NEO Smart Economy AMA Recap and Analysis

NEO Smart Economy AMA Recap and Analysis

On Thursday of this week, founders of the newly branded NEO, DA Hongfei and Erik Zhang, hosted an AMA on the official NEO subreddit.


This past Thursday, NEO Founders DA Hongfei and Erik Zhang opened the floor on Reddit for an AMA. This article will serve to recap the questions that were answered on the newly rebranded NEO subreddit (formerly known as Antshares). The new sub has generated considerable buzz this week, even being listed as a trending forum earlier this week.


The NEO subreddit trended on Tuesday of this past week.


 D = DA Hongfei,

NEO Founder, Founder and CEO of Onchain, Key Opinion Leader (KOL) to chinese Blockchain industry

E = Erik Zhang

NEO Founder and core developer, Founder and CTO of Onchain, author of the DBFT consensus mechanism

Can you give us an idea about the size of the China based development team?

D: There are about half a dozen full-time developers here in Shanghai, among them two are core developers. We don’t need tens of people doing protocol level development. Other than that, there are a few dozens more contributing code and ideas as community members, some of them are Onchain DNA developers. Besides we have a few academic researchers serving as technical advisors. By saying Core developer, we mean who has commit permission on GitHub. Bitcoin has 15 core developers as of today.

Do you have a roadmap for future developments?

E: We’ve already finished the features such as digital asset, digital identity, smart contract, complier and dev pack for C# /VB.NET/F#/Java/Kotlin. And in the end of 2017, we gonna finish the yellowpaper and incubat more project of DApp and then we will improve the implementation of smart contract development by Java/Kotlin. At the beginning of 2018, NeoX, NeoFS, NeoQs are our most important works.

Please clarify the rumors regarding NEO’s affiliations with companies like Alibaba and Microsoft. There is much speculation but little in the way of hard facts, can you please expand upon these? (note: much has been made of rumors regarding NEO’s relationship with titan companies such as Microsoft and Alibaba (the number one e-commerce retailer in Asia, in plain, “The Amazon and E-Bay of Asia” some would say). NEO’s June 22nd conference a little over a month ago was held at the Microsoft Beijing office.)

D: There is no direct cooperation between Alibaba and NEO/Onchain, other than their mailbox service is using Law Chain to provide attested email service. In terms of Microsoft, yes we have cooperation with Microsoft China because NEO is built with C# and .NET Core, and NeoContract is the first in the world to support writing smart contract with C#.

Can you give us any indication on how big and where the Chinese NEO community is?

D: There are a dozen of dedicated QQ/WeChat groups and a couple of BBS/forum boards. Personally, I have over 5000 followers on Weibo, the Chinese twitter. I’ll say that there are tens of thousands of people who are loosely the NEO community members. I can share you two pictures taken early this month on a NEO technical meeting.

Hi. Are you actively working towards getting NEO listed on other exchanges? Increasing the number of exchanges NEO is listed on will improve its visibility, exposure and price potential. Getting NEO listed on Japanese, Korean, European and American exchanges such as:

  • Kraken Bitfinex Poloniex Huobi Okcoin Bithumb Btce

And many more will help to improve your prospect.

D: At this moment, we are actively working on the network upgrade. We definitely would like to see NEO being listed on more exchanges, especially the one caters different countries. It is up to the exchanges but we plan to reach out to them in the future. As a teaser, Erik and I are travelling to Japan in August.

Hi guys. Any upcoming partnerships we don’t know about yet? 😉

I’m interested to hear what businesses are interested in utilizing the NEO network and its smart contracts.

D: There are no new partnerships to announce yet. But we do see dramatically increasing interests of building dApps on NEO and/or using the NeoContract system. We’ll announce a Seed Project to encourage developers to build dApps and third-party apps around NEO. There are also dApps on other blockchain planning to port to NEO. I believe we will see plenty of dApps/projects built around NEO in the 2nd half of 2017.

How will NEO/OnChain prevent new ICO’s with bad intentions/scams on their platform? Will they check the ICO’s thoroughly? Since ICO’s with bad intentions reflects on the whole NEO as a supporting platform.

D: How to regulate ICO is a hot topic in the Chinese blockchain industry and community. The head of Digital Currency Institute at PBOC (central bank) recently published an article on ICO regulations. He said the regulating authority should rather be the gatekeeper than scavenger. Pre-screening or licensing may huddle innovation, so the regulators should pay close attention to those ICOs but only step in when needed. We think this standpoint is well balanced between flexibility and legitimacy. If any ICO project looks like a Ponzi scheme or scam, we will warn the public and regulators may step in.

