While it had a spirited beginning as Asia's answer to the smart contract juggernaut Ethereum, it has since started losing territory to rivals. This is, at least, in the context of where it was with its glory days of 2017, and its comparative ‘Annus Horibilis' of 2018.
It was during that year that NEO had gained the positive reputation as being a more efficient, dynamic and effective Ethereum challenger. Boasting a reputation of being faster, along with being capable of handling more transactions at a faster rate, it was hard to say how much its hype was inflated.
Flash forward from its heyday to now, however, and the statistics behind it are disappointing, with NEO's total market cap being slashed by $10 billion in a year. So the question in the aftermath of all this is simple – what in gods name happened?
A Matter of NEO and Co-Founder, Da Hongfei According to Erik Zhang
While the $10bn drop is something that may keep investors away [or crying], NEO's co-founder Erik Zhang doesn't seem too busted up about it.
“I don’t care about NEO’s price and market capitalization at all,”
Zhang argued, going on to talk about his colleague and more public personality – Da Hongfei. Zhang himself, along with being a co-founder, also served as one of its core developers, and went on to explain the quality that sets Hongfei apart from himself.
“Da had more exposure to the public whereas my contributions were more focused on the GitHub.”
One of the reasons for Zhang's lack of concern about the market cap fall comes from his own desire to see the community and practicality of NEO to improve. To Zhang, a game of chasing market value seems to be an exercise in futility if the underlying project doesn't live to the valuation and respective expectations.
The ‘Chinese-Ethereum' Misnomer
While NEO obtained an early reputation among users and reporters as a direct challenger to Ethereum, Zhang takes a thorough stance on this, arguing that it was never meant to be marketed or promoted to be placed next to Ethereum.
While this is no rebuke of Ethereum, which Eric Zhang holds in high regard, but the two are dissimilar, linked only by correlations drawn by journalists and some users.
While the project was launched in China, Zhang has always thought of it as a truly internationalized initiative; with developers across the globe working to implement and innovate on top of it.
NEO on Privacy and Digital Identity
Cybersecurity and digital attacks have shaken the foundations of a large number of business models, and blockchain is one of the areas seeking to capitalize on it. Zhang himself discussed the absolute necessity of bringing privacy controls and digital identification to the decentralized world.
NEOid is one of those very products that Zhang seeks to incorporate into the blockchain.
“NeoID is an important component which facilitates the development of digital identity.”
Zhang continued on to argue that no blockchain can afford, nor should any, disassociate themselves from the real world economy.
“What’s in NEO’s plan is to use blockchain to empower the real economy, and we firmly believe that NEO will build the future of smart economy.”
Cryptocurrency in the Future – Zhang's Perspective
Institutional interest in blockchain technology has clearly been extended to the field of finance, according to Zhang. But according to him, these same institutions will not be able to make a meaningful dent in the world of blockchain.
“I don’t think traditional financial institutions can make any real achievements in the blockchain field. Because in my opinion, the nature of the blockchain is to reduce the cost of trust transfer through decentralization.”