NEO is one of the new blockchain platforms that is currently making waves in the cryptocurrency world. Originating in China and formerly known as Antshares, NEO is considered by many to be an upgrade or at least a competitor to the Ethereum blockchain, offering smart contracts as well as closing some of the loopholes that many commentators and developers have suggested makes Ethereum smart contracts to be vulnerable to hackers.
Aside from NEO, another cryptocurrency is available through the same blockchain. Known as GAS (formerly Antcoins), this currency is the actual coins used in the system, as opposed to NEO which only represents the shares.
Having started off 2017 valued at only $0.14, as of October 2017 NEO is trading at about $37, an increase of over 26000%. Indeed, since the beginning of August alone the value of NEO has increased by 400%. Meanwhile, GAS is currently valued at around $29, up from $1.78 in July 2017 when it first became available.
Although the market growth of NEO in 2017 has been phenomenal, the infrastructure surrounding the blockchain has not yet developed at the same pace, meaning that some of the basic additional security requirements that investors look for when purchasing cryptocurrencies, such as wallets, are in short supply or have been resulted in a number of scams occurring.
However, despite the delay in providing a full infrastructure, there are still a number of NEO wallets out there are safe and user-friendly when it comes to storing your NEO or GAS. Below we will consider some of the issues that people face when choosing the right NEO wallet, as well as some of the better options currently available.
What to consider when using a NEO wallet
The first thing to point out is that, as of yet, there are no hardware wallets that support NEO (although there is speculation in the online community that developers working on the Ledger Nano S will soon allow this hardware wallet to support NEO). In addition, although there are some developments in respect of mobile wallets for NEO, none of the below wallets have mobile apps available at present.
Other issues to consider when choosing your NEO wallet are whether the wallet supports both NEO and GAS. Most of the below options support both, but there are other wallets on the market that do not. Therefore, if you have NEO, make sure you are using a compatible wallet that allows you to claim GAS generated by your holding.
Finally, and most importantly, be vigilant. The wallets reviewed below are all legitimate but again, as a new currency, the security is not as developed as it is with some of the other popular currencies. Therefore, if you decide to go with a wallet that is not one of those referred to below, do your research and make sure that you are not being scammed or hacked – as always, it is your responsibility to keep your cryptocurrencies safe by never sharing your private keys with anyone and making sure you have them backed up somewhere safe.
Desktop Wallets / Web Wallets
These desktop wallet clients are software which you can download to your local computer to run them. They should only be used on a machine with good security that you are sure is free from malware and viruses. The reason for this, is that newer types of these malicious programs have been designed specifically to steal private keys for popular cryptocurrencies, meaning you could lose access to your coins if not careful.
With Web wallets, you should also take care to make sure you are on the correct URL – check your browser bar to make sure as there are often “phishing” websites which have been created to take advantage of people and obtain their private keys. You should add the correct URL to your bookmarks and only access it from there – Never click a link in an email, on Twitter, Slack or other methods, always use your bookmark.
Developed by City of Zion and approved by NEO’s developers, the NEON wallet is a ‘light’ wallet (i.e. it allows users to interact with their currencies on the NEO blockchain without having to store all of the data locally). The upside of light wallets is that it saves a significant amount of processing space, time and money. However, the downside is that you are putting more trust in a single, remote version of the blockchain. However, as a desktop wallet, private keys are never stored on NEON’s servers, which should provide a level of comfort to users.
The NEON wallet allows users to store, send and receive both NEO currencies, and it also allows users to claim automatically generated GAS if they hold NEO in the wallet (with each NEO block generated on the blockchain, GAS is distributed to all NEO holders).
The NEON desktop wallet is available for Windows, Mac or Linux.
The NEO GUI wallet is one of the ‘official’ desktop wallets for NEO, meaning that it was developed by the NEO developers. A GUI wallet, the NEO GUI wallet is developed to allow users to interact with it via a graphical user interface.
Unlike the NEON wallet, the NEO GUI is not a ‘light’ wallet, but instead is a synchronising wallet, which means that it downloads the blockchain onto your system. This can take up a lot of space on your hard drive, as well as taking a significant amount of time to download. Once the blockchain has downloaded, NEO GUI allows users to create a new wallet with password protection, as well as providing for the ability to make a backup of the wallet by encrypting the private key.
