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Amid US-China Tech War, Can Neo’s DeFi Stack Rival Ethereum’s?

Chinese tech companies were once seen as copycats of their Western peers: Alibaba was a knockoff of eBay and Baidu imitated Google. More recently, Chinese firms like TikTok and Huawei have established such dominant international positions that U.S. authorities have tried to hold them back. 

Now, the technological arms race is playing out in the cryptocurrency industry, where one Chinese company is taking on Ethereum, the world’s second-largest blockchain, which U.S.-based developers have used to build semi-automated trading and lending networks under the rubric of decentralized finance, or DeFi.   

Neo took aim at DeFi in late September with its launch of a new platform called Flamingo. Da Hongfei, a Neo co-founder, told CoinDesk in an interview that the protocol will eventually provide users with

Prices for the NEO tokens have slipped since the mint rush in late September.
Source: CoinGecko

A rare recent report from Chinese state-controlled media labeled cryptocurrencies “the top performing investment” of the year, seen as a sign the central government is encouraging development in the space.

Da says approximately 90% of the people he talks to on Neo’s group chats on Discord are English speakers. That suggests Neo has a broad, geographically diversified user base, he said.

“We are not attracting people,” Da said. “We are attracting crypto assets. As long as it’s an asset, then it is welcomed. We don’t care if the private key is Chinese or American.”

One question that might loom in the minds of crypto traders is how much control or oversight Neo might cede to Chinese authorities.

Neo is currently working with the Blockchain-based Service Network (BSN), a Chinese state-sanctioned blockchain infrastructure project, which aims to attract international decentralized applications (dapps) developers to build their projects on it, according to Da.

Neo is like any other startup working furiously to bring new products to market, he says. 

“We don’t want to simply do a Uniswap copycat,” he said. “We are trying to do something original.”



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