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NEO is a non-profit community driven blockchain platform designed to create a scalable network of decentralized applications (dApps). Sometimes dubbed the Chinese Ethereum, it was originally launched in 2014, under the brand name of Antshares. Its dual-layered blockchain was developed by Onchain DNA, with a protocol that is said to fix many of Ethereum’s scalability issues. It rebranded as NEO in 2017.
NEO and GAS (or neoGAS) are the two proprietary tokens used on the platform. NEO is the shares token, while GAS is the fuel token; the total supply of both is 100 million. Every NEO token gives the holder the right to manage the network and vote in discussions regarding bookkeeping and NEO network parameter changes. NEO cannot be mined, because it represents a share of the NEO market it is technically classed as a security. The minimum unit of NEO is one, and tokens cannot be subdivided.
GAS is used to pay for NEO blockchain service fees such as the storage of tokens and smart contracts. To register or change assets on the blockchain, you need to acquire GAS. It acts as an economic incentive for bookkeepers and prevents the abuse of resources. GAS can be traded on exchanges and has a minimum unit of 0.00000001. NEO holders earn GAS when there are new registrations and changes in assets, rather than profiting through transaction fees (which are currently set at zero). This strengthens the eco-system by encouraging NEO holders to focus on getting more people to join the blockchain.
In April 2016, the NEO released a whitepaper on a new type of consensus protocol (dBFT – delegated Byzantine Fault Tolerance), which was the first to come from China. The protocol allows NEO to maintain a transaction speed of 1,000 transactions per second (TPS), compared to Ethereum’s 15 TPS.
NEO held its ICO between July 1-9, 2016. Half of all NEOs (50,000,000) were sold at $0.036 each, while the other half was withheld by the NEO Council. Of the withheld amount, 10 million NEOs were allocated to core developers, 10 million were allocated to spark further development, 15 million were retained as a contingency, and 15 million were earmarked to be cross invested in NEO’s blockchain ecosystem.
NEO and Onchain were founded by Da Hongfei and Erik Zhang, who are both notable figures in the Chinese blockchain industry. In 2016, Onchain was voted KPMG’s ‘Top 50 Fintech Companies in China’ and announced a partnership with Alibaba for a blockchain powered enterprise email evidence repository.