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NEO vs Ethereum

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Two smart coins side by side.

NEO has often been called the Ethereum of China. And 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, digitisation of physical assets, verifiable digital identities.Pioneered smart contracts and dapps, unique programming language (Solidity), over 538 tokens hosted on its network*.
ApplicationsDigitisation 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 Ethereum does not as part of its core product, 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 the money.

The reason smart contracts are theoretically 100% reliable is that blockchain technology is decentralised, and the escrow program’s code is open source. Decentralisation 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
Binance Cryptocurrency Exchange
Credit card
Cryptocurrency
Debit card
Bank transfer (via third party)
USD, GBP, CAD, EUR, CNY, RUB, TRY, NGN, UAH, KZT & 23+ more

202
cryptocurrencies

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.
eToro Cryptocurrency Trading & CFDs
Credit card
Debit card
Neteller
PayPal
Wire transfer
Online banking
EUR, GBP, NZD, USD, AUD, CAD, HKD, SGD, CHF, NOK & 5+ more

16
cryptocurrencies

Disclaimer: Volatile investment product. 75% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
Copy the trades of leading cryptocurrency investors on this unique social investment platform.
Coinmama Cryptocurrency Marketplace
Credit card
Bank transfer (SEPA)
SOFORT
SWIFT
Fedwire
USD, EUR, AUD, CAD, GBP, JPY

10
cryptocurrencies

Founded in 2013, CoinMama lets you buy and sell popular cryptos with a range of payment options and quick delivery.
BitMEX Cryptocurrency Derivatives Trading Platform
Cryptocurrency

6
cryptocurrencies

Disclaimer: Highly volatile investment product. Your capital is at risk.
Trade cryptocurrency derivatives with high liquidity for bitcoin spot and futures, and up to 100x leverage on margin trading.
Paybis Cryptocurrency Exchange
AdvCash
Credit card
Debit card
Neteller
Payeer
USD, EUR, GBP, CAD, JPY

9
cryptocurrencies

Buy Bitcoin and other popular cryptocurrencies with credit card or debit card on this digital cryptocurrency exchange.

US residents: Restricted in the following states - NY, CT, NM, WA, HI, AL, VT, FL, AK, NV.
CoinSwitch Cryptocurrency Exchange
Credit card
Cryptocurrency
USD, JPY, RUB, EUR

387
cryptocurrencies

CoinSwitch allows you to compare and convert over 250 cryptocurrencies across all exchanges.
Bitfinex Professional Trading Exchange
Cryptocurrency
USD, EUR, GBP, JPY

165
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 (ACH)
Credit card
Bank transfer (SEPA)
Faster Payments Service
Skrill
USD, EUR, GBP, RUB

23
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.
Indacoin Cryptocurrency Exchange
Indacoin Cryptocurrency Exchange
Credit card
Debit card
USD, EUR, RUB

158
cryptocurrencies

Use your credit or debit card to buy bitcoin and other cryptocurrency without having to verify your identity.
Changelly Crypto-to-Crypto Exchange
Credit card
Debit card
USD, EUR, GBP, AUD, CAD, CHF, HKD, JPY, PHP, ZAR & 30+ more

146
cryptocurrencies

Access competitive crypto-to-crypto exchange rates for 150+ cryptocurrencies on this global exchange.
OKEx Cryptocurrency Exchange
OKEx Cryptocurrency Exchange
Bank transfer
Cryptocurrency
WeChat
USD, CNY, EUR, ARS, AUD, BGN, BRL, CAD, CHF, COP & 20+ more

269
cryptocurrencies

Listing over 100 cryptocurrencies, OKEx offers its users a variety of payment methods and coins to choose from.
Huobi Cryptocurrency Exchange
Huobi Cryptocurrency Exchange
Cryptocurrency
GBP, USD, AUD, EUR, INR, BRL, KHR, CAD,CNY, NZD & 15+MORE

234
cryptocurrencies

Huobi is a digital currency exchange that allows its users to trade more than 190 cryptocurrency pairs.
Bithumb Cryptocurrency Exchange
Bithumb Cryptocurrency Exchange
Cryptocurrency
Wire transfer
KRW

103
cryptocurrencies

A global platform where users can make KRW and cryptocurrency deposits to purchase up to 15 popular cryptocurrencies.
Kraken Cryptocurrency Exchange
Electronic Funds Transfer
Wire transfer
Osko
PayID
Ethana Custody
USD, EUR, GBP, JPY, CAD, CHF, AUD

34
cryptocurrencies

Buy, sell and trade a range of digital currencies on this high-liquidity exchange – suitable for beginners right through to advanced traders.

UK residents: In addition to normal crypto trading, Kraken 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.
Bittrex Digital Currency Exchange
Bittrex Digital Currency Exchange
Cryptocurrency
Wire transfer
USD

278
cryptocurrencies

Buy from one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges with a selection of over 190+ cryptocurrencies and 3 USD pairings.
loading

Compare up to 4 providers

Learn more about how to buy Ether.