The NEO GUI wallet also allows users to send and receive both NEO and GAS, as well as allowing for GAS generation rewards for anybody that holds NEO tokens.
The NEO GUI wallet is available (in English and Chinese only) for Windows only (Windows 7 SP1 or later).
The NEO CLI wallet is another of the NEO desktop wallets that has been created by the NEO developers. The primary difference between this wallet and the NEO GUI is that this wallet is controlled by command line prompts. This initiative makes the NEO CLI wallet more suitable for advanced users that are comfortable with CLI language.
Similar to the other desktop wallets, the NEO CLI allows users to store, send and receive both NEO and GAS and allows NEO shareholders to claim their GAS generated tokens.
The NEO CLI wallet is available (In English only) for Windows and Linux.
The NEO Tracker wallet is a ‘light’ web wallet that has been developed independently from NEO and allows NEO holders to interact with and explore the NEO blockchain via the web. Developed as an open-source project, the NEO Tracker officially acts as an ‘offline’ wallet, in the sense that the data necessary to explore the blockchain is generated by the user’s browser, and no information is stored on NEO Tracker’s servers.
The NEO Tracker wallet allows users to store, send and receive NEO and GAS, as well as allowing users to claim any GAS generated relating to the amount of NEO that they hold.
In addition, the NEO Tracker wallet allows users to take their NEO into cold storage by allowing for the printing of paper wallets (i.e. pieces of paper with the public key and private key printed on them).
The NEO Tracker wallet is currently available (in English only) through the Chrome and Edge internet browsers.
The NEO Wallet is a ‘light’ wallet developed by and maintained by the NEO community development team. Based on API (Application Programming Interface), the NEO Wallet allows for all messages to be encrypted before transmission. Similar to the NEO Tracker, the NEO Wallet is officially an ‘offline’ wallet, meaning that no wallet files or private keys are uploaded onto the NEO wallet server.
The NEO Wallet allows users full interaction with the NEO blockchain, thereby allowing them to store, send and receive both NEO and GAS, as well as claiming any GAS coins generated from their NEO holdings.
The NEO Wallet is currently available (in English and Chinese) through the Chrome and Edge internet browsers.
Despite the somewhat confusing naming similarities to NEO Wallet, NEOWallet is a separate project. It is a free, open source, ‘light’ web wallet that has been developed by the OnChain development team. Similar to the other web wallets reviewed, NEOWallet acts as an ‘offline’ wallet by ensuring that users’ private keys are not stored on the developers’ servers.
In addition, NEOWallet also allows users to make transactions in both NEO and GAS, as well as claiming any GAS that is generated in proportion to the users’ NEO holdings.
NEOWallet is currently available (in English and Chinese) through the Chrome and Edge internet browsers.
As noted previously, paper wallets are simply printed pieces of paper that contain a cryptocurrency public address and private key that are accessed using a QR code.
The advantage of using the Ansy paper wallet is that it takes the form of cold storage as the wallet is not connected to the internet. Therefore, providing that the paper is stored securely, the Ansy paper wallet should reduce any risk of your NEO being hacked.
Using the QR code that applies to the public address, the Ansy paper wallet allows users to send any amount of NEO to be stored. Using the private key, users can access their NEO tokens or GAS coins for spending.
However, although the Ansy wallet is compatible with both NEO and GAS, as the tokens are taken into cold storage, the wallet does not allow for GAS coins to be generated by the holders of NEO.
Ansy paper wallets are available for download through the Chrome or Edge browsers.
The wallets reviewed above represent the best options currently available for storing NEO and GAS. As the popularity of the NEO blockchain continues, it is likely that more and more options will become available, especially in the area of hardware and mobile wallets.
For now, however, whether you are choosing one of the above wallets or any other NEO wallet, make sure that you have fully researched the background and development of the wallet to ensure that it is legitimate. And finally, as with any other cryptocurrency wallet, make sure that you back up your wallet and that your backups are secured in a safe place.
Finally, don’t be tempted to leave your NEO or GAS on an exchange. Aside from safety issues, this advice is especially applicable to NEO, where most of the wallets available enable NEO holders to generate GAS tokens. If you’re NEO is on an exchange, the GAS is going to them!