NEO Global Development general manager, Zhao “Johnson” Chen, presented at the Delta Summit in the island country of Malta on October 5th, 2018. Erhan Korhalliler, CEO of EAK Digital TV, a YouTube channel focusing on “blockchain’s thought leaders and visionaries”, caught up with Johnson for a 15-minute interview. Topics included the development goals of NEO, blockchain regulation in Europe, in-house and global development, Johnson’s history with NEO, marketing, and cybersecurity.

Objectives of NEO

To start off the conversation, Korhalliler asked Johnson about NEO’s goals. Johnson replied that NEO is in a period of rapid worldwide growth, with the objective of building a ‘smart economy’ through infrastructure development and coding. He added that the current emphasis is heavily on development and that NEO’s belief is that the future “digital economy will run on blockchain”.

Korhalliler enquired with Johnson on how he initially came to work with NEO. Johnson said that he previously worked in strategy, consulting, and banking industries for 15 years before becoming fascinated by “this new technology”, blockchain. After working with “a few open-source blockchain projects” he became involved with NEO soon after meeting Da Hongfei in China.

Government Regulation

When the world’s highest volume cryptocurrency exchange, Binance, moved its operations to the blockchain-friendly island of Malta in early 2018, many people took notice, and Malta’s standing in the cryptocurrency community was elevated. With regards to government regulations, Johnson stated that the world contains more than 200 different regulatory environments, with even more jurisdictions. This segmentation “brings a difficult job for developers or coders to bring existing laws or regulations into real-life software development”, and Johnson noted that closing this gap represented a significant business opportunity.

Johnson responded to a question about the possibility of a Maltese NEO office by indicating that NEO Global Development (NGD) wanted to look into this opportunity. Johnson said that he thinks the Maltese jurisdiction is very supportive of blockchain industry and that NEO’s first visit to the country was “a good start.”

Impact of Blockchain

Johnson fielded a question from Korhailliler asking about the “real-world effects of blockchain”. As NEO was founded with a focus on digital assets, Johnson focused on this area in his answer. He expressed that he felt that assets fell into two types: traditional, paper-based, “heavy” assets such as houses and cars; and easily digitized assets, such as music, news, video, and the gaming industry.

Johnson predicted that today’s digital assets will be the first to be added to blockchain in the short term, and called for developers to join the NEO platform, citing the availability of full IDE support and toolkits..

Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt

As with all blockchain projects, NEO has its critics, with many pointing to its conservative approach to decentralization, its Chinese origins, or its dependence on community development efforts as reasons to question the project’s legitimacy. When asked how the NEO project deals with negative publicity, Johnson commented that “We prefer to let GitHub pull requests, technology, speak for themselves.” However, he added that communication can be important, and pointed at the Reddit AMA sessions by the NEO founders, as well as NEO’s monthly development reports, and communications within its Discord community of over 20,000 members.

Decentralization and Data Ownership

When Korhailliler asked about the security implications of blockchain, Johnson stated that distributed or decentralized ledgers could be prone to smaller risks than centralized databases, and he feels that greater control over one’s data and network access through private keys will be a driving force for future adoption of blockchain.

Community Involvement

Finally, Johnson fielded questions about the worldwide NEO community and community development, by citing upcoming European hackathons and NGD’s design competition. “Let’s do real hackathons” across the world’s cities, Johnson said; and he welcomed prospective developers to look into NEO’s GitHub and join the development efforts of the open-source blockchain.

The full interview can be found at the below link: