as Antshares in 2014.
Total Supply and Circulating Amount
The total supply of NEO is 100,000,000, with a circulating supply of 50,000,000. At the current price of $15.18 per NEO, that brings NEO’s market capitalization to $758,805,000 (as of 9/14/17, 17:32 UTC).
Conclusion: Should You Invest in NEO?
Now for the question that everyone wants an answer to:
Should you invest in NEO?
While nothing here is written as financial advice but merely general information to be used for informational purposes, it’s clear that NEO is a project with a real use-case, and that’s not just another blockchain startup throwing the “use-case” buzzword around – as mentioned, NEO currently has 1,370,262 blocks on its blockchain. People are finding real uses for the platform.
Moreover, the Western or non-Chinese world is just starting to catch onto this promising project, as users have complained in the past about how details were murky for non-Chinese speakers due to translation issues and lack of non-Chinese documentation.
NEO’s collaboration with both corporations and government also bodes well for the project. As mentioned, NEO has partnered with big names like Alibaba and Microsoft, but it has also attended Chinese government-sponsored industry conferences, which is likely a good sign in a country known for its tough stance on cryptocurrency projects as evidenced by China’s recent ban on ICOs.
With the recent drop in cryptocurrency prices across the board, picking up some NEO might be a smart choice for the savvy cryptocurrency investor.
Thanks for reading!
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