China is working on their very own Cryptocurrency. What does/can this mean for NEO?

D: That means digital currency and blockchain/DLT are regarded as neutral technologies that can be utilized to speed up the adoption of Chinese Yuan as an international currency. Therefore, financial institutions will invest in blockchain/DLT which benefits NEO in return. Our team was asked to do training sections for banks and insurance companies for many times in the past.

Both: What are you most excited about in regards to NEO and Onchain in the next 24 months?

Da: Will having Onchain as a parent company cause NEO to be under-prioritised due to the business’ other projects or is it an advantage? Why/why not? (note: buzz in the NEO community about rumors of Onchain being the so-called parent company of NEO has been received with both positive and negative reviews).

D: NEO is a community project. Onchain doesn’t own NEO.

NEO and Onchain are separate entities. NEO is a community driven/funded open-source project, while Onchain is a VC-backed company. The connections are:

(1) Two of the five co-founders of Onchain are also founders of NEO

(2) The consortium version of NEO, namely DNA, shares the same architect and smart contract system with NEO

(3) With NeoX, the cross-chain protocol, we are exploring the possibility of integrating permissionless blockchain (NEO) with permissioned ones (DNA).

I saw that NEO has a lot of development plans, namely: (note: he went on to list 31 plans in development)

My questions:

1) What changes will take place in regards to the size of the team of developers, if any, to make all these plans a reality?

2) When do you expect each of these development plans to be completed?


  1. Nowadays we have hundreds of community developers. In the near future, more and more developers will be involved. So I don’t think it’s a problem.
  2. The core developers will focus on the kernel development. These plans will be finish in 2018. The community developers will focus on the applications such as wallets and blockchain explorers etc. And these applications are becoming abundant day and day so that there is no finishing point.

QTUM has a focus on mobile development and deployment, how does NEO plan to address this market?

D: Blockchain is so young and evolving so fast. At NEO, we don’t think user experience or convenience alone makes up a legitimate competitive advantage at this stage. The early adopter of NEO will be developers and/or the people who believe blockchain technology can change the world. The NEO team will focus on protocol level development and I’ve heard that CoZ and other community developers are working on mobile and mac clients. We will support those efforts to enhance user experience.

E: The essential of mobile development and deployment is light-wallet which is running on something like smart cellphones and this is easy job. Each project of blockchain can do it. I don’t think there is any difficulty.

Is there any scope for a marketing professional to be added to the existing NEO team? I understand the focus is currently on technical development however one could argue the image and content management of NEO could be much improved and is equally as important. Thanks! (note: one of the consistent complaints from western supporters of NEO has been their perceived lack of focus in their marketing approach, specifically in regards to materials in English)

D: Yes. Currently there are a handful of English speaking community members helping us with marketing and materials.

Boxmining (note: a popular Youtube crypto content on the lookout for this interview. We will post it as soon as it drops on I’m in Shanghai and I would love to interview you guys regarding the coin. I have a youtube channel of 31k subscribers who really want to know more about neo. Is it possible to arrange a visit?

E: Sure

What is your main development platform?…


This may be a difficult question, but I imagine that many of us are wondering: For those of us who are not Chinese citizens, how do you envision the regulation of the Chinese government on cryptocurrencies such as NEO will affect us? How will we be able to operate within our international spaces in ways that help us create a viable product, while still respecting the expectations and directions of the Chinese government?

D: I don’t think it is what we should worry. NEO has digital identity module built in. Everything we do we make sure it is compliant.

In addition, NEO is becoming one of the most internationally known open-source project originated from China. I think the government will love what we did. Besides, Onchain had been providing consulting service for several local governments to use blockchain in society management.

Regarding what is happening right now with BTC/BCC, how is NEO fork-resistant? And what happens, if there are issues where no consensus can be reached in the NEO-core-team or between the NEO-core-team and CoZ? (With the implications of the August 1st potential BTC hardfork approaching, the question naturally to be raised is how to know whether something is truly fork-resistant. NEO’s dBFT- delegated Byzantine Fault Tolerance structure goes a long way in preventing the possibility of a fork in the future).

