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What is NEO?

When the Neo blockchain rebranded with the Greek word for new, it was for good reason. The Neo network, a blockchain infrastructure, is set to define a new world, print new money, and create a new government consensus ruled by the people.

The Neo project is similar to Ethereum in that it is a base-layer blockchain, meaning it provides the framework on which applications are built. However, it is much, much faster. At a processing capability of 10,000 transactions per second (TPS), Neo outperforms Ethereum 600 times over.

Neo's impressive processing speed helps Neo bring its suite of services to the masses. This includes adoption by Neo developers, which in turn, helps change the way we look at economics and the consensus mechanism in the blockchain space.

What is Neo?

Neo, formerly known as Antshares, is a non-profit community-based blockchain protocol. In 2014 it became the first-ever Chinese open-source blockchain to launch. 

The Neo ecosystem allows programmers to create smart contracts and build decentralized applications (dApps). Smart contracts on blockchains are similar to off-chain contracts. They have clauses that state if a certain action happens, then a meaningful action will follow.

The difference is the entity that oversees a smart contract. Instead of a human intermediary, smart contracts use a program to execute the agreement. While smart contracts are an integral part of the Neo blockchain, there is far more to the Neo network than this alone.

Neo has built an entire smart economy that allows users to digitize assets in the real world. This means using Neo smart contracts allows digital assets to self-manage while building toward a smart economy built within the Neo ecosystem.

How was Neo built?

Da Hongfei is the founder of Neo. He is a world-leading expert in cryptocurrency, having joined the space when he started learning about the subject in 2011. Initially,  Hongfei tried building a cryptocurrency exchange but failed.

However, Hongfei soon found a job in the industry, which was a turn of fortune, as he was able to network with other like-minded people passionate about cryptocurrency and blockchain. After that, Hongfei and his colleagues started an organization for cryptocurrency meetups in Beijing and Hong Kong.

While he was locally attending meetups, Hongfei was also paying attention to events happening in the cryptocurrency community worldwide. For example, he'd heard of how Vitalik Buterin was able to launch his smart contract platform, Ethereum, through crowdfunding.

A New Blockchain Project Is Born
This was a big inspiration for him. The meetups, which Hongfei was regularly attending, served him and his small team well when they began crowdfunding their DAC (decentralized autonomous company). It turned out to be a great success, and they opened Antshares. 

During the Antshares era, their attention was more on digital assets and less on smart contracts. However, when they rebranded in 2017, it became an entirely different ecosystem, separate from Antshares. The organization's renaming was meant to represent the new direction the company would be heading in.

How does the Neo network work?

Digital assets:
Digital assets - also called tokens or coins - are designed to exist as electronic cash. In this way, they are highly transparent and not restricted by a centralized authority. Neo facilitates a way for users to register and trade various types of assets. This wouldn't be possible without another component to the Neo blockchain network called digital identity.

Digital identity:
This is how Neo verifies the link between the digital asset and the physical asset it acts for. Digital identity is a means of recognizing a person, business, or other such entity in electronic form. Neo uses a variety of verification technologies which involve fingerprints, facial features, and more.

Digital pillar:
Last, we have the third pillar of Neo's digital economy, which is its smart contracts. The Neo blockchain implements its smart contract program called NeoContract. 

The NeoContract is fascinating because developers already familiar with programming languages like C# and Java are not required to learn Solidity,  which is a requirement if you want to write smart contracts on Ethereum. As most developers are still unfamiliar with program blockchain protocols, this helps avoid debugging issues and allows developers to build projects much faster.

How does Neo's digital governance work?

In July 2021, Neo completed its most significant network update to date, N3. Of the many new features available on the platform, one that is central to Neo's 'new' philosophy is related to how the blockchain is governed. 

For blockchain protocols and dApps to be truly decentralized, they should not be controlled by one central entity. Instead, they need to be managed by the community. Neo's new N3 governance model strives to be just that: by the people, for the people.

Neo Council:
With this new iteration, Neo has moved towards a more decentralized model, now using a council. To be eligible for a council position, you must hold NEO coins, the Neo network's native token. Anyone who has NEO tokens in their wallet has voting rights (each Neo coin equals one vote) and can register as a candidate for the council.

The top 21 candidates become Neo council members, and the highest voted seven members are automatically elected as consensus nodes. Nodes are the processing units responsible for verification of transactions on the network. If any of these seven nodes cannot perform their duties, the next council member in line will take its place.

Elections are held periodically, and the council members are then expected to help maintain the network's health. With this responsibility, council members must have an understanding of the Neo network to help maintain it.

Neo: Where is it now, and where is it heading?

Neo 3 testnet, implemented in July 2021, is a new blockchain from the Neo mainnet of 2017. All the tools that hobbyist developers might need to build their first dApps are available on the Neo platform. This could be a significant shift in the internet paradigm if the ability to construct dApps is easier and more accessible than it has been up to this point.

It also features its own distributed network for storage, NEOFS, which allows users complete control over their data, unlike other blockchains that rely on third-party storage providers.

Not only could the Neo blockchain - and Neo tokens - revolutionize data storage, but it is also working on being a key player in the adoption of financial dApps and digitizing assets. Neo's vision has attracted partnerships with off-chain businesses, likes Microsoft and Accenture. The project hopes collaborations such as these will help drive other traditional enterprises to adopt blockchain technology.

With the many innovative developments at Neo, their project is undoubtedly one to keep an eye on.

Neo (NEO) Resources:
Introducing Neo N3 - the next evolution of the Neo blockchain

Donald Lee What is Neo Coin Explained] Neo Cryptocurrency Explained, Neo Crypto Review
Why NEO Can Do What No other Cryptocurrency Can

Boxmining Youtube Channel
Neo (Antshares) Interview with founder Da HongFei

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