Near Protocol is a decentralized development platform that operates on the top of the Near Protocol blockchain, making it easy for developers to build decentralized applications by overcoming the Blockchain Trilemma (Security, Scalability, and Decentralization). The Near Protocol blockchain is “permissionless, performant and secure.” In short, Near Protocol wants to enable developers to build high-performance DApps. It believes that it is the only project capable of taking open finance projects to the world of the Open Web in the future.
In Near Protocol’s own words, they are built for “running applications which have access to a shared — and secure — pool of money, identity and data which is owned by their users. More technically, it combines the features of partition-resistant networking, serverless computing, and distributed storage into a new kind of platform.” It means that any decentralized application that involves their users locking in their funds or depositing funds, sharing their identity and data will find the Near Protocol platform perfect to build their applications.
What Problem Does Near Protocol Aim to Solve?
Talking about use cases of Near Protocol, we can take the instance of Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services to understand how and why Near Protocol plays a crucial role today in the blockchain space. Both Microsoft Azure & Amazon Web Services power the majority of web infrastructure globally today. These two are also the most used cloud platforms for application deployment. There is no doubt that there are benefits of deploying applications on these cloud platforms. For example, developers find it easier to make software updates when the applications are deployed on Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services cloud. But there are more than a few disadvantages as well.
Both Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services are owned and operated by a single entity, which means that the centralized entity has access to user data. If they want, they can censor, alter, hack, and sell your user data on their own or the government’s direction. On the other hand, when a cloud platform is operated by a distributed and open community, allowing anyone to join them, decentralized applications will become truly decentralized and safe. No parties with dubious intent can hack such a cloud platform as there is no single point of failure. To implement any changes, a consensus will be needed among the community members. There is also an advantage for developers in this form of cloud deployment. The applications, which they deploy can be locked to prevent any changes to them.
How does Near Protocol Work?
The concept of blockchain-based community cloud platforms started gaining traction with Bitcoin and Ethereum. It was perfected further by Near Protocol as it solves the three challenges of usability, scalability, and security. By solving these challenges, Near Protocol is helping blockchain gain mainstream adoption. Achieving success in the community cloud model is easier said than done. It requires economic incentives for the community, without which the community cloud platform won’t succeed. That is where Near Protocol’s NEAR token plays a crucial role in the Near Protocol community.
As we said above, NEAR offers a community-operated cloud platform, which enables developers to build their censorship-resistant back-ends for their decentralized applications. These back-end components are nothing but smart contracts.
The first crucial segment of Near Protocol is nodes. The nodes are operated by numerous individuals and organizations globally. They offer a portion of their hard drives on laptops and professionally deployed servers. Developers write the codes for smart contracts and deploy their applications to this Near platform cloud. The process of deploying smart contracts on a Near platform cloud is no different than deploying applications on a central cloud platform.
The developer will change the status of the application to immutable after deployment on the Near Protocol cloud. The developers and users of an application deployed on Near Protocol will have to pay for using the infrastructure to the community operators of Near Protocol. It is also interesting that this concept is quite similar to how developers pay Google or Amazon on the number of requests by their users. Near has knowingly shied away from implementing pricing based on system congestion to make pricing transparent and easy to understand.
History of Near Protocol
In its beginning days, Near Protocol was a machine learning platform. It was launched by Illia Polosukhin and Alexander Skidanov in 2017. Back then, it was known as Near.ai. While researching, they got to know about smart contracts and cryptocurrencies, which they found very interesting. They were compelled to research and explore more about crypto space.
They started looking into available blockchain platforms to build their applications. But they concluded that no blockchain platform could meet their requirements and expectations. Thus, they launched Near Protocol to fulfill their internal needs. It was clear to both Illia Polosukhin and Alexander Skidanov that they want to build a massively scalable blockchain platform to enable developers to deploy their powerful DApps. Thus, instead of Proof-of-Work, they chose the Proof-of-Stake mechanism.
Illia Polosukhin has a Master’s Degree in Applied Math & Computer Sciences from National Technical University’s Kharkiv Polytechnic Institute. He joined Salford Systems in 2008 as a software engineer. Then, he joined Google as Engineering Manager in 2014. Currently, he is working with Near Protocol as a co-founder since 2017.
Alexander Skidanov has a Master’s Degree in Computer Sciences from Izhevsk State Technical University. He joined Microsoft as a software developer and then joined MemSQL, where he worked for five years as a Senior Software Developer and Director of Engineering. Since June 2017, he is working as the co-founder of Near Protocol along with Ilia Polosukhin.
The background of both Alexander and Illia shows their skills and qualifications. In 2008, Alexander won the ICPC gold medal, which is awarded after a rigorous competition between college students worldwide. Illia was a finalist in the same competition. Investors saw a huge potential in Near Protocol. Thus, within the first four months, even before they built anything, Near Protocol raised $50 million. That, too, in a bear market. In the early days, there were only two team members – Alexander Skidanov and Illia Polosukhin. But the team strength grew to 10 within a few days of launch. Near Protocol team is known as Near Collective today, and it has over 80 employees now.
What is Near Collective?
Near Collective is a team consisting of globally renowned experts behind the Near Protocol blockchain. They aim to take the Near Protocol project forward by developing it at the highest level. Near Collective’s main goal is to keep the Near Protocol blockchain massively scalable to support developer needs and maintain the user experience of both the developers and the end-users.
The native token of Near Protocol is NEAR, and it powers the economy within the Near Protocol ecosystem. Developers and users will use Near tokens to pay for data storage and transactions to the system. Any user who wants to participate in the network as a node can do so by staking NEAR tokens. All NEAR token holders also receive voting rights to participate in the Near Protocol governance process and vote on important issues that will decide the future path of Near Protocol.
The maximum supply of NEAR tokens is 1,000,000,000, and at the time of writing, its circulating supply is 394,718,621. At times of genesis, a total of 1,000,000,000 NEAR tokens were created. 17.2% of NEAR token supply at the time of genesis was set aside for Community grants and programs, 14% of NEAR tokens were for core contributors. 11.4% of NEAR token supply was for operations grant, and backers of Near Protocol were to receive 17.2% of NEAR token supply.
Near Protocol’s foundation endowment received 10%, whereas early ecosystem members received 11.7% of NEAR’s supply. 12% of its supply was for community sale, and 6.1% of NEAR’s supply was set aside for small backers of the project.
How to Buy Near Protocol (NEAR)
Near Protocol (NEAR) is available on the following exchanges:
Binance – Use Discount Code: EE59L0QP for 10% cashback off all trading fees. Best for Australia, Canada, Singapore, UK, and most of the world. USA residents are prohibited from buying NEAR.
Gate.io was established in 2013, and is one of the more reputable exchanges to buy NEAR. Best for USA residents.
Near Protocol – The Go-to Blockchain for Developers
Near Protocol has so much going for it. They have a world-class team, enough funding, and a strong community. The only department they are lacking in is marketing. If Near Protocol puts in some more effort in marketing, they can build much-needed hype around their project. Tackling the issue of lack of exposure can do wonders for the Near Protocol and its community. As of now, Near is facing strong competition from both Ethereum and Polkadot Network. It would be interesting to see if Near Protocol keeps on competing against the leading blockchain platforms or carve its niche within the vast blockchain space. Overall, Near Protocol has it all that makes a crypto project successful.