Understanding the Onchain-NEO Relationship: Why You Should Care

Hi all, this is my first post here! I’ve been reading for a while but wanted to contribute more. I’m an American student living in Beijing and collaborating with the Onchain team.

There’s recently been a lot of discussion about NEO, but there’s still a dearth of information circulating about Onchain, the company led by NEO’s founders, Da Hongfei and Erik Zhang. I figured it would be useful to collect some information about the relationship between Onchain and NEO here, and to point readers of the NEO subreddit towards the Onchain subreddit (https://www.reddit.com/r/Onchain/) where Onchain employees regularly update the Onchain community and offer answers to questions.

Before jumping into more info on Onchain, it’s useful to lay out why, if you read the NEO subreddit, you’ll likely be interested in the content on the Onchain subreddit: 1. As the leaders of Onchain and NEO are the same people, there is much to be inferred about NEO from Onchain. 2. Since both Onchain and NEO are operating in the Chinese crypto space, developments that affect one often affect the other. 3. Those cooperating on the NEO project might be interested in working with Onchain on similar projects (see below), especially as the company expands and welcomes collaboration in a broad range of industries. 4. Onchain might be an investment opportunity down the line. 5. Onchain is a major test case for how blockchain technology might reshape the business and public sectors. Understanding it is relevant for anyone interested in blockchain tech.

To understand the relationship between NEO and Onchain, it’s most helpful to hear it from Da Hongfei himself, who explained it this way in an interview last month (full thing available at https://youtu.be/BcmoSp7bL7g): “First, I need to clarify that NEO and Onchain are separate entities, so Onchain doesn’t own NEO, or NEO, Onchain. They are separately funded — NEO is funded by the community, and Onchain is funded by a very famous financial group in China, Fosun. They bought a lot of insurance companies and banks in Europe. So they are separate. Second, Onchain benefits from the NEO ecosystem. The product, called DNA [Distributed Networks Architecture — see below], is very similar to NEO, but it is written in the Go language. Onchain is helping other blockchains and financial institutions to build their blockchains with DNA. It’s basically very similar to NEO, and in the future, with NEOx (the crosschain protocol) everything can be linked together.”

The DNA that Da Hongfei mentioned is basically a blockchain that can be shaped to address all sorts of different problems in the private and public sectors. Onchain works with private and government entities to help them implement solutions to their particular inefficiencies using the DNA. As an Onchain employee recently posted on the Onchain reddit, the DNA is “the first Chinese-led blockchain technology framework…[it] allows enterprises to quickly create and implement public and private blockchains. Onchain’s decision to create the DNA using original, open-source code eliminates IP risk, while Hyperledger membership insures the product is held to a global standard. The DNA supports both consortium chains (shared across multiple enterprises) and private chains, and can rapidly integrate with various business systems. The DNA also supports interoperability between different blockchains, and supports interactions between blockchains and traditional networks.”

The relationship between Onchain and NEO laid out in extra-clear terms by Da Hongfei:

“NEO is a community project. Onchain doesn’t own NEO. NEO and Onchain are separate entities. NEO is a community driven/funded open-source project, while Onchain is a VC-backed company. The connections are: (1) Two of the five co-founders of Onchain are also founders of NEO (2) The consortium version of NEO, namely DNA, shares the same architecture and smart contract system with NEO (3) With NeoX, the cross-chain protocol, we are exploring the possibility of integrating permissionless blockchain (NEO) with permissioned ones (DNA).”

For more on Onchain, I’d highly recommend two short reads: 1. Best intro article out there:https://hackernoon.com/neo-Onchain-and-its-ultimate-plan-dna-4c33e9b6bfaa (posted here a while back) 2. Da Hongfei interview on the origins of Onchain and its evolution to the present day:https://neonewstoday.com/interviews/translation-of-da-hongfei-interview-on-fosun-investment/

Re-link of the OnChain reddit for reference: https://www.reddit.com/r/Onchain/