Ethereum might be the most well-known dApp platform, but it’s far from the only place for smart contracts. The NEO blockchain is home to a whole dApp ecosystem of its own, and it’s thriving.
NEO’s “Smart Economy” debuted shortly after the public blockchain rebranded from Antshares in August of 2017. The Smart Economy concept combines digital assets, digital identity, and smart contracts through a distributed network for both public and private/enterprise projects.
Community developer groups – such as City of Zion, NeoResearch, and NewEconoLabs – are providing the technical support and development tools to build decentralized applications on the blockchain. In coordination with NEO core developers, these groups have created many suites of tools to decrease friction and bring on new teams.
Additionally, the NEO Virtual Machine (NeoVM) offers support for multiple programming languages. According to NEO documentation, “more than 90% of developers can directly participate in the development of an NEO smart contract without the need to learn a new language. ”
Each of these companies launched their initial coin offerings (ICO) on NEO. In the time since, their teams have developed their products on the MainNet as an integral part of the stack.
The Bridge Protocol offers Know Your Customer (KYC) and identify verification services. Users provide their personal identifying information (PII) and Bridge creates a “compliant identity” that’s tied to a public address.
By partnering with entities that require KYC verification, Bridge shares only the user information that is necessary for compliance. To upload user information, the Bridge Chrome Extension was recently released to early adopters for user testing.
Bridge envisions its project as particularly beneficial for “jumping from exchanges to retail with ease” without the need to maintain passwords for each portal.
Travala (formerly known as Concierge) is a global online travel booking marketplace that aims to be a one-stop shop for all travel-related services. Travala uses (AVA), a NEP-5 token, to purchase hotel rooms on its platform.
Since then, the team has delivered an online portal with access to 550,000 international hotel accommodations and properties. Through a slew of new partnerships, Travala has been growing its offerings to meet a Q1 2019 quota of 1.5 million properties.
Travala concluded its ICO on April 25th, 2018, and its beta platform is expected to launch in Q1 of 2019.
Switcheo Exchange is a decentralized exchange (DEX) that first launched on the NEO blockchain. It has since expanded, becoming “the first non-custodian exchange to support both NEO and Ethereum blockchains.” Currently, the DEX offers all NEP-5 tokens and more than 45 ERC-20 tokens.
With a DEX, users trade directly from their cold wallet with no centralized log-in. That doesn’t appear to be a limiting factor for the Switcheo Exchange, which has since seen a trading volume peak of $3 million with over 25,000 traders since it launched in March.
Looking forward, Switcheo will focus its efforts to fiat-based onboarding, cross-chain swaps, and adding Qtum to their list of supported blockchains.
Effect.AI aims to establish a decentralized network for artificial intelligence (AI) services. It will do this by creating a decentralized Mechanical Turk marketplace (Phase 1), a marketplace for AI services (Phase 2), and a distributed computational platform for deep learning frameworks (Phase 3).
Currently, Effect.AI is operating a decentralized version of Amazon’s Mturk, dubbed Effect Force, which continues recruit new workers with over 2,000 active users as of November. Earlier this year, Effect.AI partnered with Quadrant to provide the Singapore Government with a workforce to manage image metadata for mapping purposes.
nOS is a virtual operating system that functions as a web browser and wallet. It’s a bit like the NEO version of the Brave Browser or EOS’ Lynx wallet, with a built-in NEP-5 wallet, dApp explorer and a profile tied to the user’s KYC settings. In the future, it will incorporate a dApp gateway (in the vein of Google Play or Apple Store) and the Neon Exchange DEX into its platform.
In a press release accompanying the launch, nOS developers said they hoped to provide a “safer and easier” way to access decentralized applications. Of the 140 NEO dApps, roughly 60 are now connected to the blockchain through the nOS platform API.
At the time of its ICO, which ended on November 8th, nOS already had a working product in its nOS Client v0.4.6. In the future, nOS users can expect the development of the dApp gateway, and the release of nOS client v1.0.
The author is invested in NEO, Switcheo, and Ethereum.