NEO to Open New Development Office in Seattle Headed by Former Microsoft Exec

Omar Faridi
  • NEO's new development office set to open later this month in Seattle, Washington.
  • NEO's development team is planning to hire new staff members for the office.

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.

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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