NEO founder Da Hongfei spoke with regulators prior to China's ICO ban to confirm that the NEO project was developing as originally communicated to the government. Da disputed rumors that China will ban cryptocurrency mining and stated that he believes a collaboration with the government is "possible" in the future.
The NEO founder himself made this revelation in an interview with Dutch financial publication Het Financieele Dagblad. In the interview--portions of which were translated into English by Yicai Global--Da Hongfei stated that regulators asked him for “suggestions” and information about NEO before the central bank announced the initial coin offering (ICO) ban and began pressuring bitcoin exchanges to voluntarily shutter their mainland operations:
No, none of the supervisors have contacted me. But before they started cleaning up the market, I was asked for information and suggestions."
Even though NEO is a smart contracts platform and has been nicknamed the "Chinese Ethereum," Da said he supports the government's ICO ban because the "vast majority of ICO projects...were fakes and fraud." Even without regulatory approval to offer NEO-based token sales, he believes the platform still has "plenty of room to grow."
He compared the ICO boom with the dot-com bubble that occurred at the turn of the millennium. “When you started a business that ended with ‘dot com’, you could easily attract capital. The same is what you see with the ICO buzz," he continued."
Mining Ban Rumors Are False
Notably, Da also disputed rumors that regulators will extend their cryptocurrency crackdown to mining. He said that China is primarily concerned with controlling capital flows and preventing alternative monetary systems from superseding conventional transaction and investment vehicles. "It's never [been] confirmed, he said of the mining ban. "I think the supervisors are particularly worried about the challenges that bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies entail. The status of fiduciary money came under pressure."
Government Collaboration "Possible"
Da added that he believes a potential collaboration between NEO and the Chinese government is possible in the future. While he does not think it will happen in the short-term, he theorizes that the government could eventually implement the NEO platform as a backbone for the country's blockchain infrastructure. In his words:
“I do not expect the government to call me in the short term and say, 'Let’s use Neo as the blockchain technology infrastructure in China.' But in the medium term? Why not? I think it’s possible.”
Since the release of this interview--and almost certainly due to the statement above--the NEO price has begun to surge. As of the time of writing, the NEO price had increased more than 27% in the past day alone, bringing its present value to $25.
Author's Note: This article has been updated to reflect that regulators spoke with Da specifically about the NEO project, not the ICO and exchange ban.
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