How to Buy NEO – A Beginner’s Guide
By: Ofir Beigel | Last updated: 1/6/24
NEO, previously known as AntShares, is an open-source Chinese project that allows the creation of decentralized apps (aka Dapps). In this post, I’ll review exactly what NEO is, a bit about how it works and explain the process of buying it.
How to Buy NEO Summary
NEO is a sort of Chinese Ethereum – allowing the creation of decentralized apps through the use of smart contracts. Here are the steps for buying NEO:
- Get a NEO wallet
- Locate your NEO address
- Go to Binance
- Deposit Bitcoin / Ethereum to your account (you can also buy it with a credit card on Binance)
- Buy NEO with Bitcoin / Ethereum
- Find your NEO address and withdraw your tokens
If Binance doesn’t work out for you here are some other options for buying NEO:
That’s how to buy NEO in a nutshell. If you want a more detailed review about NEO keep on reading, here’s what I’ll cover:
- What is NEO in a Nutshell?
- Buying NEO in 3 Simple Steps
NEO, formally known as Antshares, was founded in 2014 by a Chinese company called OnChain as a way to bring together smart contracts, a digital identity system, and the exchange of digital assets. With this novel vision, AntShares became China’s first open-source blockchain technology.
The long-term vision of NEO is focused on completely reinventing commerce by merging the traditional economy with the digital economy into something coined the “Smart Economy.”
The goal behind the new Smart Economy is to merge digital assets, a digital identity, and smart contracts into one. This economic frontier is trustless and open to all, meaning that it isn’t governed by a central authority. As such, rules, policies and the organization of society will be transparent and fair to all.
NEO can facilitate millions of transactions every day through its decentralized distributed ledger, forcing banks and companies to rethink the way they do business. NEO also supports very popular programming languages such as C#, Java, and Python.
The NEO platform has two different tokens: NEO and GAS (formerly known as ANC or AntCoin). Both tokens are capped to 100 million but that’s as far as the similarities go.
A total of 100 million NEO tokens were originally created. 50 million were sold to investors in an ICO and the remaining 50 million are locked in a smart contract. The contract states that each year, no more than 15 million coins are released for uses such as funding NEO development and investing in other blockchain projects.
NEO tokens can’t be divided into smaller units. NEO holders get voting rights in the NEO ecosystem, as well as rights to dividends in the form of GAS.
The NEO network charges GAS as a service fee for using the blockchain (much like Ethereum). GAS is created each time a new NEO block is added to the NEO blockchain (currently 5 tokens per block).
GAS production is reduced by one token for every 2 million blocks generated until all tokens are generated around 2046.
Unlike NEO tokens, GAS tokens can be divided into smaller units. GAS generated from a successful block will be distributed to NEO holders, while GAS received from transaction fees is awarded to node-keepers (i.e. NEO miners that add blocks to the blockchain).
A more detailed explanation of NEO and GAS can be found in this video:
The most logical place to get a NEO wallet is directly from the NEO website, as it features desktop, web and mobile versions. However, there are other options that are worth mentioning.
Ledger Nano S / X (hardware wallet)
If you’re looking for the most secure place to keep NEO tokens, then the Ledger hardware wallet should be your first choice.
Both the Ledger Nano X and the Ledger Nano S support NEO tokens and allow you to keep your coins offline away from hackers. The downside is that you’ll need to pay money to get the actual hardware wallet itself.
The Official NEO-GUI Wallet (desktop – full node)
The NEO Project offers a GUI desktop wallet that is available for Windows and Mac. Unfortunately, anyone using Linux will have to look elsewhere or download the command-line interface (CLI) version. Additionally, this is a full node wallet, meaning you will download the complete NEO blockchain to your machine, which could take a while.
Atomic Wallet (mobile)
Atomic Wallet is a decentralized wallet that supports 300+ cryptocurrency assets. The wallet uses Atomic Swap technology for free exchange between cryptocurrencies. Atomic Wallet provides instant exchange and a “buy crypto with a credit card” feature. Available for Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Android and iOS.
Exodus (mobile / desktop)
Exodus is a software NEO-compatible wallet with a beautifully designed user interface. In addition to NEO, Exodus supports Bitcoin, Ethereum, and 100+ other crypto assets. Other features include an in-app crypto exchange and syncing of desktop and mobile wallets. Available for Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, and Android.
