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NEO, formerly known as AntShares, is generally known as the “Ethereum of China.” But an even more accurate description of the project would be “China’s Public Blockchain,” according to the company. They made news this week when they went from being a top 15 cryptocurrency to a top 10 cryptocurrency as of the time of writing. Their token value surged from sub-$10 to over $20, and their market cap over $900 million.

NEO’s platform is similar to Ethereum but has some clear advantages and a different overall mission. First of all, they provide various advanced languages for their compiler such as Python and Go. Secondly and more importantly, their NEO Contract (which is run through a NEO Virtual Machine) supports various commonly used programming languages, such as C# and Java which is a major advantage. This makes the barrier to entry for new developers much smaller than other platforms, as they do not need to learn new languages to code.

The big move for NEO is creating an entire smart economy. They have incorporated digital assets, smart contracts and a digital identity that can be used for real world applications and become integrated into the real economy. China could (and may) be a candidate for that first real world application and integration.

NEO is in a similar spot Ethereum was in early 2017, both cryptocurrency value wise and launch phase. Their product is fully operational and does a few things different than Ethereum including execution of C# code which allows them to do more things with the platform and attract more developers.

The platform is also primed for running Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs.) And, I wouldn’t be surprised if it continues to be the go-to platform for upcoming Chinese ICOs. As we saw this year with Ethereum, when ICOs launch demand for the token that is hosting them goes up drastically.

I personally am excited to see how their smart economy starts incorporating into the real world. If they are able to integrate physical assets and even intentionally involve government in China, that could be a good thing for the growth of their project, in this case.