Several reports from the NEO underground have been grumbling about a fork of NEO calling itself “NEO Super.” The venture launched, seemingly apropos of nothing at all, and boasts only one real project, a wallet service that some community members fear could very likely be an effort to scam NEO users out of their private keys.
On further investigation, this reporter finds that the NEO Super project is, in fact, an effort to “snapshot” the NEO blockchain and utilize it on the Ethereum network, complete with “mining opportunities” and more. It wants to take the “most successful” elements of NEO and utilize them in the form of a standard ERC-20 token contract.
Although it’s not hard to write such things, it also isn’t impossible to launch such a project. It’s not hard to see why people perceive it to be a scam or potential scam. In NEO, the reader may not be aware, one must use his private key quite often to unlock the wallet, at least with the easier-to-use wallets. A solid way of capturing a mass of private keys would be to create a fake wallet service that actually did interact with the NEO blockchain and simply utilize said keys to pilfer a ton of funds.
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“NEO Super” has only 39 Twitter followers, and an apparently associated Twitter account was banned. The project’s GitHub repository has made no notable changes or commits to the NEO codebase. And, easiest to spot of all, as one reporter noted:
“Because with a closer look at their LinkedIn pages you can easily tell that they are each fake.”
Indeed, CEO and lead developer John D. Martin” has only three connections on LinkedIn, despite an alleged seven-year development career.
What the project does have is a fully-written whitepaper, a nice looking website, a functioning clone of other NEO wallet services (minus the important — in NEO — function of printing the paper wallet) and an interesting idea that this reporter, likely among others, would surely like to be real.
Eliminate one attack vector in NEO and create a new system of smart contracts and scalability on Ethereum with the added bonus of free tokens to NEO holders? Sign us up! But let’s keep in mind that most scams are simply “too good to be true.”
“A lot of misunderstanding and incorrect representations surround the question of NEO forks. To put it simply, NEO cannot be forked in the same way as Bitcoin or Ethereum — that is, there is no way to split the chain and create a new coin based on NEO.”
Which, of course, raises the question as to why they have built a wallet service that can capture NEO private keys. In any case, the fork is set to happen on November 10, and the immediate effect for traditional NEO holders will be a 1:2 issuance on the NEOX chain.
It’s unclear how users are to redeem their coins if this is to be an Ethereum token and smart contract, but users are certainly advised to not enter their NEO private key onto any service created by such an unknown and non-reputable provider as this upstart “NEO Super” team. If every NEO in existence at the time of the snapshot is to be duplicated and doubled in the new system, then there should be some way that users will be able to access it without affecting their existing holdings.
In short, the project is too confusing to declare it a scam outright, but it is also too unknown and, again, confusing, to necessarily recommend, though there’s no harm in experimentation and NEO is an open source protocol and project.
If the developers are serious about launching an alternative to NEO, they’re picking a bad time to do so, with the token being in a depressed and declining state for quite some time now as regards its market. This indicates an overall loss of interest toward NEO, which means the potential success of this project is limited — assuming the whole effort is legitimate. And if the primary effort is to improve fault tolerance and prevent duplicate block publishing, then perhaps they should dedicate efforts to NEO development instead of starting a whole new project which brings the NEO blockchain as a whole into the Ethereum fold.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not represent those of, nor should they be attributed to, CCN.
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