Education at NEAR: Scalable Affordable dApps for Hackers and Entrepreneurs


At BlockHash Live 2020, (3:17.29) NEAR Head of Education Sherif Abushadi spoke about the way the NEAR team has been building NEAR Protocol in light of the evolution of the world wide web, the future of cryptocurrency, and the nature of open-source project development. In parallel, the NEAR Education Guild led by NEAR’s James Waup, is planning to launch in the coming month by supporting research and ecosystem development on all things related to learning about and building on NEAR. 

“Building a strong community is hard and takes time to get right (and a lot of luck). You basically want to attract the biggest and brightest minds but to do so you have to have a compelling narrative that gets these people excited and motivated.” – The Daily Gwei 

What is the Open Web? Getting Behind The Narrative Grounding NEAR

Sherif delved into the history, present, and future of the web in his BlockHash Livestream. Covering the development of Web 0, Web 1, Web 2, and now Web 3, Sherif contextualized the development of NEAR within the revolutionary paradigm shift that distributed ledgers and digital tokens propose for creating a new internet of trustless value. 

While Web2 has been characterized by ‘broadcast media’ and the capacity to share large amounts of information, images, and videos with other people, Web3 is characterized by decentralization and ownership. 

In Web2 we are used to fast, cheap data. In Web3 one of the core features will be data unassailability and data permanence. This is a major shift.

– Sherif Abushadi, NEAR Head of Education

The narrative that NEAR embraces as a Layer 1 Protocol, is that it is uniquely positioned to not only scalably develop the Open Web – but to do so in a way that puts users and developers first. That vision is at the heart of what NEAR hopes to achieve: A scalable and usable Web3 platform capable of achieving mass adoption. 

Developers can Expect Easy Building and Built in Optimizations on NEAR:

To date, most blockchain protocols require developers to learn a special programming language in order to create smart contracts and applications (i.e. Solidity). NEAR approaches development by making it easy for existing developers (From Web2) to easily start building in familiar languages: Contracts are written using AssemblyScript or Rust and compiled to Wasm, which is almost Javascript, 

In addition, Sherif explains how optimizations on NEAR are built into the protocol, resulting in a network that is 10x-100x cheaper than ETH, where developers get 30% of the transactions that your smart contract uses, and where 1 second block time and 3 second finality make it easy to rapidly send transactions onto the network.

There Are A Lot of Opportunities To Get Started As A Developer or Entrepreneur On NEAR:

The Open Web Collective (-15 million raise for projects in 2020): Founders and teams have the opportunity to apply to the Open Web Collective as a unique crypto accelerator for their project dealing with all aspects of product design, business development, funding and team building. For more on the opportunities available click here. 

NEAR Grants Program (100k NEAR Budget): For solo projects, small fixes, events, NEAR is about to start their Grant program. This opportunity is for Web3 project planners, NEAR Community Members, and Guilds to leverage the grant system to continue to build the ecosystem. 

NEAR Bounty Program (50k NEAR Budget): At community members and public hackers have the opportunity to help build certain aspects of the NEAR ecosystem for a set reward. Bounties can be set by team members or Guilds. 

Figment Learn Pathway for NEAR: NEAR recently partnered with Figment Learn to provide a pathway for developers to start building dApps on NEAR. Completing the pathway will earn prospective developers 10 NEAR and also provide them with a basic overview of development on NEAR!

Gitcoin Kernel (8 Week Fellowship): Last but not least, through Gitcoin Kernel, developers have the opportunity to apply for an eight week fellowship to fully develop a specific project within the NEAR Ecosystem – this could relate to the EVM, Rainbow bridge, or any project or protocol building on top of NEAR! 

The NEAR Education Guild is Here!

The recently launched NEAR Education Guild is a collaborative place to discuss the growth of the NEAR community, set and earn bounties on communicating NEAR, and working with other interested community members interested in understanding all of the facets of NEAR protocol. As NEAR is a young protocol, and the education guild is even younger there is a world of opportunity for interested crypto enthusiasts, Web2 developers and genuine intellectuals interested in the new frontier of opportunity provided by the Open Web! To join the conversation, click here.