NEO Co-Founder: Ethereum Has 'Strongest Community of Developers'

Da Hongfei, the co-founder of NEO, a leading blockchain-based platform for developing smart contract-enabled decentralized applications (dApps), recently revealed that he believes the “whole world will [eventually] become digital.”

Hongfei, a self-taught computer programmer, pointed out that credit cards were never widely adopted in China. However, mobile payment apps such as AliPay and WeChatPay are used by millions of Chinese citizens because “it is much more convenient”, Hongfei mentioned. His comments came during an interview with Bitcoinist at NEO’s DevCon event - which was held in Seattle, Washington (on February 16th-17th).

Explaining how distributed ledger technology (DLT) was gradually adopted by financial institutions, Hongfei remarked: 

After 2014, bankers realized that some geeks invented a protocol that could transfer value across countries in a few minutes. So they are curious about the technology and they abstracted it and called it blockchain.

Vitalik Buterin Coined The Term Distributed Autonomous Organization (DAO)?

In 2016, many people realized that blockchain technology could be used to facilitate “collaboration between individuals” and other entities in general, Hongfei said. It was also during this time that developers “invented or borrowed words like decentralized autonomous company (DAC)” - which was later changed to DAO (decentralized autonomous organization) by Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin, the NEO co-founder revealed.

When more people began working on DAOs, Hongfei began to “realize” that blockchain “was a new institutional technology.” He explained that blockchain technology will evolve in a manner that will be somewhat similar to how the internet developed. According to the South China University of Technology graduate, most of the implementation details will be abstracted away from the end-user and even software architects. This should allow application developers to focus more on creating solutions, rather than spending time learning about technical details that are not related to the software they’re trying to create.

Per the NEO co-founder:

[Blockchain development will be divided] into different layers. [For example,] TCP/IP is at the bottom and HTTP protocol is on top of TCP/IP. If you are building an internet application, you don’t have to bother about TCP/IP these days, you don’t even need to worry about HTTP. You have different middle layers to build on top of that. So blockchain will take a similar road.

Acknowledging that most dApps currently deployed have been built on top of layer one, or the base layer of blockchain networks, Hongfei believes that “in the future, there will be different layers” - especially “a lot of layer 2 solutions.” In order to launch applications on layer 2 or layer 3 networks, Hongfei recommended creating “native support” or native development environments.

Only Smart Contract-Based Assets To Be Supported On NEO 3.0

Hongfei, who’s also the founder on OnChain, a blockchain development firm, noted that NEO currently has “some complicated, global assets” which are UTXO (unspent transaction output)-based and NEO also has “smart contracts assets.” NEO’s developers are planning to “unify” both asset types so that “there will be no more UTXO assets”, Hongfei said. In the future, the NEO platform will only support issuing assets “with smart contracts”, the crypto pioneer explained.

Interestingly, Hongfei thinks “Ethereum currently has the strongest community of developers.”

He said that Ethereum’s development team is “like the go-to solution” and that “if you want to [learn] how to [write proper] smart contracts, [then] you will probably do it on Ethereum.” However, the “blockchain infrastructure” of today is “not ready for mass adoption” - as we need to work on developing second and third layer solutions, Hongfei argued.

U.S. Senate Banking Committee Holding Hearing on Facebook’s Libra on July 16

A day after Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services, made a statement in which she asked Facebook executives "to come before the Committee to provide testimony" regarding its proposed cryptocurrency (Libra), the U.S. Senate Banking Committee announced that it had scheduled a hearing to discuss the same topic.

On Tuesday (June 18), Facebook announced that it is creating a new "low-volatility" cryptocurrency (a fully fiat-collateralized stablecoin) called Libra (LBR), built-on top of a permissioned but public blockchain called Libra Blockchain. It also said that one of its subsidiaries (called Calibra) is building a wallet (called Calibra) that will let you "save, send and spend Libra". 

Reaction by the French Finance Minister

Within a few hours, the French Finance Minister, Bruno Le Maire, said during an interview on Europe 1 radio that "it is out of the question" for Libra to "become a sovereign currency":

"It can’t and it must not happen.”

According to Bloomberg, Le Maire "called on the Group of Seven central bank governors, guardians of the global monetary system, to prepare a report on Facebook’s project for their July meeting."

Reaction of the Bank of England Governor 

Roughly around the same time, at the European Central Bank’s annual symposium in Sintra, Portugal, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney talked about Libra:

"Anything that works in this world will become instantly systemic and will have to be subject to the highest standards off regulation."

Congresswoman Maxine Water's Statement on Facebook’s Cryptocurrency Announcement

Another thing that happened on June 18 was that Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services, issued a statement about Libra:

“The cryptocurrency market currently lacks a clear regulatory framework to provide strong protections for investors, consumers, and the economy. Regulators should see this as a wake-up call to get serious about the privacy and national security concerns, cybersecurity risks, and trading risks that are posed by cryptocurrencies. Given the company’s troubled past, I am requesting that Facebook agree to a moratorium on any movement forward on developing a cryptocurrency until Congress and regulators have the opportunity to examine these issues and take action."

Reaction of the U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman

According to Coindesk, earlier today (June 19), Jerome Powell, the Chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, said during a press conference that Facebook had had preliminary talks with Fed officials before yesterday's Libra announcement:

“You know Facebook, I believe, has made quite broad rounds around the world with regulators, supervisors and lots of people to discuss their plans and that certainly includes us."

Powell did not seem too worried about cryptocurrencies, perhaps because he knows that there is a huge regulatory mountain for Facebook to climb before it can launch Libra:

“So essentially…not too concerned about the central banks no longer being able to carry out monetary policy because of cryptocurrencies or digital currencies... You know, there are potential benefits here, there are also potential risks, particularly of a currency that could, you know, have large application. So I would echo what Governor Carney said which is that we will wind up having quite high expectations from a safety and soundness and regulatory standpoint if they do decide to go forward with something.”

The U.S. Senate Banking Committee

Also, today (June 19), the U.S. Senate Banking Committee announced that it will hold a hearing (“Examining Facebook’s Proposed Digital Currency and Data Privacy Considerations") on July 16 to discuss Libra. No witnesses have been announced yet. According to Reuters, a source in Washington familiar with the matter has said that David Marcus, Co-Creator of Libra, is expected to testify.

This is the same Committee that wrote an open letter on May 9 to Mark Zuckerberg, Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Facebook, in order to get answers to seven questions about Facebook's proposed crypto-based global payments system.

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