Last year in March the number of cryptocurrencies was 700 but a year later the figure has increased by more than double. This is an indication that there is enthusiasm for the sector which has grown tremendously in the past 12 months.
There are however lingering questions over the future of the industry since it is still at a nascent stage. Every digital currency that exists represents a platform, technology or product which is aimed at solving a particular problem. However not every virtual currency possesses viability based on the vision. In China one project which has signaled early legitimacy is NEO (NEO).
Initially NEO used to be known as AntShares when it was founded four years ago. The mission of the virtual currency is to build a smart economy which will make the ownership of non-digital properties or assets more universally connected, verifiable and transparent.
The white paper of the digital currency explains that this will be achieved by the digitization of the real-world assets by recording the ownership of non-digital assets that include vehicles, houses and other physical possessions on the blockchain. When these assets are digitized it will be possible to link their ownership to digital identities through smart contracts. By so doing a smart economy will develop and this will afford a layer of accessibility and immutability something which was not previously possible.
At the moment NEO ranks among the top 10 virtual currencies with regards to market capitalization. It is also one of the biggest digital currencies to have originated from Asia. In the virtual currency ecosystem NEO emerged as the first digital coin to get an A rating from the Weiss? Cryptocurrency Ratings. This rating is based on a weighted combination of risk factors facing a virtual currencies as well as technology fundamentals and reward potential.
Despite the fact that the rating that NEO received is an indication of the strong direction that the platform is taking, some commentators in the industry question the material difference of NEO relative to other virtual currencies that possess similar use cases. NEO has for instance been benchmarked against Ethereum (ETH), a digital currency which also utilizes smart contracts and operates a blockchain of its own.
Different from Ethereum
The founder of NEO, Da Hongfei, has however insisted that from the beginning the virtual currency was focused on developing a platform with unique fundamentals. Hongfei has challenged the notion that the virtual currency was attempting to become an Ethereum copycat arguing that the smart contract system of NEO is different from that of Ethereum.
Despite getting the recognition of the industry Hongfei insists that there is still room for improvement for the virtual currency. For instance there is a need to improve the technical design which allows voting by users as well as the governance model of the blockchain. At the moment users or new token holders can vote on consensus nodes. However this is not something that ordinary users do and this is mainly because of technical difficulties.
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