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NEO vs Ethereum

Two smart coins side by side.

NEO has often been called the Ethereum of China. Ethereum has often been called… Ethereum.

NEO has been hailed by many as a direct competitor to Ethereum (ETH), but there’s much more to the story than that. We’ve brought them together for you to compare side-by-side and learn the difference between these two blockchain innovators.

Learn more Where to buy NEO & ETH

Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of cryptocurrency or any specific provider, service or offering. It is not a recommendation to trade. Cryptocurrencies are speculative, complex and involve significant risks – they are highly volatile and sensitive to secondary activity. Performance is unpredictable and past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before relying on this information. You should also verify the nature of any product or service (including its legal status and relevant regulatory requirements) and consult the relevant Regulators' websites before making any decision. Finder, or the author, may have holdings in the cryptocurrencies discussed.

A side-by-side overview

A simple way of understanding the differences is to think of Ethereum as the predecessor, and NEO as a system that was based on Ethereum, built with a focus on economic adoption and regulatory compliance. This table provides an overview of the notable differences between the two coins.

NEOETH
Supply limit100 million, inflation as 50 million developer tokens are released over time.Unlimited, minor capped inflation each year.
MiningProof of stake.Proof of work to transition into proof of stake.
DividendsDividends are transactions fees paid out in GAS, divided among NEO owners.None. Casper update to introduce proof of stake dividends for node operators.
Distinguishing featuresEasily programmable smart contracts, digitization of physical assets, verifiable digital identities.Pioneered smart contracts and dapps, unique programming language (Solidity), over 538 tokens hosted on its network*.
ApplicationsDigitization of physical assets, anything that needs smart contracts, creation and hosting of dapps**, create digital identities, token economy.Anything that needs smart contracts, dapps**, token economy.

* At the time of writing 19/04/2018
** While NEO has some features as part of its core product that Ethereum does not, through the use of dapps the Ethereum network can provide the same functions as if a relevant dapp was developed.

Live prices: NEO vs Ethereum

NEO

Ethereum


Ethereum and NEO smart contracts

Both systems offer similarly unlimited smart contract systems. The main difference is that NEO smart contracts are much easier to create and use.

NEO is designed to let smart contracts work with popular existing programming languages, while Ethereum smart contracts require a reportedly finicky programming language called Solidity.

This means almost any company can use its current developers to create NEO smart contracts fairly easily, while Ethereum requires developers that know how to use the Solidity language.

Smart Contracts

These are foolproof, theoretically 100% reliable automated contracts. Escrow smart contracts, for example, have become popular.

These can let two parties put their funds into one smart contract controlled account, then it will automatically distribute the assets appropriately when the smart contract signals it’s ready to go.

Before smart contracts, this required the services of a third party, which usually came at an extra cost and carried the risk of having to entrust that third party with all of the money.

The reason smart contracts are theoretically 100% reliable is that blockchain technology is decentralized, and the escrow program’s code is open source. Decentralization keeps it entirely tamper-proof, while open source code lets anyone check to make sure it’s going to work exactly as it should.

This is just one potential application of smart contracts. They can be used to securely automate almost anything in complex ways.


Where to buy Ether and NEO

Name Product Deposit methods Fiat Currencies Cryptocurrencies
Bitbuy Digital Currency Exchange
Cryptocurrency, Interac e-Transfer, Wire transfer
CAD

9
cryptocurrencies

Get a $20 bonus when you open an account and deposit at least CAD$250. T&Cs apply.
At this Canada-based cryptocurrency exchange, you can fund your account in CAD via Interac eTransfer and bank wire.
Netcoins Exchange
Netcoins Exchange
Cryptocurrency, Interac e-Transfer, Bank Wire, Online Bill Payments
CAD

7
cryptocurrencies

Buy Bitcoin and 5 other cryptocurrencies instantly using this straightforward broker.
NDAX Cryptocurrency Exchange
Bank transfer (ACH)
CAD

10
cryptocurrencies

Get a $10 bonus when you open an account and deposit at least CAD$100. T&Cs apply.
NDAX is a Canada-based digital asset exchange with CAD currency pairs and with options for advanced traders.
CoinSmart Cryptocurrency Exchange
Credit card, Debit card, Interac e-Transfer, Bank Wire, Bank Draft
CAD

10
cryptocurrencies

Get a $20 bonus in BTC when you open an account and deposit at least CAD$100. T&Cs apply.
Buy and sell cryptocurrency quickly and easily, with instant verification and 24/7 customer support, on this Canadian exchange.
Gate.io Cryptocurrency Exchange
Cryptocurrency
USD, EUR, GBP, HKD, SGD, AUD, CHF, MXN

