Tokyo FinTech
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Tokyo FinTech

Do you remember Neo?

Neo, during its early days affectionately known as “China’s Ethereum”, released its latest version N3 last year, after three years of development effort. Since the blockchain world has not stood still, with quite a number of new protocols launched during this period, the question is, does the world still care about Neo?

Today, Neo positions itself as an open-source community-driven blockchain platform that wants to be an open network for the Smart Economy. As such, it wants to make any asset, digital or physical, accessible by human beings and programs with minimized trust and permission. The common building blocks to achieve that mission are a digital identity, smart contracts and digital assets. Neo natively supports decentralized storage, oracles, and a domain name service.

A brief history of Neo: Da Hongfei and Erik Zhang launched Antshares in 2014, which was rebranded to Neo in 2017. In 2018, work on N3 began, which culminated in the test net and main let launch during the first half of 2021. A contributing factor to the extended development timeline was certainly also Neo’s involvement in China’s national project, the Blockchain Services Network (BSN).

N3 positions itself for large-scale commercial usage, with a number of attractive components available to developers, as listed in the graphic above.

Neo features two native tokens on its network, the NEO governance token, and the GAS utility token. The governance token allows NEO token holders to actively participate in Neo network governance. Also, Neo token holders receive 10% of all GAS proceeds, which are estimated at a total of approximately 10 million GAS per year at current rates. Another 10% is evenly split among the 21 members of the Neo Council. And 80% gets split between successful voters, depending on whether they have been part of the consensus node council members or not.

Neo provides strong ecosystem support across the EcoFund, EcoBoost, Neo Grants and the N3 Early Adoption Program. In fact, already by 2017, Neo had gained some good traction in Japan, largely by Da Hongfei committing significant time to this market, and supporting regular developer workshops and business-focused meetups (yes, those were the pre-Covid days…). The strong focus on gaining momentum with developers rather than just trying to pump the token differentiated Neo in my opinion. After three years of a virtual hiatus, much of that work would need to be re-started, and will not be easier in light of the much more competitive landscape that has evolved since.

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Norbert Gehrke

Passionate about strategy & innovation across Asia. At home in Japan. Connector of people & ideas.