NEON Wallet (desktop)
One popular option is the NEON wallet, a desktop wallet available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. This wallet has all the necessary features, as it can hold NEO assets—specifically NEO and GAS—while allowing users to send and receive them.
This wallet also allows users to claim GAS if they’re holding NEO.
NEON is developed by City of Zion and not directly by NEO developers. However, many people prefer this wallet for its ease of use, functionality, and flexibility across all desktop operating systems.
In addition, a user’s private keys are never stored on the NEON servers, offering the highest level of security.
For the most part, the NEON wallet is considered the best option by many who own and use NEO. However, City of Zion previously dealt with allegations regarding bugs in its wallets.
One user claims his NEO were redirected to an unknown address during a transfer from Bittrex. At this point, it’s hard to put the blame on NEON, as there doesn’t appear to be any solid proof.
NEO Tracker Wallet (web)
Users looking for a web wallet often choose the NEO Tracker wallet, which is developed by NEO Tracker. This web wallet is open source, offering both ease and functionality.
Users can send, receive and store both NEO and GAS, without storing any data on the NEO Tracker servers (similar to Blockchain.com). It also allows users to claim GAS if they’re holding NEO.
NEO Paper Wallet
Ansy offers a paper wallet that can be used to store or send NEO and GAS. Using a paper wallet is a good option for anyone who wants to store their value offline and hang onto it for an extended period of time.
However, users won’t be able to claim GAS tokens when they are holding NEO in this paper wallet.
WARNING: Scam NEO Wallets
According to City of Zion, a developer that offers a number of NEO wallets, myneowallet(.io) is a scam, as it saves private keys right in its database.
Another wallet that many believe to be a scam is the neopaperwallet(.org). The accusation came in September of 2017 after many who used it allegedly lost their NEO. While at this point, it’s impossible to say whether or not this is definitely a scam, users should avoid it just to be safe.
Ideally, only use NEO wallets that were created by NEO developers or are displayed on the NEO.org website. Using any other wallet just isn’t worth the risk.
Locate your NEO address
Once you have your NEO wallet, you need to locate your NEO address. This is a 34-character string of letters and numbers that starts with an “A” (for Antshares). Here’s an example:
The easiest way to trade NEO would probably be through eToro’s NEO trading platform. However, when you use eToro, you can’t actually withdraw the coins. This means you can only buy/sell NEO for fiat (i.e., dollars, euros, etc.).
Because of the above, if you plan on using eToro, you don’t actually need a NEO wallet.
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If you’re not looking to just trade but also to buy and hold NEO, then you can purchase it from these exchanges:
- Binance (with USDT or a different cryptocurrency)
- Bitfinex (with fiat currency or cryptocurrency)
- Bittrex (with USDT or a different cryptocurrency)
- HitBTC (with USDT or a different cryptocurrency)
How Can I Buy NEO with a Credit Card?
You can buy NEO directly from CEX.IO using a credit card. Register an account on CEX.IO and link your card on the Card page, once it’s linked, you’ll be able to make instant fiat deposits in USD, EUR, GBP, or RUB then convert it to NEO.
Alternatively, you can also use Changelly to buy NEO directly with a credit card. However the cheapest way would be to buy Bitcoin with a credit card and then exchange it for NEO through Atomic Wallet or Changelly.
As always, I suggest that you withdraw your funds from the exchange once you’ve purchased your coins. It’s always considered best practice to have full ownership of your coins in a wallet that gives you control over your private keys.
Once the coins are safely in your wallet, you’ll have successfully completed the process of buying NEO.
For most people, purchasing NEO on a reputable exchange and holding it in a secure wallet that allows them to claim GAS is a great way to take advantage of a long-term price appreciation.
NEO’s Smart Economy concept has the potential to revolutionize economic transactions and redefine the way the world interacts on a financial level.
On the other hand, I’ve seen many projects come and go in the past few years, and while NEO’s token remains pretty robust, no one can really say what the future holds for it.
As always, you’ll have to decide if NEO is worth investing in, but make sure to follow these guidelines:
- Educate yourself about NEO, don’t just blindly buy the token.
- Never invest more than you’re willing to lose, cryptocurrencies, in general, are an extremely risky investment.
- Always keep your NEO tokens off exchanges and in your own wallet.
Have you had any experience with NEO yourself? If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts about it in the comment section below.