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Token Analysis: Is NEO (Formerly Antshares) ‘China’s Ethereum’?

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NEO has been called “China’s Ethereum”. The Western market first collectively learned about Antshares, a smart contract and decentralized application (dApp) platform, just ahead of the company’s rebrand to ‘NEO’ – which is Greek for “newness”, novelty and youth. That merely one exchange offers bitcoin-NEO trades has led to a bottleneck in supply. Prices skyrocketed in the weeks ahead of the rebrand. Antshares’ ICO was in the fall of 2016.

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NEO development began in 2014 and the blockchain-startup ONCHAIN is overseeing its enterprise version. Already the platform offers more languages than Ethereum supports. NEO’s partners include crowdfunding platform WINGS and multinational technology corporation Microsoft. Reports last year of a partnership between Alibaba and the former AntShares were false, though the companies have worked together.

NEO’s collaboration with Wings is for research and development purposes. With Ali Cloud and ONCHAIN, NEO is working on a proof of existence e-mail repository.

That NEO representatives seemingly have the okay from the government – having attended a government-sponsored industry conference – could bode well for the blockchain project. As ONCHAIN’s CEO, and Antshares founder, Da Hogfei, tweeted:

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NEO Price History as Antcoin

The token price, still trading under its former ticker ‘ANC’ or ‘ANS’ across the web on this article’s publish date, and until the rebrand is complete in the third quarter of 2017, skyrocketed particularly from June 19-20. The platform increased from $1.65 on June 15 to $10 at the time of writing on June 20. It then corrected and currently sits at just shy of $7, according to CoinMarketCap. Antshares’ all-time high sits at $11.79.

The decentralized smart contract platform’s first price history, according to CoinMarket Cap, started this past fall. The project’s native token started trading at a price of 55 cents before settling between approximately 10 cents and 30 cents. ANC trended south until the end of October 2016, when it reached a nadir of 8 cents. The price then skyrocketed to 31 cents. After a quick price increase, the price drifted downwards until March 2017 when it, along with much of the crypto-asset complex, increased in value.

Per the rebrand, not only does Antshares become NEO, but Antcoin (ANC) becomes ‘GAS’. “So, it is no longer a ‘dividend interest’ sort of asset, but a utility sub-token for network functionalities,” a NEO community member told Hacked.com.

Under the Hood

NEO smart contracts are based on NEO’s Virtual Machine, which is similar to Ethereum’s Virtual Machine. NEO plans to soon release its “Smart Economy” platform, which has also been termed “Smart Contracts 2.0”.

NEO is designed to solve the same problems as Ethereum. NEO’s incorporation of sharding and concurrency in its computer science model solves scalability problems. Ethereum has yet to make such changes to better scale that smart contract and dApp platform.

NEO

Delegated Byzantine Fault Tolerance

By using Delegated Byzantine Fault Tolerance (dBFT) for its blockchain operations – a consensus method proponents claim offers better security for blockchains – NEO places itself in the company of the well-known blockchain project Hyperledger, and the lesser-known Stellar. “Specialized bookkeeping nodes” reach consensus via “delegated voting” per NEO’s dBFT model. It takes a two-thirds vote for approval of a current copy of a blockchain.

“After investigating and studying the crypto-industry and blockchain technologies for several years, we came to the conclusion that the delegated Byzantine Fault Tolerance alternative (or dBFT) is best suited for such a system,” Erik Iz, co-founder and core developer at Antshares, stated on BitcoinTalk. “It provides swift transaction verification times, de-incentivises most attack vectors and upholds a single blockchain version with no risk of forks or alternative blockchain records emerging – regardless of how much computing power, or coins an attacker possesses.”

Nest Smart Fund

With the rebrand in NEO’s past, the team is looking forward to expanding its western-focused marketing efforts, a NEO community member told Hacked.com. Moreover, it’s partnered on a “do over” for the cryptocurrency community.

“Nest is a whole new form of smart fund written in Antshares smart contracts,” writes NEO about its new ‘DAO’ style fund called Nest Fund, which uses NEO smart contract technology.

The DAO, or ‘decentralized autonomous organization’, had set out to become a decentralized venture capital fund based on Ethereum’s smart contract code. It failed.

NEO adds about its attempt at a similar fund: “Nest aims to, with the power of blockchain, eliminate and neutralize problems like high threshold, high risk, low efficiency and moral risks. Participants invest, manage and exit with smart contracts instead of application to certain organizations. Antshares’ Blockchain enables everyone to join the Nest, with a 0 threshold and 100% transparency, with a safe and free exit option at any given time.”

