NEAR EVM Update: What You Need To Know


The ETH – NEAR Rainbow Bridge is a first-of-it’s-kind fully permissionless bridge between the NEAR and Ethereum blockchains. Currently under development by the NEAR Team, it stands as one of the most anticipated products in crypto waiting to go live. In line with its development, the NEAR EVM Team, recently held an open discussion posted on YouTube relaying progress on the bridge, while also setting development expectations for the coming quarter. 

Here is What You Need To Know

The Rainbow Bridge is Being Built At Record Speed

To start off the session, the developers went over Quarter 4 goals to date. While the aspirational goal of reaching test-net was not reached in Q4, other goals were clearly reached including: 

(1) Substantial documentation updates, with close to 10 different pages added to the documentation including a tutorial for how to use the EVM as well as working examples for the native flow and the metamask flow. 

(2) Users can now use MetaMask to issue NEAR EVM transactions using dApp access keys. 

Quarter 1 Updates: nETH will Base the EVM 

Quarter 1 has been defined to date, with aligning everyone in a common direction for further EVM development. One of the most important decisions taken in this alignment was to choose nETH as the base token for the EVM. While the different team members provide their reasons for this on the call, there has also been a committed Post on the NEAR Governance Forum

The primary reason listed on the call for settling with nETH is that other projects that have not utilized a form of ETH as their base token, have witnessed limited adoption. 100% Ethereum compatibility is thrown into question by other bridges in the space. 

Beyond this status update, the team also outlined a preliminary structure for this scheme:

Dr. Alex Shevchenko made the following comment about the bridge from a user perspective: 

“From a user point of view this is really good because it is atomic: You schedule one transaction. It is also secure because you can see that ETH is not lending on any account on NEAR except for the user account. There is no intermediate place where we are putting ETH.” 

EVM Test-Net is in Sight!

In one of the most important announcements on the EVM working group call, Arto announced that a clearly defined goal for Q1 development is to launch the EVM on Testnet. This launch is characterized with three key focuses: (1) DevEx, (2) User Experience, and (3) Support for DeFi Apps. 

On the topic of DevEx, Arto added the following:

“We care a lot about DevX and have done a lot of work in the last quarter, on having a Web compatible RPC endpoint which means that for ETH development, to be able to deploy these projects is ultimately just a matter of deploying the end point URL. So we haven’t defined yet the metric here but we would like something like partners to be able to deploy their projects easily starting with a link to onboarding documentation for how to do all of this.”

Support for DeFi apps was categorized as a cross-team objective so that NEAR partners can start test-deploying their solutions on NEAR, once the bridge is ready to go: 

“For most of our partners to succeed in deploying they should be able to deploy their apps to test-net once it is all up and going and they should certainly be able to bring it over.”

When Can We Expect The Launch of The EVM on Mainnet?

The aspirational goal for Q1 is to launch on Mainnet at the end of the quarter. But in order for that to happen the team outlines the following conditions to be met:  

The simple answer: Most likely in early to mid quarter 2 depending on how quickly the team can progress and how well new-hires can jump into things. 

Final Point: The NEAR Team is Hiring! 

Both Arto and Alex were keen to emphasize that the NEAR Team is hiring talented Devs that can join the EVM team to help build out the bridge! A Nice ‘Finders Fee’ is included for any team that can find skilled people for the job!