NEO and Ontology have announced a new joint initiative to develop an interoperable cross-chain protocol. In a town hall meeting held in Shanghai on July 18th, Da Hongfei, NEO and Onchain co-founder, and Li Jun, Ontology founder, said that they hoped the protocol would help establish the “foundation for the next-gen internet.”


Blockchain interoperability describes the ability to communicate and share information across different blockchains. In its most basic form, a blockchain is a siloed network that can transfer value between network participants, but cannot communicate externally with other blockchain networks.

Interoperability would enable cross-chain functions. For example, a NEO dApp could call a smart contract on the Ontology blockchain and vice versa. This could be especially useful if a public chain needs to interact with a private chain, or for leveraging application-specific functionalities of others chains, such as identity, storage, or asset management.

Design features

A white paper for the new yet-to-be-named cross-chain solution is planned for release in Q3, with a launch to follow in Q4. However, several design features have already been outlined.

NEO and Ontology claim the protocol will be built for cross-chain synchronization and keep a low barrier to entry. A notable goal of the project is to allow existing chains to integrate without the need for customization or modifications.

The protocol is also said to feature an “eco-friendly approach to member chains,” and will not include a smart contract system or involve the issuance of tokens, intended to “protect member chains from cannibalization.”

Another focus is to achieve atomic swaps in cross-chain transactions and smart contract interactions. NEO and Ontology hope that these interoperability features will broaden the scope of decentralized applications across various industries and use cases.

Finally, security is highlighted as a core concern, with safeguards planned to protect transactions on both the technical and operational levels.

Strategic Goals

Speaking with NEO News Today, Da touched on how the new protocol fits into NEO’s wider strategic vision:

“As part of our goal of realizing a smart economy, we are committed to fostering collaboration and inclusiveness. Through NEO’s partnership with Ontology, we are advancing towards the goal of becoming a part of a global and open ecosystem by being interoperable with any and all major blockchains. In a way, you could imagine the partnership as a free trade agreement between countries, one that will benefit all participating parties.”

Li echoed Da’s sentiment in a joint press release issued by NEO and Ontology, highlighting a desire to advance open cooperation within the blockchain industry:

“By building an open and global cross-chain system, NEO and Ontology will promote cross-chain value exchange as well as business collaboration to establish the foundational infrastructure for next-gen Internet.”

Moving forward, NEO and Ontology hope their strategic cooperation will accelerate blockchain development and industry growth, and invite other companies to join them in building the foundations of the next generation of internet architecture.