299
cryptocurrencies

Finder exclusive: New users get $90 worth of Gate.IO points and an airdrop of $5 in random tokens if trade volume exceeds $100 in their first week. T&Cs apply.
A feature-rich exchange with over 700 tokens including derivatives, yield farming and lending products.
Coinberry Cryptocurrency Exchange
Credit card, Debit card, Interac e-Transfer, Wire transfer
CAD

6
cryptocurrencies

Get a $20 bonus when you buy or sell at least CAD$50 in digital currency. T&Cs apply.
Buy and sell cryptocurrency with Canadian dollars on this beginner-friendly Canadian exchange.
Crypto.com App
Credit card, Cryptocurrency, PayPal, TransferWise, SEPA
USD, AUD, CAD, CHF, EUR, GBP, NZD, SGD, JPY, ZAR & 9+ more

153
cryptocurrencies

Buy 100+ cryptocurrencies, earn up to 14.5% p.a. on holdings, pay with your crypto for cashback at stores, get loans and more with this complete crypto-finance platform.
Wealthsimple Cryptocurrency Exchange
Bank transfer (EFT)
CAD

25
cryptocurrencies

Get a $50 cash bonus and commission-free trades when you open a Wealthsimple Trade or Crypto account and deposit and trade at least $150. Sign-up today to take advantage of this offer!
Buy and sell a range of cryptocurrencies instantly with no deposit or withdrawal fees.
Binance Cryptocurrency Exchange
Bank transfer (ACH)
USD, AUD, GBP, EUR, RUB, TRY, NGN, UAH, PHP, CZK & 20+ more

313
cryptocurrencies

Promo: New users earn up to USD 100 in bonus rewards on qualified deposits and trades. Valid till 31 December 2021. T&Cs apply.
Trade an extensive range of reputable coins on this world-renowned exchange, popular for its high liquidity and multi-language support.

US residents: As of September 2019, US-based users can only trade USD on the American dollar onramp of Binance, Binance.US.
UK residents: In addition to normal crypto trading services, Binance offers margin lending. As this is a regulated activity which they are not authorised to offer in the UK, we advise you not to use this service. If you're interested in margin trading, see authorised providers.
CA residents: Binance is not available for Ontario-based users.
FTX Cryptocurrency Exchange
FTX Cryptocurrency Exchange
Credit card, Wire transfer, Silvergate Exchange Network (SEN), Signature SIGNET
USD,EUR,GBP,AUD,HKD,SGD,TRY,ZAR,CAD,CHF,BRL

69
cryptocurrencies

FTX is an exchange built by traders for traders, with a range of derivatives markets such as options and futures with deep leverage, in addition to standard spot markets. Note: Not available for US customers.
Gemini Cryptocurrency Exchange
Bank transfer (ACH)
USD, AUD, CAD, EUR, GBP, SGD, HKD

48
cryptocurrencies

Trade bitcoin, Ethereum and more at a US-based exchange where payments can be made in USD.
KuCoin Cryptocurrency Exchange
Cryptocurrency, PayPal, Wire transfer, Credit or Debit Card, SEPA
USD, EUR, GBP, RUB, CNY, AUD, KRW, JPY, TRY, VND & 40+ more

434
cryptocurrencies

Finder exclusive: Sign up and use code 1xf56 for one month of VIP 1 benefits. Deposit/transfer more than 0.1 BTC to KuCoin within 7 days of registration for 1 month of VIP 2 benefits. T&Cs apply.
Browse a variety of coin offerings in one of the largest multi-cryptocurrency exchanges and pay in cryptocurrency.
Coinbase Digital Currency Exchange
Bank transfer (ACH)
USD, EUR, GBP, CAD, MXN, HRK, CZK, DKK, CLP, BGN & 10+ more

73
cryptocurrencies

Buy and sell major cryptocurrencies on one of the world's most renowned cryptocurrency exchanges.
OKEx Cryptocurrency Exchange
Bank transfer, Cryptocurrency, iDEAL, PayPal, POLi, SEPA, Faster Payments (FPS)
USD, CNY, EUR, ARS, AUD, BGN, BRL, CAD, CHF, COP & 20+ more

271
cryptocurrencies

Promo: Earn US$10 in BTC when you refer a friend and they purchase $100 of cryptocurrency. T&Cs apply.
Listing over 100 cryptocurrencies, OKEx offers its users a variety of payment methods and coins to choose from.
Coinsquare Cryptocurrency Exchange
Interac e-Transfer, Wire transfer, Wealth Wire, Rushed Wire, Direct Bank Deposit
CAD, USD, EUR, GBP, CHF

10
cryptocurrencies

Finder exclusive: Get a $10 bonus when you deposit at least CAD$100. T&Cs apply.
Trade some of the most popular cryptocurrencies with competitive fees on this intuitively designed Canadian exchange.
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Learn more about how to buy Ether.

