The technology behind the cryptocurrency NEO, formerly known as Antshares, will be completely reconfigured by this time next year.
In April, NEO co-founder Erik Zhang announced that an optimized version of the blockchain network will relaunch as NEO 3.0 in 2020. The underlying infrastructure will be so different that token holders will need to turn in their assets for newly issued tokens.
Zhang told CoinDesk this process will not require know-your-customer (KYC) information, as the Singapore-based NEO Foundation will simply destroy the old assets and airdrop new tokens to designated wallets.
“Users only need to keep their private key. New tokens will be automatically dropped to their wallet address,” Zhang said, adding community leaders will work with exchanges to swap any tokens stored there. “We need to make sure that old tokens and new tokens don’t flow at the same time.”
These tokens have been circulating for years, so it is hard to say how a centralized point of redistribution will impact the ecosystem.
A financial report from the NEO Foundation, revealed exclusively to CoinDesk, showed the initial coin offering in 2016 raised $97,517 plus 8,169 bitcoin, the latter of which was mostly liquidated for more than $8.3 million by February 2018.
Meanwhile, around 100,000 “unclaimed” NEO tokens that, according to the foundation, people bought during crowdfunding sales but never added to their wallets, will revert to the foundation in October 2019, the financial report said, if the participating wallets aren’t registered for the swap. NEO is currently trading around $11, according to CoinMarketCap.
While this may sound antithetical to the cypherpunk ethos, the open source NEO project has always been more akin to a commercial enterprise, albeit with an opaque structure, than most grassroots cryptocurrencies. It’s sometimes referred to as a Chinese, regulator-friendly version of ethereum.