After gaining 2,300% in six months and launching a string of eagerly anticipated ICOs, Neo would appear to be quite the success story. The token is currently trading for $150, after peaking at $193 earlier this month. But behind the scenes, everything isn’t as rosy as it seems; the Chinese blockchain faces persistent claims of over-centralization and rumors of US exchange delisting.
The Neo Kid on the Blockchain
If 2017’s crowdsales were all about Ethereum, 2018 is shaping up to be the year of Neo. The Asian smart contract platform has some way to go before it can match the transaction volume, market cap, or number of ICOs as Ethereum. But if hype is any arbiter of things to come, Neo is on course to own 2018. The biggest token generation events this month have all been on the Neo blockchain, with tokens selling out in record time.
The Key raised $22 million in minutes, and projects such as Aphelion – a Neo P2P DEX – and Deepbrain – an AI platform – have also reported record uptake. Others still to come include Zeepin, Narrative, and Apex, the latter boasting one of the largest crypto Telegram groups and guaranteed to hit its $25m cap. On the surface, everything is going smoothly, but beneath the waters the good ship Neo is sailing on, trouble may be brewing.
Who Controls Neo?Da Hongfei
Da Hongfei, Neo’s CEO, is a man of few words and even fewer tweets. Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao is loquacious, personable, and approachable; Hongfei, on the other hand, is an enigma. The entire Neo team aren’t known for their communicative skills, preferring to let their community do the talking. One reason for this may be the uncertain regulatory environment in China. Like other crypto companies that originated in the country, Neo is obliged to keep government officials onside, as it walks a delicate tightrope, balancing its goals with its legal obligations. The core team has since relocated, but Neo retains close ties with its country of origin.
One of the biggest concerns regarding Neo, and indeed many other cryptocurrency projects, is the level of centralization. Ethereum, despite its “strong leader” handicap, is at least decentralized in terms of the nodes that secure the network, as a recent study has shown. With the majority of Neo nodes controlled by the project’s inner circle, the blockchain is susceptible to interference, either directly or at the say-so of government officials. Its Github also only has one branch.