Name Product Deposit methods Fiat Currencies Cryptocurrencies
CoinSmart Cryptocurrency Exchange
Credit card, Debit card, Interac e-Transfer, Bank Wire, Bank Draft
CAD

10
cryptocurrencies

Get a $20 bonus in BTC when you open an account and deposit at least CAD$100. T&Cs apply.
Buy and sell cryptocurrency quickly and easily, with instant verification and 24/7 customer support, on this Canadian exchange.
Gate.io Cryptocurrency Exchange
Cryptocurrency
USD, EUR, GBP, HKD, SGD, AUD, CHF, MXN

299
cryptocurrencies

Finder exclusive: New users get $90 worth of Gate.IO points and an airdrop of $5 in random tokens if trade volume exceeds $100 in their first week. T&Cs apply.
A feature-rich exchange with over 700 tokens including derivatives, yield farming and lending products.
Crypto.com App
Credit card, Cryptocurrency, PayPal, TransferWise, SEPA
USD, AUD, CAD, CHF, EUR, GBP, NZD, SGD, JPY, ZAR & 9+ more

153
cryptocurrencies

Buy 100+ cryptocurrencies, earn up to 14.5% p.a. on holdings, pay with your crypto for cashback at stores, get loans and more with this complete crypto-finance platform.
Binance Cryptocurrency Exchange
Bank transfer (ACH)
USD, AUD, GBP, EUR, RUB, TRY, NGN, UAH, PHP, CZK & 20+ more

313
cryptocurrencies

Promo: New users earn up to USD 100 in bonus rewards on qualified deposits and trades. Valid till 31 December 2021. T&Cs apply.
Trade an extensive range of reputable coins on this world-renowned exchange, popular for its high liquidity and multi-language support.

US residents: As of September 2019, US-based users can only trade USD on the American dollar onramp of Binance, Binance.US.
UK residents: In addition to normal crypto trading services, Binance offers margin lending. As this is a regulated activity which they are not authorised to offer in the UK, we advise you not to use this service. If you're interested in margin trading, see authorised providers.
CA residents: Binance is not available for Ontario-based users.
KuCoin Cryptocurrency Exchange
Cryptocurrency, PayPal, Wire transfer, Credit or Debit Card, SEPA
USD, EUR, GBP, RUB, CNY, AUD, KRW, JPY, TRY, VND & 40+ more

434
cryptocurrencies

Finder exclusive: Sign up and use code 1xf56 for one month of VIP 1 benefits. Deposit/transfer more than 0.1 BTC to KuCoin within 7 days of registration for 1 month of VIP 2 benefits. T&Cs apply.
Browse a variety of coin offerings in one of the largest multi-cryptocurrency exchanges and pay in cryptocurrency.
OKEx Cryptocurrency Exchange
Bank transfer, Cryptocurrency, iDEAL, PayPal, POLi, SEPA, Faster Payments (FPS)
USD, CNY, EUR, ARS, AUD, BGN, BRL, CAD, CHF, COP & 20+ more

271
cryptocurrencies

Promo: Earn US$10 in BTC when you refer a friend and they purchase $100 of cryptocurrency. T&Cs apply.
Listing over 100 cryptocurrencies, OKEx offers its users a variety of payment methods and coins to choose from.
Bittrex Global
Bank transfer, Credit card, Cryptocurrency, Debit card
USD

280
cryptocurrencies

Buy from one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges with a selection of over 190+ cryptocurrencies and 3 USD pairings.
Bitfinex Professional Trading Exchange
Credit card, Cryptocurrency, Bank Wire
USD, EUR, GBP, JPY

168
cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrencies are a highly volatile investment product. Your capital is at risk.
Spot trade all of the major cryptos on this full-featured exchange and margin trading platform.
CEX.IO Cryptocurrency Exchange
Bank transfer, Credit card, Cryptocurrency, SWIFT, SEPA, Faster Payments (FPS)
USD, EUR, GBP, RUB

22
cryptocurrencies

Disclaimer: Highly volatile investment product. Your capital is at risk.
Use your USD, EUR or RUB to buy and sell cryptocurrency at competitive exchange rates and with high maximums for verified accounts.
Huobi Cryptocurrency Exchange
AdvCash, Cryptocurrency, SWIFT, Wire transfer
GBP, USD, AUD, EUR, INR, BRL, KHR, CAD,CNY, NZD & 15+ more

228
cryptocurrencies

Huobi is a digital currency exchange that allows its users to trade more than 190 cryptocurrency pairs.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Learn more about how to buy NEO.


