Differences between ETH and NEO

Differences between ETH and NEO

Ever wondered in what ways Ethereum (ETH) differs from NEO? Well, you’re at the right place! Although these two platforms can serve similar functions, they slightly differ from each other in a couple of ways as you’ll see shortly. This post will outline 5 unique differences between ETH and NEO (formerly Antshares). Before jumping right in, here’s a brief intro.

What is Ethereum?

Ethereum (commonly referred to as ETH) is a decentralized software platform based on blockchain technology which runs smart contracts and smart contracts are simply decentralized applications that run exactly as they have been programmed to without risk of censorship, downtime, fraud and interference from third parties. On a blockchain, smart contracts self-execute when all conditions stipulated in their code have been met and are therefore, a reliable means of value exchange.

What is NEO?

Very similar to Ethereum, NEO (aka the “Ethereum of China”) is also a decentralized platform based on blockchain technology designed to “automate the management of digital assets using smart contracts”. Unlike Ethereum however, NEO uses digital identity in addition to blockchain technology to digitize assets. Established in 2014 as Antshares, NEO was rebranded in 2017 and retargeted to become a platform for the “Smart Economy”.

Now to the 5 Unique Differences Between ETH and NEO

1. Code Base Supported

ETH blockchain supports only one language “Solidity” as its proprietary language and this is quite a snag to deployment of decentralized apps (DApps) on the platform as developers who don’t already know Solidity have to first learn it before using it to develop and deploy their apps.

NEO on the other hand supports additional code bases such as C#, Java, Kotlin etc., its blockchain therefore supports a wider array of DApps built using diverse programming languages.

2. Protocol

ETH blockchain currently runs Ethash, a Proof of Work (PoW) protocol which rewards miners (transaction validators on the network) with ether for securing the network by verifying and confirming transactions made on the network. Now, Proof of Work can be problematic because it requires massive energy to run and cool the miners, it can be compromised by a “51% attack” and so on but that’s not our focus in this post so let’s not derail, back to the differences!

NEO on the other hand runs on Delegated Byzantine Fault Tolerance (dBFT) protocol; a modification of the Proof of Stake (PoS) protocol which rewards token holders with another token known as GAS for “staking” their NEO. This protocol is preferred to PoW because it doesn’t require massive energy input.

3. Quantum Computer Proof

At the moment, the Ethereum blockchain is not quantum computer proof, i.e. Quantum computers (extremely powerful machines with exceptional processing capability and based on the principles of quantum mechanics) are theoretically able to break the cryptographic algorithm on which its blockchain is based. This is however not the case with NEO which is secured by NeoQS, an anti-quantum cryptography mechanism which protects the NEO blockchain from attack by quantum computers.

4. Blockchain Transaction Speed

Ethereum blockchain has a significantly slower transaction speed than the NEO blockchain. Theoretically, the ETH network is able to process 1,000 transactions per second, this however is not practical because it’s code has a 6.7million gas limit per block. This implies that miners can only add transactions whose cumulative gas requirement is less than or equal to 6.7million and move additional transactions to subsequent blocks, consequently slowing down the transaction speed on the Ethereum blockchain from the ideal (1,000 transactions/second) to roughly 20 transactions per second.

Gas limit illustration for ETH

Explanation of Ethereum’s gas limit

NEO blockchain on the other hand can theoretically handle 10,000 transactions per second but practically handles about 1,000 transactions/second, making it significantly faster than the Ethereum’s.

5. Smart contract Execution

Smart contracts are executed faster and more efficiently on the NEO blockchain than on the Ethereum Blockchain. This is because NEO’s virtual machines (decoupled part of a miner on the NEO network which handles the actual execution of the smart contract) first optimizes the smart contract code to ensure a seamless, faster and more efficient execution of the code.

Ethereum’s Virtual Machines (EVM) on the other hand does not perform this task and therefore executes codes in a relatively slower and less efficient way.


Although the Ethereum and Neo Blockchains have striking similarities and can be used for similar tasks (execution of smart contracts, launching of ICOs, deployment of DApps), notable differences exist between them. These differences are summarized in the table below.

Code base/programing languages supportedOnly 1 language (Solidity)Multiple languages e.g. Java, C#
ProtocolPoW: EthashPoS: dBFT
Resistance to quantum computer attackNoYes: NeoQS
Transactions/secondTheoretical: 1,000
Practical: 20
Theoretical: 10,000
Practical: 1,000
Smart contract executionSlower, less efficientFaster, more efficient

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