For a cryptocurrency community that likes to be right – they told you so about Bitcoin, after all – Nest could garner serious interest for users looking to make a point, and prove the ideas behind crypto right.

Numerous Blockchain Products

Nest Fund isn’t the only blockchain-based service or product offered by NEO. Other than its parent, ONCHAIN, NEO leads projects including blockchain-based browsers,  a web-based crypto-asset wallet, as well as an online crowdfunding fund that is not the aforementioned Nest. The team also partnered with Microsoft Azure to bring blockchain technology to the server experience. This project is similar to partnerships pioneered by Azure in the west.

NEO, Microsoft Azure servers

The Verdict

Antshares is available on just five exchanges currently, and that limits the amount of buying demand for ANC. Just a single exchange buys and sells ANC for Bitcoin. Now, as many westerners learn of NEO for the first time, the demand will only increase.

But a lack of information available in English about NEO could slow demand. When NEO’s implementation of blockchain technology receives increasing press in the English-speaking world – and it likely will considering its corporate partners – there could be further price implications. The crypto-asset is currently the 23rd largest, according to Coin Market Cap. On CoinCap.io, it is the 21st largest.

Only time will tell with NEO, but there are lots of intriguing projects in the works at the blockchain company, including authentication work with Chinese authorities to map real-world assets with smart contracts. The company also has numerous patents, including ones for cross-chain interoperability. It’s partnered with numerous blockchain projects, like Bancor, Agrello, Coindash and Binance.

Due to NEO’s corporate partners –  among whom are included Microsoft, etc. –  and its under the radar Ethereum-esque functionality, we give the project a 7.75 out of 10. 

Token Details

In order to use the new version of the platform, NEO, Antshares users do not need to do anything other than download the new client/app when it is ready later this year. ‘ANC’ becomes ‘NEO’, and ‘ANC’ becomes ‘GAS’.

ANC – as it is still currently referred to throughout much of the digital asset realm until the rebrand to ‘GAS’ is completed – can be purchased on the western-facing digital asset exchange Bittrex. In the east, the asset can be found at exchanges Yunbi, Yuanbao, Jubi, and 19800.

Featured image from NEO company presentation

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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5 stars on average, based on 1 rated postsJustin O'Connell is the founder of financial technology focused CryptographicAsset.com. Justin organized the launch of the largest Bitcoin ATM hardware and software provider in the world at the historical Hotel del Coronado in southern California. His works appear in the U.S.'s third largest weekly, the San Diego Reader, VICE and elsewhere.




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11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. bitsurfer

    June 23, 2017 at 9:21 pm

    I don’t see ANC at Bittrex. Can you provide the direct link to the coin’s page on Bittrex?

    • bitsurfer

      June 23, 2017 at 9:22 pm

      Oh, and great article by the way. 🙂 Thanks for the analysis!

    • mvppvm_07

      June 24, 2017 at 2:18 am

      When you’ve logged in to Bittrex, go to their Bitcoin Markets link (upper left hand corner of the page). type in Antshares. Directly underneath it, you should see a light blue ‘ANS’ show up. click / go.

      • bitsurfer

        June 24, 2017 at 3:01 am

        I know about ANS, and certainly see it in Bittrex.. though the author also references a second coin, ANC, and says it is trading at Bittrex only, but I don’t see it.

        • RH2302

          June 24, 2017 at 10:45 am

          Same coin, different names.

          Like STR and XLM

          Both Stellar Lumen

          • Justin OConnell

            June 25, 2017 at 5:58 pm

            Hopefully this ‘ANS’/’ANC’ aspect gets taken care of with the rebrand, and as well with NEO’s advertising push into western markets. I used ‘ANC’ and ‘ANS’ interchangeably here because the official name is ‘ANC’ but it is traded as ‘ANS’ in the marketplace – an interesting phenomenon perhaps specific to crypto. I make note of this quickly at top of article.

  2. ezra

    June 23, 2017 at 9:26 pm

    Do you think it’s worth scooping up a few hundred usd worth for long term investments ? I’m super interested in this

    • mvppvm_07

      June 24, 2017 at 2:22 am

      Trust what you read. If you agree with the 7.5 out of 10 stated in the summary, you already have your answer from the author. If YOU think it’s worth a risk, and are willing to take the chance that a couple hundred USD might be lost if it doesn’t go well, you are ready to invest in crypto.