Name Product Deposit methods Fiat Currencies Cryptocurrencies
Binance Cryptocurrency Exchange
Credit card
Cryptocurrency
Debit card
Bank transfer (via third party)
USD, GBP, CAD, EUR, CNY, RUB, TRY, NGN, UAH, KZT & 23+ more

202
cryptocurrencies

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.
eToro Cryptocurrency Trading & CFDs
Credit card
Debit card
Neteller
PayPal
Wire transfer
Online banking
EUR, GBP, NZD, USD, AUD, CAD, HKD, SGD, CHF, NOK & 5+ more

16
cryptocurrencies

Disclaimer: Volatile investment product. 75% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
Copy the trades of leading cryptocurrency investors on this unique social investment platform.
CEX.IO Cryptocurrency Exchange
Bank transfer (ACH)
Credit card
Bank transfer (SEPA)
Faster Payments Service
Skrill
USD, EUR, GBP, RUB

23
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.
StormGain Cryptocurrency Exchange
Cryptocurrency
USD, EUR, AUD, CHF, CZK, DKK, GBP, HUF & 5+ more

23
cryptocurrencies

Stormgain aims to make cryptocurrency trading easy, and also lets you buy crypto with fiat via Simplex.

UK residents: In addition to normal crypto trading, Stormgain 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.
Paybis Cryptocurrency Exchange
AdvCash
Credit card
Debit card
Neteller
Payeer
USD, EUR, GBP, CAD, JPY

9
cryptocurrencies

Buy Bitcoin and other popular cryptocurrencies with credit card or debit card on this digital cryptocurrency exchange.

US residents: Restricted in the following states - NY, CT, NM, WA, HI, AL, VT, FL, AK, NV.
CoinSwitch Cryptocurrency Exchange
Credit card
Cryptocurrency
USD, JPY, RUB, EUR

387
cryptocurrencies

CoinSwitch allows you to compare and convert over 250 cryptocurrencies across all exchanges.
KuCoin Cryptocurrency Exchange
Credit card
Cryptocurrency
Debit card
USD, EUR, GBP, RUB, CNY, AUD, KRW, JPY, TRY, VND & 40+ more

210
cryptocurrencies

Browse a variety of coin offerings in one of the largest multi-cryptocurrency exchanges and pay in cryptocurrency.
Bitfinex Professional Trading Exchange
Cryptocurrency
USD, EUR, GBP, JPY

165
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.
Bibox Cryptocurrency Exchange
Cryptocurrency
EUR, GBP

111
cryptocurrencies

Trade crypto to crypto with a choice of over 100 currencies on this global exchange based in China.
Indacoin Cryptocurrency Exchange
Indacoin Cryptocurrency Exchange
Credit card
Debit card
USD, EUR, RUB

158
cryptocurrencies

Use your credit or debit card to buy bitcoin and other cryptocurrency without having to verify your identity.
OKEx Cryptocurrency Exchange
OKEx Cryptocurrency Exchange
Bank transfer
Cryptocurrency
WeChat
USD, CNY, EUR, ARS, AUD, BGN, BRL, CAD, CHF, COP & 20+ more

269
cryptocurrencies

Listing over 100 cryptocurrencies, OKEx offers its users a variety of payment methods and coins to choose from.
Huobi Cryptocurrency Exchange
Huobi Cryptocurrency Exchange
Cryptocurrency
GBP, USD, AUD, EUR, INR, BRL, KHR, CAD,CNY, NZD & 15+MORE

234
cryptocurrencies

Huobi is a digital currency exchange that allows its users to trade more than 190 cryptocurrency pairs.
Bittrex Digital Currency Exchange
Bittrex Digital Currency Exchange
Cryptocurrency
Wire transfer
USD

278
cryptocurrencies

Buy from one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges with a selection of over 190+ cryptocurrencies and 3 USD pairings.
Liquid Cryptocurrency Exchange & Margin Trading
Liquid Cryptocurrency Exchange & Margin Trading
Credit card
Cryptocurrency
Debit card
Bank transfer (SEPA)
Swapforex
AUD, EUR, JPY, USD, SGD, PHP, HKD

132
cryptocurrencies

Disclaimer: Highly volatile investment product. Your capital is at risk.
Liquid is a unified, globally-sourced trading platform that bridges the worlds of fiat and crypto.
loading

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 specialised knowledge of the Solidity programming language. But 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 digitise 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 decentralisation. 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 centralised 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.

Gas and GAS

This is the fuel for smart contracts. It’s essentially a transaction fee for using dapps and conducting other actions on the networks.

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.

But 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 across all of the risks before you dive in.


Images: Shutterstock

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