Who would have thought back in 2017 that China’s crypto platform and digital coin NEO would be quick enough to catch up with some of the most prominent cryptocurrencies in just under three years?
Thanks to the features it offers, the payment system has been likened to the world-famous cryptocurrency platform, Ethereum, earning the name “China’s Ethereum” and being recognized as the Far East crypto powerhouse.
In our guide today, we’ll give you all the details on how to purchase NEO in the UK and why would you invest in NEO in the first place. Although all cryptocurrencies are bought from online crypto exchanges, you need to find one that suits you based on your target currency.
Our research has shown that the best place to buy NEO from as a UK resident is Binance.
Where to Buy NEO?
Choosing the right cryptocurrency exchange is very important when it comes to buying NEO. Originally from China, the company behind NEO initially focused on the Chinese market which is why the number of exchanges that have this coin on offer is quite scarce.
Our team has done extensive research to find out the exchanges that are both available in the UK and include NEO on their list of supported coins. At the moment, the platform that fulfils the two criteria is Binance.
Binance was designed by Changpeng Zhao, known as CZ in the crypto circles, and launched in China in 2017. Due to regulatory issues, the platform had to be relocated and ended up on the crypto-friendly island of Malta.
Once you create an account on Binance, the easiest way to buy NEO is to buy BTC or ETH first, using fiat currency such as GBP or USD if you prefer. Then, you can easily exchange these bitcoins for NEO.
Binance has proved to be a very reliable and secure platform which is another reason why we recommend it. The exchange has its own Secure Asset Fund for Users, SAFU for short, to which it allocates 10% of all its trading fees. The purpose of SAFU is to cover monetary losses in case of security breaches or hacking attacks.
Plus, Binance only charges a 0.1% fee on your transactions and even gives you a discount if you use their native cryptocurrency BNB.
What Is NEO?
A lot of people are surprised to learn that NEO comes from China, a country known for its restrictive financial laws and anti-crypto policies. It was here that initial coin offerings (ICOs) were completely banned in 2017, one of the most effective ways in which startups and small businesses were able to raise money for their projects and ideas.
The ban applies to both domestic and foreign ICOs, which is such a pity, considering that the Chinese market is one of the largest markets in the world.
But does China have a dislike for the whole field of cryptography and the underlying blockchain technology? Not really. The country even thinks of digitalizing the nation’s currency. What they don’t like is price speculations and trading with completely decentralized currencies that aren’t regulated by the government.
The NEO team shares some of these views, particularly the idea that blockchain technology can be used for so much more than just private online payments. They are optimistic that soon enough, the world economy could be completely digitalized and turned into a “smart economy” where one’s digital reputation and presence would allow for trustless communication between businesses.
Who Created NEO?
The platform wasn’t always called NEO. It was launched in 2014, under the name AntShares, and spearheaded by Da Hongfei and Erik Zhang. The two entrepreneurs and software developers published a whitepaper to explain the purpose and vision of their blockchain-based system.
The platform was open-sourced on GitHub in 2015 and rebranded to NEO in 2017. The name has its roots in the Greek prefix “neo” (νεο-), which translated to something that’s “new”, “modern”, and “young”. In the technology phrasebook, this would also mean “progress” and “innovation”.
All NEO tokens have been pre-mined, meaning that they were all released in the Genesis Block. In total, there are 100 million coins, half of which were divided among the investors in the crowdfunding, while the other half belongs to the Neo Council. These 50 million NEO tokens were locked in a smart contract. The plan is to spend no more than 15 million NEO in the course of one year.
What is NEO used for? The coin’s main purpose is to keep the blockchain running and allow users to vote when validating transactions. However, the platform supports one more cryptocurrency known as GAS. These coins are used to pay for the transaction fees and when using some of NEO’s services like building a smart contract or currency. If you know how Ethereum works, think of these coins as Ether.
What Are Their Future Goals?
Let’s go back to the idea behind NEO’s smart economy. What the company means by this is a transition to an economy where individuals and companies would invest in creating a reliable digital identity. They would use digital currencies, sign smart contracts with their partners, and work on apps that are decentralized.
NEO, therefore, allows users to digitalize physical or fiat currencies and turn them into decentralized coins. The difference between these coins and a regular cryptocurrency is that you’ll have to verify your digital identity first in order for NEO to accept and recognize your coin. The main advantage is that your transactions will be estimated by others as trustworthy and transparent.
Who Is it For?
Based on what we said until now, NEO is perfect for people in charge of companies or working individually, who are open-minded about trying out new things like building a digital identity for themselves to develop their business in the right direction.
This platform will reduce your costs significantly as you won’t have to pay high transaction fees or hire intermediaries. Whenever you need to start a partnership with someone, you’ll be able to do this online using smart contracts that are self-executable and require no intervention from third-parties such as lawyers and notaries.
Before digitally signing this contract, you’ll be asked to specify the conditions that both parties have to meet before the contract gets executed. Remember those partners that used to give you headaches because you constantly had to remind them to stick to their part of their agreement? Smart contracts take over the “nagging” part too.
NEO also suits developers who are interested in creating blockchain-based applications (dApps) or helping out companies that want to work with smart contracts.
Pros and Cons of NEO
Even though Ethereum had popularized smart contracts before any other platform did, recent advances in technology have opened up spaces for other networks like NEO to improve some of Ethereum’s shortcomings.
NEO’s system of smart contracts is called NeoContract and it’s much faster and easier to learn than the one offered by Ethereum. How did they manage that?
Moreover, instead of using the proof of work consensus mechanism that both Ethereum and Bitcoin have been using so far, NEO outperforms them by using the proof of stake method that consumes less energy and therefore costs less.
Finally, NEO is a regulated platform that has been approved by the Chinese government. This has roused a great deal of speculation in the crypto community as some fear that NEO might have to make compromises under the government’s pressure. We certainly hope that this won’t lead to restrictions based on users’ locations.