NEO’s advantages

One of NEO’s main advantages, and why it’s often referred to as an “Ethereum killer” is its smarter smart contracts. Programming Ethereum smart contracts requires some fairly specialized knowledge of the Solidity programming language. However, NEO was designed to use common existing programming languages instead, meaning it’s a lot easier to use “out of the box.”

It also has a built-in proof of stake system, of the kind that Ethereum is more gradually migrating towards. Proof of work mechanisms such as those used by Ethereum are relatively inefficient. They consume a lot of energy and computing power compared to others.

Ethereum is planning on moving to a proof of stake system, but NEO was designed to come with proof of stake right from the start, potentially giving it cheaper and quicker transactions before Ethereum. Unlike Ethereum, the simple process of transferring coins between accounts is free on the NEO network.

NEO might also benefit from its focused use cases and design that lends it to specific applications. One of the primary ones is its ability to digitize physical assets. Essentially, it can let people verify specific real world assets, like a car, fiat currency or anything else, on the NEO blockchain. This goes a long way towards tying the blockchain and the real world together.

In the long run, it might also benefit from possibly being quantum proof. NEO’s whitepaper includes a proposal for an “Anti-quantum cryptography mechanism” called NeoQS, which might eventually be implemented into the NEO architecture. While it’s not an essential feature today, it could become essential a few years from now when quantum computing becomes more common.

Ethereum’s advantages

Ethereum’s main advantage over NEO comes from proper decentralization. At the time of writing, the Ethereum mainnet was hosted across 16,141 nodes. NEO however, is concentrated to just a few nodes, most of which are run by the NEO council, prompting many to call the system centralized as it exists in its current state.

It’s hosted the creation of countless other cryptocurrencies and has found itself close to the heart of blockchain technology. At the time of writing, of the top 100 tokens according to CoinMarketCap, 91 of them are hosted on the Ethereum blockchain.

It’s also loaded with side-chains, cross-chains and various third-party solutions, such as 0x. The ongoing development of these means there’s no real reason Ethereum can’t work towards all of the same benefits offered by NEO.


NEO vs Ethereum dividends

One of the most distinctive economic differences is that the NEO network is divided into two different tokens, NEO and GAS.

Ethereum, meanwhile, just uses ETH as its gas.

NEO pays dividends

One of the main factors behind NEO’s high prices is that it can pay out considerable dividends to large token holders. GAS paid as transaction fees is proportionally distributed among NEO token holders, and with growing use (and a relatively high GAS price) the earnings can add up.

To make it easier, several prominent exchanges will even distribute GAS to the rightful NEO owners when the coins are being held on their exchange.

Binance, KuCoin and CoinSpot, for example, all do this, at the time of writing.

It may also have the indirect effect of keeping NEO a bit more widely available and helping it circulate more.

ETH’s version of dividends

Ethereum will also pay dividends. Sort of.

It’s migrating to a proof of stake mining system with the Casper update, which means stakers can earn dividends in ETH by locking it up and staking it in a node.

Unlike NEO, you’ll initially need a considerable amount of ETH to stake if you’re to start earning dividends. Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin has proposed around 1,000 ETH as the barrier to entry, to be lowered over time, although this figure is subject to change.

Unless you’re an ETH millionaire who’s looking forward to staking, the Casper update is a lot more significant for the scaling it will bring to the network, and how it will be dropping the transaction fees and times.

While NEO dividends are much easier to earn, you’ll still need to make a considerable down-payment on the coins themselves to start earning a worthwhile income. The same is true of ETH.


Before you buy: things to consider

NEO and Ethereum, and other smart-contract-oriented cryptocurrencies like Cardano, are loaded with similarities, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re mutually exclusive.

There may be a tendency to overestimate the effects of competition in the cryptocurrency space, and you can easily find plenty of pundits confidently stating that NEO will destroy ETH, or vice versa.

Despite any aggressive marketing moves, it’s impossible to predict the outcome either way.

If you’re considering buying either, keep in mind that cryptocurrency is volatile, unpredictable and speculative by nature, so remember to do your own research and make sure you’re aware of all of the risks before you dive in.


Images: Shutterstock

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