NEO is an open-source decentralized cryptocurrency based in China. The network it runs on offers simplified coding of smart contracts and launching of initial coin offerings (ICOs), and is often promoted as a next generation "smart economy" platform. The platform should allow developers to create smart contracts and build decentralized applications (dapps) on it, similar to its competitor Ethereum.
The project was founded by Da Hongfei in 2014 under the name of “AntShares” which was changed to “NEO” three years later. Da Hongfei is widely regarded as one of the main figures in the crypto world, particularly for his promotion of this technology in China.
NEO platform supports a range of popular programming languages such as C++, Python or Java. The network uses two different tokens: NEO and GAS. NEO coins cannot be divided (to 0.5 NEO for example) - a behavior that resembles a company’s stocks. At the same time, the use of the NEO network and transaction fees related to dapps are paid for with the GAS tokens which one receives for holding NEO. GAS can be said to serve a similar purpose as the Ethereum’s ether, with the addition that NEO platform gave its GAS the status of a real token.