E: The main reason why this situation of Bitcoin at present is because Satoshi Nakamoto left at early stage, that leads BTC community to the fork situation. Same thing happened to ETH. Differently Vitalik did a lot of work to keep the community together. What is a hard fork? It’s a protocol improvement. Upon the improvement necessity, Core Dev should propose the new protocol. If someone does not want to follow, a hard fork happens. That improvement in my eyes is inevitable, but necessary.

D: I misunderstood this question, but will post my answer anyway. The answer is about consensus fork.

NEO’s design favors consistency over liveness. NEO won’t fork if the DBFT safety assumption is met. Under extreme cases (1/3 of the consensus nodes collude), the network will stop immediately when competing blocks at same height emerge.

  1. What are the benefits and requirements of running a book-keeping node?
  2. I read from forums, some say you need 10k ANS, some 1k ANS and some 1k ANC. Truly confused.


  1. Network with good situation and 24 hours on-line. For the benefits, people can get fee of the transitions. However, the fee of transitions is zero so that now no benefits for the book-keeping nodes. But they will receive the fee with the growth times of transitions.
  2. To be a book-keeping node, you should become candidate first. And to be the candidate, you should pay 1000 gas to system. After the voting, the top number of n candidates can be the book-keeping nodes. the “n” should be equal to or more than 7 and also it depends on the result of voting.

Hello. What is upcoming marketing plan for NEO? (note: the emphasis of questions relating to marketing during the AMA speak to the concern of the masses in regards to NEO’s Marketing strategy)

D: The major one will be a NEO DevCon in Q4. Bay area might be a good place to hold the event.

NEO vs GAS (note: Gas comes into being initially as a dividend to holders of the NEO coins) has been the hot topic for the last few weeks. There are many who argue: why buy 1 NEO to generate 1 GAS (in about 22 years) when you can buy GAS right now and for cheaper.

What is your team’s opinion on that view?

E: The NEO holder will get benefits in two ways: one is each block will reward to him so that if he hold 1 neo and keep 22 years so as to get 1 gas. On the another hand, he will get benefits from the gas consuming of the users of NEO system. If no one use the system, he will just get 1 gas after 22 years with 1 neo. But you can imagine if more and more users for the NEO system, how much the NEO holder will get, much more than the first way, right?

What are the three greatest challenges you see for NEO’s future, and how can our open-source community take action to overcome those challenges? (note: NEO’s integrations of common coding languages makes it an attractive platform for mass collaboration as well as future dAPP developments) Thank you.

D: The biggest challenges is to get developers involved. We love to see more Builders emerge from the community.

Can you please explain to us Westerners how NEO’s certificate technology will help the the Chinese government trust NEO as a cryptocurrency? We are especially curious in regards to how NEO solves problems and gains approval of the Chinese government in comparison with other cryptocurrencies that Chinese government discourages, such as BitCoin.

D: If you read the whitepaper you will see that anti-censorship, anonymity, unstoppable applications are not design goals of NEO. That’s why we say NEO is for the smart ECONOMY.

Hi guys! Just 2 questions. 1) Having to send all of your NEO funds to yourself to obtain GAS seems odd. It is also nerve racking for those of us who have a LOT of NEO. Will future wallets allow us to simply obtain GAS without claiming in this way? 2) Can you state whether any new exchanges will be added soon? Thanks!


  1. auto-claiming will spam every block with tens of thousands of transactions modifying GAS balance for every address holding NEO.
  2. it’s up to exchange to list NEO, but we will reach out and are glad to provide technical support.

When do you expect NEO to be introduced to more exchanges?

D: It’s always ongoing

Who do you see as your biggest competitor at the moment, and what do you think about your own project in comparison to those? Both positive and challenging things.

E: I think Ethereum should be our biggest competitor at the moment. They have the first mover advantage and the complement community. For NEO, at lease we have three kind of advantage:

1. the better architecture: it help us to make a better future

2. more developer-friendly smart contract: it can be easy for us to construct the ecosystem.

3. digital identity and digital assets: help us to combine with the real life easily.


These questions and answers were taken directly from NEO’s first AMA with their Reddit community. The AMA, by no coincidence, was scheduled on the same week as their anticipated re-branding from Antshares to NEO. The AMA ended up spanning over 500 comments from the NEO Reddit Community. If you’re interested in reading the entire AMA, follow the link below. NEO is generating a lot of buzz in the crypto community as potentially the new frontrunner in taking China’s crypto market by storm. Some pundits have gone so far as labeling it “China’s Ethereum.” No one can say certainly what will happen, but there’s no doubt that NEO has potential to emerge as a dominant force in the crypto economy.