What’s the Big Deal about China’s First Open-Source Blockchain Platform NEO?

Blockchain Evangelist and Cryptocurrency Analyst Feng Huang explains the importance of NEO (previously known as Antshares).

In late July this year, Antshares – China’s first open-source Blockchain platform – organised a meeting at the Microsoft headquarters in Beijing which was attended by 200 representatives of different organisations. The gathering was about Antshares’ big announcement of its rebranding as NEO, a project with renewed and innovative Blockchain development plans.

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The new brand name has been taken from Greek, and it means youth and novelty. The ANS symbol will change to NEO soon, and in the meanwhile, the NEO developers are working on new clients and a UI for the revamped brand.

Several major potential investors, industry specialists, Blockchain enthusiasts, and representatives of the Chinese financial and mainstream media attended the meeting. Among the presenters in the conference were:

Da Hongfei, founder of NEO, spelled out NEO’s plans and strategies in the context of the future of Blockchain technology, where decentralised commerce, digital identities and digitisation of different assets will become a reality with the new smart contracts code. Emphasizing the need for transparency and openness of data, he elaborated on how the new ‘Smart Economy’ would be based on a new smart contracts system.

His major announcements at the event were:

  1. NEO is partnering with certificate authorities in China to digitise real-world assets using smart contracts.
  2. NEO has been granted a new patent for cross-chain distributed interoperability.
  3. Among NEO’s recent startup partners are Bancor, Agrello, Coindash, Binance and Nest Fund. More partner announcements will be made soon.

NEO to have Smart Contracts 2.0

Erik Zhang, core developer of NEO, introduced Smart Contracts 2.0 to the audience and explained the major differences between NEO and Ethereum. Ethereum uses its own language called Solidity for programming, whereas NEO supports all programming languages via a compiler, including those on Microsoft.net, Java, Kotlin, Go and Python. By allowing for common programming languages to be used on its platform, NEO hopes to attract a vast community of developers.

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NEO’s answer to Ethereum’s The DAO

NEO will have the Nest Fund, a project similar to Ethereum’s The DAO, and Tony Tao will soon release a white paper on the project. The DAO will make improvements on its shortcomings and will be released after being audited by a worldwide peer review.

Microsoft to support NEO

Srikanth Raju, GM, Developer Experience & Evangelism and Chief Evangelist, Greater China Region, Microsoft, said that Onchain (the company that founded NEO) is “one of the top 50 startup companies in China”, and offered his support for pushing its endeavours further.


At the conference, Innospace CEO Chen Cheng Qiang announced collaboration between his company and the NEO project, and a ¥200 million CNY ($29.3 million USD) incubation fund towards the project.


Founder of Agrello, Alex Norta, an Estonia-based Blockchain company, announced a partnership with NEO to develop smart contracts for automation, self-execution, accuracy and transparency. Even non-programmers will be able to create their own legally binding Blockchain-based smart contracts on Agrello.


Coindash is an upcoming social trading platform for crypto assets, offering portfolio management tools for digital asset investors which will soon release its ICO. Coindash has partnered with NEO to provide Nest Fund’s investors with advisory and prediction tools. Unfortunately, Coindash’s ICO was recently hacked and the crowd sale has been stopped for the time being. However, the company has announced that it will provide tokens (CDTs) to people who sent Ethereum to the address prior to the closure of CoinDash site.

Binance is a digital asset exchange started by Mr. Zhao Chang Peng, former CTO of Okcoin. This new digital exchange, hoping to compete with platforms like Poloniex, will only deal in cryptocurrency-to-cryptocurrency transactions without involving any fiat currencies, therefore avoiding Chinese regulations. The platform’s first traded digital currencies will be Bitcoin, Ethereum and NEO.

NEO has established a bright vision for infrastructural reforms with its groundbreaking concepts. With numerous high-profile organisations and innovative startups supporting NEO’s endeavours, NEO shows a promising future for Blockchain technology not just in China, but globally. The fact that the Chinese government is implicitly supporting it will catalyse the process the of integration of Blockchain technology in the mainstream. Is it going to be the new star of Blockchain tech? The New Ethereum?

This article was written by Feng Huang, Blockchain Evangelist and Cryptocurrency Analyst.

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