    • Justin OConnell

      June 25, 2017 at 6:00 pm

      It really depends on your personal situation, philosophy, etc. This rating is based mostly on the fact that NEO is working on technology used by the consortium known as Hyperledger (so, major players in the space), the lack of awareness in the west, and that the company has worked with Microsoft much like Ethereum in the west.

  3. magicnipples

    July 9, 2017 at 9:23 pm

    With such an article about Neo, i m curious to know why you don’t add it in your stock of picks or recommendations.

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Bitcoin

Is Bitcoin Truly Decentralized?

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The top buzzword you hear associated with bitcoin is “decentralization.” Everyone talks about the weaknesses of a centralized fiat currency and how a digital currency that runs on the blockchain can solve many of these problems.

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Bitcoin (and other cryptocurrencies) have gained a lot of steam over the last year, but nobody has stopped to ask the question, is bitcoin moving towards decentralization?

Exchanges and Gatekeepers

Right now, almost all of the top exchanges for cryptocurrencies are centralized. They have a few shareholders who hold the majority of control, and with this comes the ability to censor the flow of funds.

Decentralized exchanges are on their way, but all of the currency decentralized solutions only allow for crypto-to-crypto trading, which is limited in its use.

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Centralized exchanges also often manage the online storage of cryptocurrencies as well. The private keys stay in control of these exchanges, which is not only the exact same set up as leaving your money with a bank (and placing a large amount of trust in a single institution), but also creates a honeypot for potential hackers.

Maintaining custody of your private keys is something that is generally encouraged from a risk management perspective, but is also in line with the ethos behind bitcoin. Centralized exchanges retain a ton of data and have the power to censor the movement of funds.

Future regulation is still hazy for cryptocurrencies, and know-your-client laws require a certain amount of data to be stored by companies, but it is possible that these companies retain or sell this information in the future. The fact that your private key can be associated with you instantly takes away the anonymous aspect of cryptocurrency, which means you and your funds can be censored.

Mining in China

Examining this from a different angle, mining is an essential part of the governance and maintenance of the bitcoin network. The original idea was to have a widely distributed network that was so large that it was immune to any single entity that wished to dominate 51% of the currency and therefore control the fate of bitcoin.

However, this has not proven to be the case. There are an estimated 12,000 nodes currently in operation on the Bitcoin network, and they collectively have the power to vote on resolutions like SegWit 2x. As more nodes are added to the network, it has begun to trend towards a higher level of concentration in China. Now, have approximately 70% of the nodes controlled by entities within China.

Bitcoin doesn’t suffer from some of the same problems as other cryptocurrencies like Ripple, where the management is explicitly controlled by a single person, the CEO of the company. Satoshi Nakamoto designed and released bitcoin, then disappeared. The development team has the power to propose certain innovations, but it is far from an autocracy.

Many cryptocurrencies are set up in a way where a single player can steer the future with little oversight. This past form of governance is beginning to disappear and presents another reason why a democratic (and decentralized) solution like bitcoin has future potential.

The Bitcoin Ethos

Bitcoin’s promise is to deliver a digital currency that runs independently of any meddling top-down management, but right now this doesn’t seem to be the case.

Until the crypto ecosystem is run in a way that makes it possible to acquire, exchange, and store cryptocurrencies in a completely private manner, the innovations are negligible. Additionally, having a high proportion of the nodes in operation controlled by a country that doesn’t allow free access to the internet is another point against the decentralization of bitcoin.

None of this is to say bitcoin is going to fail or has no merit, but that “decentralization” isn’t a core trait it currently possesses. Certain changes are necessary to improve the robustness of the network, and it is highly possible they will be enough to maintain bitcoin’s dominance in the cryptocurrency world.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

 

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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Altcoins

DragonChain (DRGN): Release the Dragons

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DragonChain (DRGN) was originally developed at Disney in 2015-16 and was later released as open source. DragonChain ICO recently ended and the value has climbed considerably, even though it is still only listed on Etherdelta. The cryptocurrency allows companies to build on a server-less platform with built-in protection of data using popular languages such as Java, Python, Node, and C#.

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DragonChain is building relationships with companies to help them bring their product onto the blockchain. DragonChain is a sleeping giant in that it already worked through 20 or so use cases while in development to tweak the initial implementation of the platform. While some companies struggle to find use cases after they are done with their product, DragonChain has figured out a way to simplify the integration of real business applications onto the blockchain in a secure way.

