Until now, NEAR Protocol has quietly grown as a scalable, proof-of-stake network. This week, the Layer 1 blockchain, hit a milestone with the NEAR token reaching an all-time high of $18.70. This may be in part because NEAR has started making the headlines as Forbes named Near Protocol as the third fastest-growing cryptocurrency ecosystem for developers in 2021.
This is a sure sign that they are sticking to their goal ‘to be on onramp for millions of people to join the Web3 revolution.’ Bitcoin is trading 6.2% down on the month and NEAR is trading 98% up according to data from Messari. This is an incredible achievement with the crypto markets overall getting off to a rocky start to the year.
Timing and the bull run in the NFT market, is helping to shine a spotlight on NEAR as they were very early in the market to put a strong focus on NFT projects. NFT marketplace hub, Mintbase positioned itself as the Shopify of the NFT world. Now with 919 stores as NFT community hubs, Mintbase is a key technology provider in the NFT arena.
NEAR Protocol is the brainchild of former Google engineer Illia Polosukhin and Microsoft developer Alexander Skidanov. In addition to the core team, the projects choosing NEAR as their blockchain partners are quickly becoming go-to resources for individuals and organizations seeking to build within the blockchain space. Flux, Mintbase and Paras are three different examples of how NEAR are expanding their ecosystem.
A community-led ecosystem with positive user sentiment
NEAR has put a strong focus on accessibility and user-friendliness with a user-first approach when designing its features and a commitment to broader education around the utility of blockchain technology. Users of NEAR protocol are enjoying the experience.
In the last year, NFTs have shot to fame with artists, developers, musicians and even famous athletes jumping into the scene. NEAR’s NFT community has been waiting in the curtains and are now center stage, using ultra-fast sharding technology to mint NFTs at speed and scale.
Celebrities and entrepreneurs crossing over from traditional markets to the world of NFTs are finding a home with NEAR protocol. Electronic music producer Deadmau5 has collaborated with NEAR and the Mintbase platform for the NFT release of his single. Half of all of the ‘This is fine’ singles are being sold on Mintbase. Due to this heavy push on outreach, today Mintbase has over 918 marketplace on the move.
Another NEAR project to note is DAORecords, a marketplace that aims to reinvent the record label with exclusive events and drops in the Cryptovoxels metaverse. NFT marketplace Paras NEAR users can create digital trading cards for their collections. They are also aping into the Game-Fi scene with fractional ownership NFT models for in-game experiences with the OP Games project. The experienced founders of OP Games are long-term gamers and know how to tap into the expectations of players in the Web3 arcade.
Continuous improvements in technical development and education
To date, NEAR developers have remained steadily focused on building a fast, scalable blockchain. As a sharded network, it can process transactions faster and in larger quantities while maintaining the security of the blockchain.
The team has also built in a mechanism where the network can be dynamically adjusted based on user demand, making it more cost-efficient for existing users on the platform while allowing for the needed increase in activity.
The team is also continuously emphasizing the role of education across their platforms, offering tools and courses through the NEAR academy, grants to on board as many developers as possible and guiding projects that need to be directed in how to use the applications being built on their system.
This enterprising attitude has certainly registered with projects interested in getting involved in the Web3 space. Just recently it has launched a hackathon called Metabuild which offers participants the chance to win from a $1M prize pool.
Build on #NEAR, the most developer-friendly Layer-1 blockchain.
Simple. Scalable. Secure.
Join 1000+ other participants and get a chance to win from the $1M Prize Pool!🏆
— NEAR Protocol (@NEARProtocol) January 4, 2022
It may have been the underdog up until now but as the number of projects within its growing ecosystem continue to shine a spotlight on the scalable solutions on offer, NEAR is quickly coming into focus.