An Action Packed NEAR Community Townhall #2:


The second townhall in the NEAR Ecosystem was confidence inspiring and content packed! For an hour and a half, the key players on the NEAR team went through in detail where NEAR has been, what the current status of many initiatives are, and where NEAR is going. A number of highly important points were made during the townhall, relevant for the future development of the NEAR Ecosystem. 

Where Did NEAR Start? 

The townhall kicked off with Alex and Illia discussing the origins of NEAR: It started in 2018, when Alex and Illia were working on an AI based project that they wanted to improve into something similar to Gitcoin. They started using Ethereum to do this, but as they were exploring this idea, they realized that for simple use cases, they would be doing a task and they would end up paying more in transaction fees than they would pay the contractors themselves. That didn’t make any sense, and it prompted a deeper dive into the state of blockchain:

The Inspiring Goal of NEAR: 

“Decentralized Organizations, Open Web, Ownership Economy – they will all operate and be enabled by blockchain, and operate in a borderless fashion being completely community driven without anyone having control over them.” – Alex Skidanov

After the introduction to the origin of NEAR, Alex launched into the main goal of NEAR especially in the context of the type of world that NEAR is going to try to bring about: 

A world where innovation and creativity can flourish, with musicians and artists being rewarded directly. Many new business models will appear – and this is the future that we want to build. When we build NEAR we are not thinking about building a platform for existing use-cases to scale to hundreds of thousands of users, we are thinking of the platform which will enable the decentralized internet of value in the decades to come at scale – Alex S. 

From Origin to Launch: 

The next part of the townhall was a short recap on the launch of NEAR Mainnet. The main points about the timeline and goals of this process include: 

NEAR Mainnet started small and as more was learned, it was expanded into this bigger vision. It became clear during this process that to build NEAR one of the core needs was to solve scalability. 

A second thing that became apparent was Usability. The ability for developers to really quickly go from 0 to their idea – for users to actually be able to use it. If you build your prototype it works. 

The launch spanned from April to October – while NEAR launched after 27 months of building.

Erik Trautman on the Purpose of NEAR: 

Towards the middle of the townhall, CEO of the NEAR Foundation Erik Trautman went over the underlying ethos of NEAR:

“The Purpose of NEAR is to drive community driven innovation to benefit people from around the world. We help builders make stuff and we try to help them distribute that stuff.” – NEAR CEO Erik Trautman 

He then took the time to explain clearly and concisely what exactly NEAR Is: 

What is NEAR? Specifically NEAR is a fundamentally reimagined layer 1 blockchain, It is not a sidechain, it is not a dApp, it is not a layer 2. It is a full blockchain that runs its own independent consensus with its own independent security. The benefits of reinventing that blockchain is that, with this dual mandate that we have to focus on scalability and usability, the only way to address that is to start from the ground up. 

The NEAR Network is Live: Here’s What’s Possible on NEAR Today 

Beyond the key stats shared about accounts, contract deployment and transactions on NEAR, the most important piece of information was shared relating to sharding and the capacity for NEAR to scale: 

“Sharding allows NEAR to scale linearly – in a single shard we can execute around 20,000 transactions per second. Initially launch with 8 shards, and with community governance we will go to 16 – 32 and then beyond.” – Illia P. 

According to Illia: 

“Sharding is critical for bringing a lot of applications and making them successful. The other critical piece is having assets and being able to operate inside the economy.”

More concretely, this means that the build out on opt of NEAR in the future will be centered upon bringing the core building blocks of an open-economy, and open-web onto NEAR to jumpstart development: 

“Tooling and Apps will take some time to build and some time to make sure they are robust. There are a number of ETH applications that are already battle tested.”

Bootstrapping Open Finance, as it was labelled, includes bringing Oracles, Stable Coins, Automated Market Makers, Decentralized Exchanges, Lending, and Risk Management onto NEAR as the core building blocks of the future open economy. 

NEAR Business Development: Alive and Well with Sasha! 

The third and final presentation from a core NEAR team member came from Sasha (Aliaksandr) on the current status of business development upon NEAR. The news he brought was highly important for the entire community:

“The NEAR team is working closely with 17 applications right now, launching at different points in time in November, December, January and February.” – Sasha

Not only is the NEAR team actively stewarding these next projects within the ecosystem – they are also building out community and support systems around the project. As Sasha went on to discuss, this included University Blockchain Groups in the future as a unique target offering for the future of the Open Web. 

Sasha put forward a very important comparison of NEAR in relation to Bitcoin and Ethereum – one that seems poised to fit: 

Bitcoin = Open Money

Ethereum = Open Finance

NEAR = Open Web

What Can You Build on NEAR? What is Already Building on NEAR? 

The final part of the community townhall was devoted to showcasing some of the fascinating projects building and updates on NEAR from the Rainbow hackathon: 

yNEAR – Allows you to send NEAR to Ethereum for DeFi purposes. 

Planetary – AI generated NFT’s that users have the capacity to Harvest and breed. 

Trust Token – Is integrating their stablecoin on NEAR. 

The NEAR Merchandise Store is Launching Soon! 

In what was a total of 1 hour 24min townhall, the NEAR Team covered the comprehensive essentials of where the project stands, as well as where it is going. For any community member, investor, or user interested in building the future of the open web or participating in NEAR, there is no better time to get started!