Underserved industries are the initial target of the DragonChain platform, which includes Wine, Arts, Automotive, Legal and Digital Marketing. Some of these industries are lagging behind for lack of innovation and Dragonchain is bridging the gap. DragonChain is creating a turnkey platform for startups and mature companies to rapidly deploy applications on the blockchain. As one might appreciate, blockchain development can be incredibly complex, is hard to understand and sometimes uses archaic development languages for implementation. DragonChain allows companies to use programming languages they are already familiar with to take advantage of blockchain features.

The Benefits of DRGN:

  • Smart contract integration, which has recently only been available on the Ethereum network.
  • High scalability and faster speed to market, which reduces development costs.
  • Built-in security that is inherent to blockchains.

From an investor standpoint, DragonChain is already light years ahead of a lot of ICOs that are creating platforms. It has an incubator program that will fund startups that will help real-world companies get up and running on the DragonChain platform. Unlike Ethereum, which has mainly become an ICO launch pad, DragonChain is building a platform for existing businesses to be able to build on top of the blockchain. While Ethereum is mainly a platform that is there to build on, Dragonchain is a platform with support.

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The DRGN platform is focused on reaching companies just as much as they are building out the platform itself. This will accelerate platform adoption and business growth while increasing the value of DragonChain. Larger companies are approaching the blockchain with skepticism and reluctance. DragonChain can be the bridge that connects the two. It is very expensive to try and leverage blockchain technology in already existing companies. The DRGN platform attempts to solve this by putting businesses first based on past experience and offering restful interfaces, interoperability with other blockchains, ease of integration, a simplified architecture and more.

Dragons or DRGNs will be utilized by developers and organizations to interact with the DragonChain commercial platform’s products and services. Dragon tokens will also be used to support startups in the DragonFund Incubator providing early access to data and technology as well as first access to purchase tokens for use on the developed platforms.

The DragonChain ICO raised $21,358,506 USD. It has since grown to around three times that level and appears to be expanding more rapidly as time goes on. Once the DRGN token is listed on larger exchanges there will a lot great liquidity. DragonChain has a current value of approximately $60,000,000. This is low for a platform that is already so mature, was originally backed by Disney and has an incredibly capable development team.

Disclaimer: Analyst current invests in Dragonchain.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.5 stars on average, based on 28 rated postsKent Hamilton - ICO Analyst on Hacked and Founder of CryptoDayTrader.io - ICO Insider Info




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Bitcoin

Bitcoin’s Offensive Continues as Prices Breach $3,400

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Bitcoin’s value jumped to a new record on Tuesday, a clear indication that the bull market was back in vogue following a month of turmoil.

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$3,000 & Beyond

The virtual currency (BTC/USD) rose 2.4% to $3,468.00 in overnight trading, according to Bitstamp. Before the weekend, the BTC/USD had crossed the $3,000 mark only once.

At current prices, the market value for all bitcoins is more than $57 billion – the highest on record.

While post-fork exuberance shows no signs of fading, traders are reminded that bitcoin’s recent leg up has been accompanied by decreasing volume. In fact, a similar trend has been observed during every leg up from $1,800.

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Zooming out to the 1-day Bollinger Band, the market appears to be overbought. A historical analysis reveals that, more often than not, a puncturing of the Bollinger Band in either direction leads to a broad pullback in the market.

The daily RSI also adds credence to the view that the market is approaching overbought territory.

Bitcoin Cash Trading Well Below Its Peak

Bitcoin’s surge followed the creation of a spin-off digital currency – Bitcoin Cash (BCH) – last week. The newly minted coin spiked above $700.00 on Aug. 2 before a series of volatile moves dragged prices back toward $200.00.

BCH was back above $300 on Tuesday, having gained more than 27%. Its total market is valued at more than $5 billion.

Coinbase Caves to Investor Demand

U.S. cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has announced that it plans to support BCH as of January 2018. Initially, the exchange said it would not support the new coin, triggering outrage among users and a surge in withdrawals.

A contingency of Coinbase customers also threatened to sue the exchange for not supporting BCH, equating the decision to a brokerage withholding new shares from its investors.

“We are planning to have support for Bitcoin Cash by 1 January 2018, assuming no additional risks emerge during that time,” the leading exchange said on its blog.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.5 stars on average, based on 352 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he specializes in cryptocurrency, economics and the broader financial markets. Sam has nearly eight years of progressive experience as an analyst, writer and financial market commentator where he has contributed to the world's foremost newscasts.




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