Today, Team CryptoNewsZ is in an engaging conversation with John Wang, the Head of Neo Ecosystem Growth and Managing Director of Neo Ecofund
John is a graduate of Monash University in Australia. Before joining Neo, John built up many years of expertise in strategic management consulting, including during his work for Accenture. He played a role in numerous successful entrepreneurial experiences.
John joined Neo in 2017. He now serves as the head of Neo Ecosystem Growth and the Managing Director of Neo Eco fund. He holds responsibility for Neo global ecosystem development and investment across multiple regions and continents. In this role, John has led his team to invest in more than 100 Neo ecosystem projects and has provided a full spectrum of strategic and branding support for core projects in this ecosystem.
Neo stands out from the crowd: Neo is an open-source, community-driven blockchain platform established in 2014. It is the most feature-complete blockchain platform for building decentralized applications. Neo enables developers to digitize and automate the management of assets through smart contracts. It also provides robust native infrastructures such as decentralized storage, oracles, and domain name service, creating a solid foundation for the Next-Gen Internet.
CryptoNewsZ: Thanks for giving us the opportunity for an interview, John! We know that Neo is currently running the Polaris Launchpad – do you want to tell us a bit about the event?
John Wang: Sure, thanks for having me! The Polaris Launchpad is the second event of its kind, and its primary purpose is to seed new projects in the Neo ecosystem. The launchpad offers generous prizes and a path to further funding and incubation. At a high level, there is $500,000 worth of prizes available, split over multiple tracks. These include DeFi, NFT & Metaverse, Infrastructure, DAO, and General.
The Launchpad is split into three phases: Planathan, Hackathon, and Polaris Plus. Participants can choose to participate in the Planathon, where they will submit project ideas for review and feedback by Neo Global Development. The best plans will win multipliers that will increase any awards won during the Hackathon by upto 1.5x. The Hackathon phase is pretty self-explanatory – this is where you build and submit your projects for prizes. The Grand Prize for each category is $35,000, and 15 Excellence awards of $8,000 are also available.
Finally, we have the Polaris Plus phase. The community can vote for their favorite projects using GAS, and Neo will match the funding through quadratic formulas to a minimum of $57,000.
We are also hosting a range of panel discussions and technical workshops to help participants learn about Neo and its capabilities. We have a very active, knowledgeable, and friendly developer community too, so everyone is invited to join our Discord and ask questions. The event is currently live, and the hackathon phase closes on May 9th, so there is still plenty of time to get involved. You can learn more at polaris.neo.org.
CryptoNewsZ: That sounds like a fantastic event! Why should developers consider building on Neo over other public smart contract blockchains?
JW: Almost unanimously, everyone who starts developing on Neo N3 says they can’t believe how easy it is to build on. We have spent considerable time and resources making Neo the most developer-friendly blockchain platform. There is so much to say about this, but I’ll try and keep it as short as possible.
Firstly, Neo N3 has some of the most powerful native features you’ll find on any blockchain platform, including decentralized storage and oracles. Having this functionality right out of the box is huge for developers who otherwise would need to integrate several services or platforms to gain access to the same types of features.
Secondly, Neo supports smart contract development in multiple languages, such as C#, Python, Java, and Go. We’re really trying to meet developers where they are. In addition, we have a team of ex-Microsoft alumni working around the clock on the Neo Blockchain Toolkit for VS Code, which includes incredible features that you’d usually only see in traditional software development, making it really easy to set up an environment, deploy contracts to PrivateNet, and debug your application.
Thirdly, and this is often overlooked, Neo has single block finality. If you’re building a financial application for the real world, you can’t be waiting for transactions to be final or risk having them reversed. Neo pioneered the dBFT consensus protocol and has since upgraded to dBFT 2.0. Every transaction is finalized on Neo within 15 seconds. Real business shouldn’t settle for anything less.
CryptoNewsZ: One of the criticisms against Neo in the past is a centralized project. Your comments?
JW: Neo is not a centralized project, but let me explain where the confusion arises.
The previous version of the Neo blockchain, Neo Legacy, did have the majority of its nodes operated by the Neo Foundation, and this was by design. Decentralization brings so many wonderful benefits, but it is often at the expense of efficiency. We had big technological goals, and to achieve them, we needed to migrate to an entirely new blockchain – Neo N3. It would have been challenging to do that in a timely and organized manner if we fully decentralized while still on Legacy.
So in this way, the Neo Foundation acted as a guardian shepherding the project to a safe migration (the biggest migration in blockchain history). Once Neo N3 launched, we started the decentralization process.
There are 21 nodes on Neo N3 that make up the Neo Council. These nodes are elected by NEO token holders and are responsible for governing the blockchain. They can do things like adjust fees and elect oracle or NeoFS inner ring nodes. The top seven also operate as consensus nodes. Of these 21 Council members, only eight are operated by the Neo Foundation or Neo Global Development – The rest are operated by individual groups. The amount of Neo-held council spots will also be reduced as more groups are elected from the community.
From a development perspective, Neo is open source and has developers from all over the world contributing to its codebase and tooling. We even have multiple language versions of our nodes, so we’re not even reliant on any single implementation. The idea that Neo is centralized is just not true.
CryptoNewsZ: Apart from aiding decentralization, are there any benefits to NEO holders who vote for a Neo Council member? Do they have to stake or lock their tokens?
JW: You do not have to stake or lock any tokens to vote on Neo, and you will receive a passive distribution of GAS tokens.
Another great thing about Neo that token holders love is its dual token model. We have NEO, the governance token, and GAS, the utility token.
NEO is used to vote, and some may consider NEO token holders the ‘owners’ of the blockchain. As a NEO token holder, you are entitled to GAS, which is distributed to all NEO holders every block.
You can use GAS to pay for transaction fees and other things on the blockchain. So, unlike single token blockchains, you’re not reducing your “stake in the project,” so to speak, every time you use it because you’re constantly having your GAS topped up.
If you choose to vote and successfully vote for one of the 21 Neo Council members, your GAS earnings increase substantially. How much depends on how many other people are voting for each individual candidate. You can learn more about the GAS distribution model at neo.org/gov.
CryptoNewsZ: How can our readers get involved with Neo?
That depends on how they want to get involved! If they are a regular blockchain enthusiast, they could join our social channels, such as Discord or Reddit, to keep up with the project.
There are also lots of new ecosystem projects popping up that they could participate in, from DeFi projects like Flamingo Finance to upcoming games like TOTHEMOON, NFT marketplaces like GhostMarket, and meme tokens like NUDES (it’s not what you think!), or other exciting ecosystem initiatives like PROPS.
Of course, if they are a developer, we will encourage them to join the Polaris Launchpad. Aside from that, we also have a whole range of grant tracks available for infrastructure, research, core development, and more, including our $100m EcoBoost initiative that is designed to help incubate projects.
We’re a pretty welcoming group at Neo, so if you want to join us, I’m sure we’ll make you feel at home!
CryptoNewsZ: Thanks for your time and giving our readers an insight into your exciting project! We wish you luck for the future.