The developers of NEO, a leading blockchain-based smart contract platform often seen as the “Chinese Ethereum” that is used for creating decentralized applications (dApps), are planning to open a new office in Seattle, United States.

Last month, Erik Zhang, the co-founder of NEO, said that NEO’s development team was in the process of making key improvements to the smart contract-enabled platform’s delegated Byzantine Fault Tolerance (dBFT) consensus protocol – which its founders claim “will become the best consensus mechanism for blockchains.”

According to NEO News Today, John deVadoss, a former general manager at Microsoft’s Redmond, Washington offices, will be in charge of managing operations at NEO’s new Global Development (NGD) office in Seattle. Scheduled to officially open later this month, NEO’s developers are reportedly looking to recruit staff members for the company’s Seattle-based office.

Details Regarding NeoFS To Be Revealed During DevCon

In order to expand and presumably diversify its operations, NGD has been establishing new partnerships with Microsoft and several other large IT firms. Explaining why NEO’s developers chose to open their new office in Seattle, Zhang remarked: 

Seattle has huge developer resources and a strong atmosphere of innovation, and NEO has always placed great importance in technology development.

Notably, NGD has announced the launch of its new office only a day before the NEO DevCon conference in Seattle is scheduled to take place (February 16-17 2019). During the developer conference, Zhang is reportedly planning to “share more details” regarding the ongoing development of NeoFS.

As described by Zhang in an interview last month, NeoFS is “a distributed storage network” that will allow “applications [to] store massive amounts of data.” The NEO project technical lead also revealed in January that the development of the first release candidate (RC1) of NeoFS should be completed by Q3 2019.

NEO 3.0 To Launch In 2020

NEO 3.0, a major upgrade of the NEO blockchain platform, is expected to be activated next year (in 2020) and it will require “at least one hard fork” – according to Zhang. Commenting on how he intends to contribute to NEO’s upcoming updates, Da Hongfei, NEO’s other co-founder, tweeted (on January 1):

In 2019 we will work harder to improve infrastructure. Personally I'll focus on modules that can be added to NEO [including] distributed storage, identity, layer2 [in order] to improve NEO's crypto-economics, and to deliver the best developer experience.

NEO’s native token (NEO) is currently trading at around $8.28 and the market capitalization of all tokens stands at just above $538 million according to CryptoCompare data. NEO tokens were trading as high as $157 in January 2018 and the platform’s market capitalization reached an all-time high of over $10.5 billion during the historic crypto bull market of late 2017.