What was Antshares?
NEO is a cryptocurrency that has been mostly developed in China, and is rumoured to one day sit alongside Ethereum as a leading cryptocurrency. It is commonly known as “China’s Ethereum”, though this is unsurprisingly a big simplification.
Unsure on the importance of Ethereum what it is? See our easy to follow guide here.
What is NEO?
Originally called Antshares, a re-brand was launched in July / August 2017 and it became NEO – name chosen due to its high relation to being “the chosen one” (maybe not), or more likely, that it means “youth” or “new” in Greek.
ANS became NEO, and the rebranding should be followed by improved UI and generally a better experience for everyone involved. These things take time though so it’s interested to see where it’s going.
At the rebrand announcement they covered some fairly major news:
- NEO is to partner with China certificate authorities
- Patent granted for cross-chain distribution
- Partnerships with Bancor, Coindash, Nest Fund and more.
- NEO to use Smart Contracts 2.0
While mostly focused on the Chinese market, some Western companies such as Microsoft have vocalised support for the project.
NEO (Antshares) Vs Ethereum
They both share the same role of wanting to enable the building of decentralised applications (Dapps) on blockchain technology. Decentralised applications use smart contracts to automate tasks such as sending money.
The difference and advantage NEO has, is that it allows languages such as C#, Java and Python – well established existing programming languages. In contrast, Ethereum uses Solidity which is it’s own language.
Another big difference is that the mechanism used to create consensus with in the network (i.e. validate what is going on is real, or keeps it secure).
There are two main types:
- Proof of Work (Bitcoin)
- Proof of Stake (Ethereum)
However, NEO uses something called “Delegated Byzantine Fault Tolerance alternative” or handily dBFT for short.
There’s a more detailed write of up of what this is here, but the practical answer is that it uses a lot less power so there’s less wasted computational and electrical power involved in the network.
So, we know:
- NEO is a rebranded Anshares
- It’s like Ethereum and uses smart contracts, only potentially easier to use for programmers
- Is popular in China and Asia, but is yet to take hold in the West
How to Buy NEO
Due to NEO’s popularity in Asia and especially China, there are few exchanges that offer it in western markets.
The best place to buy it from is Bittrex. Bittrex is an excellent exchange with a wide range of alt coins, as well as major coins.
However it does not accept direct credit card payments so you need to purchase some BTC or ETH first to trade via Coinbase.
Step 1 – Buy BTC
Head over to Coinbase and create an account. You may need to verify your account identity which can take some time, so do this sooner rather than later.
Buy however much BTC you are looking to invest, but also keep in mind to buy however much you’re happy to lose. Remember that this isn’t an investment as much as a gamble!
Coinbase is an exchange that’s easy to use and takes most major forms of credit cards.
Step 2 – BTC to NEO
Now you own should an amount of bitcoin in your coinbase wallet.
We can only buy NEO via the Bittrex Exchange. We need to send BTC over to Bittrex so that it can be exchanged for NEO.
So, our money is going:
Credit card > Coinbase > Bitrex > NEO
To do this, open up Bittrex and find your wallets.
For this example let’s use Bitcoin.
Click on the small “+” next to the BTC icon.
You now should see a QR code and a huge long key that is your wallet address. Make sure you copy this exactly.
Open up Coinbase and go to “Accounts”.
Click “Send” and paste in your Bittrex wallet destination address and send however much currency you have.
Your currency is now flying magically to Bittrex.
Before it appears in your bittrex, it will take a few confirmations and may take an hour or two – so don’t panic. Usually Bittrex will show this information on your “Wallets” page.
If this is your first attempt at buying crypto, be patient and calm! As long as the address was copied correctly, it is more than likely all okay.
Once your BIttrex account as validated the deposit, we can go ahead and transfer this into Neo.
TipSend a small amount first as a test transaction if you’re anxious about it arriving okay.
Step 3 – How to buy NEO on Bittrex
Now we want to go onto the homepage where it displays all of the markets.
Search for “NEO” and you should end up on this page.
The menu is confusing, and you can see why I like coinbase for it’s simplicity! However Bittrex is quite intuitive and easy to use once you’ve understood everything you’re looking at.
Ignore most other things, and focus on the bottom left pane “Buy NEO”.
Units – Click on “Max” if you want to use all of your BTC, or just enter in how many NEO you want to buy.
Bid – Set the Bid field to “Last”, as this is the most current price. Once this is selected you should see how much NEO you’re about to buy and what it’s costing.
Once you’ve completed both of these fields, it should tell you the Total cost.
Hit the Buy NEO button, and the process has begun!
CheckCheck your emails in case of any confirmations before the order is properly processing.
Step 4 – Wait
How to Store NEO
This is the slightly tricker part. Due to the fact that NEO is mostly used in China, there is yet to be major adoption by the usual Wallets like Jaxx.
However, it’s important never to leave assets on an exchange. If that exchange goes down, you lose access to your currency.
Lets walk through, step by step, how to store NEO using a desktop PC. There are Mobile and Web versions available, however the PC version is currently the best so that’s what we’ll walk through.
Step 2 – Sync
Now the wallet is open and running, we need to wait for the Wallet to fully synchronize. What this means is, both numbers at the bottom left need to be equal.
This can take some time, so be patient! For myself it took quite a few hours.
If the numbers stop going up but aren’t synchronized, restart the wallet.
NEOIf you have sent coins before synchronisation, do not panic. They will appear once it is complete.
Step 3 – Create a Wallet
Once it’s all synced, click “Wallet” > New Wallet Database”
Now choose a name and a location for the wallet, and choose a password (make sure to back this up somewhere).
This generates a database file which holds 1 or more addresses to store funds. In the main screen, you should now see a long address.
This address is where you can send your funds.
You can create more than one address if you wish, by right clicking and selecting “Create New Add.”.
Step 4 – Back Up + Importing
This is the most important step!
If you ever lose access to your PC through hardware failure or database password loss, etc, you want to be able to still access your funds. The best way to do this is to make a backup of your private keys. Do this for every address you have created.
Right click on the address and select “View Private Key”
- Copy the HEX
- Copy the WIF
- Make back ups of both of these – either through LastPass, or through good old pen and paper.
Keep these in a very secure location as anyone with these keys will have access to your wallet tokens. It’s like giving away your PIN number.
Restoring a Wallet
If you need to restore access to this wallet, you’ll need these HEX and WIF numbers.
Right click on the “ACCOUNT” tab, and click “Import” > “Import from WIF”.
Enter the WIF private key, click okay, and wait for a bit. Your new address will appear with access restored.
Step 5 – Send Money
Sending funds to the wallet costs 1 NEO.
Always try to send exact amounts, otherwise you risk losing money. Anything beyond a decimal point will be lost.
Step 6 – Claim GAS
Gas is what’s used to keep transactions on the network going.
Gas is generated as a dividend in your wallet, and can be traded on an exchange.
NEO Gas is finite and anyone with NEO in private wallet earns NEO Gas.
Once you have your NEO in the wallet, click on “Advanced” and “NeoGas Claim”
The “Claim All” button is greyed out. To claim these, you need to transfer your NEO to your own address. Right click on your address under the account menu, and and copy it.
Now create a new transaction and transfer to the address copied the amount of NEO you are currently holding.
Test with just 1 NEO if you’re cautious.
Once complete, you should now be able to claim the NEOGas. Repeat this process as much as needed to claim newly generated NEOGas.
Hopefully this has been a helpful and easy to follow guide into your world of Cryptocurrency and what is currently regarded as an Altcoin.
Within the next few months it will be interested to see how it develops, and if we get our wishes, the value will increase to something in the range of Ethereum.