4NTS and GooGuild: A Business Development Proposal For NEAR Protocol
The NEAR Ecosystem is rapidly developing. Based upon its innovative technical design there is a large amount of untapped potential in the protocol’s capacity to handle a diverse range of projects and products. 4NTS and GooGuild believe that a comprehensive plan of action is needed to fully develop this potential – across continents and Web3 solution verticals.
The proposal below outlines, in detail, what such a plan might look like. This starts by emphasizing the importance of laying a foundation in the short term so as to create robust and sustainable development over the long term. Specific attention is then given to the types of development the NEAR Ecosystem might focus on bringing to life: regional hubs around the world, Guild and DAO supporting infrastructure, accelerators for recruiting developers and entrepreneurs, as well as a specific focus on enterprise blockchain.
At the center of this strategy is the belief that development of the Open-Web must take place through human conversations, entrepreneurial collaboration, and enterprise engagement – in parallel with the rapid technical development taking place on NEAR.
Open-Source Protocols like NEAR are capable of accommodating a vast range of solutions and products. Within the crypto space, much focus is set exclusively on crypto-native solutions involving Decentralized Finance, Non-Fungible Tokens, and Social Tokens – and for good reason: As an emerging asset class a host of completely new opportunities have sprouted in recent years with high potential and low barriers to entry.
Nevertheless, the value proposition of NEAR protocol remains applicable beyond the niche realms of crypto-native products. In fact, building out NEAR protocol as a platform for enterprise solutions, integrations with other technologies, and a larger suite of Web3 products (Finance, Privacy, Identity, Data) is important on the macro-crypto landscape in the coming decade.
To truly commercialize NEAR involves a holistic approach to promoting and developing the Ecosystem across multiple frontiers:
1.1 Enterprise Blockchain
For years, enterprise blockchain has been touted as an overhyped category of crypto that has failed to garner significant traction. While enterprises have typically avoided hashing data onto public smart contract platforms (largely due to privacy concerns, regulatory uncertainty, lack of broad accept and deep understanding of the topic) it is clear that blockchain-based data management is a future priority for many executes, as well as existing Web2 companies.
According to Deloitte, “84% of Executives believe that blockchain will reach the mainstream eventually.” Meanwhile, according to IDC, “Worldwide spending on blockchain solutions in 2019 is forecast to be $2.7 billion, an increase of 80% over 2018 with a forecast to reach $15.9 billion in 2023.”
Enterprise Blockchain Means More Than Corporate Adoption
– Existing Web2 Software Service Companies.
– Emerging Technology Integrations with AI / ML / IoT Companies
– Publicly Supported Private Infrastructure Development
It is important for NEAR to establish itself as a solution for B2B business not only because of the value that the protocol offers, but also for the larger network effects and positive feedback loops that such collaborations can bring to the protocol over time.
“What technologies win — is much less dependent on the merits of the technology and much more dependent on network effects, path dependencies, luck, all of these things. I think that is very important to keep in mind.” – Frank Braun, PhD, NEAR EVM Team
Private Sharding on NEAR
A foundation for enterprise solutions on NEAR already exists with the opportunity to significantly expand into the future. Such solutions revolve around the notion of private shards, and have been explained by Illia before:
“[…] in use cases around enterprises and public infrastructure…this is something that NEAR can also solve. Enterprises can easily spin up a “private shard” (similar to SaaS, or as Baidu and Alibaba call it – BaaS) for these private use cases, without any upfront investment or forming a consortium.
A private shard can also communicate with other private shards, but more importantly, communicate with applications on NEAR’s public blockchain. Essentially, various private shards can use the common public protocol to cooperate with each other while relying on the consensus to ensure security.
4NTS and GooGuild believe that not only does private sharding and B2B solutions require more support and discussion within the Ecosystem, but that there should be an active ecosystem strategy for bringing such players into the ecosystem to build or run private enterprise solutions.
1.2 Startup Infrastructure for Developers and Entrepreneurs
The second category of a comprehensive business development strategy, revolves around providing startup infrastructure for developers and entrepreneurs looking to build solutions on top of NEAR. The NEAR Foundation is already doing an exceptional job on this front with the rapid development of Guilds and DAOs, the NEAR Grants program, as well as the Open Web Collective Accelerator.
To enhance this development looking ahead to the future, 4NTS and GooGuild believe that a project value chain can be created within the Ecosystem by creating and aligning the following entities:
The value chain would operate in the following manner:
– Regional or Continental Headquarters with committed Co-Working spaces are established via umbrella support and management from a specific Guild.
– Guilds incubate products by funding members to develop unique solutions or by collaborating with other Guilds building products.
– DAO’s – either regionally focused or project / industry focused – work in unison with Guilds to identify and build out early stage solutions. DAO’s furthermore connect fast-growing projects to larger Venture Capital support in the Web3 space.
– Accelerators, either run by a Guild itself, or from an external entity capable of helping projects grow, develop product market fit, and strategize entrance to new markets.
Case in Point – The Xoogler Accelerator: Antler and Entrepreneur First are legendary startup accelerators that focus on simply bringing the right people together, to look for a common solution. GooGuild – an offshoot of Xoogler – has the capacity to provide a similar service to the NEAR Ecosystem, with the added benefit of having Guilds and DAO infrastructure already in place. A Xoogler accelerator would provide design feedback, mentorship, external capital to the NEAR ecosystem, and a pathway to the market for new startups building on top of NEAR. As a complimentary initiative to the Open Web Collective, the help and support from a Xoogler accelerator, would be a long term initiative that would start reaping benefits for the ecosystem two to three years down the road.
The goal of this value chain is to set in motion positive feedback loops that are completely self-sustaining and decentralized, apart from initial funding and support from the NEAR Foundation. Establishing multiple value chains across different continents would not only bring a host of new solutions onto NEAR, but would also incubate new guilds, contributors, and builders for existing ecosystem solutions.
1.3 Policymakers and Consortium Initiatives
A final consideration for the ecosystem, focuses on the importance of engagement with policymakers and consortium initiatives. As recent interest from the city of Miami has demonstrated, open-source protocols like NEAR have an opportunity to not only appeal to companies and entrepreneurs, but also governments, associations, and larger industry consortiums.
Active representation and participation in such forums is important for NEARs brand as well as it’s business development trajectory into the future. Forums that would be interesting for NEAR to have representation at include:
– The International Association of Trusted Blockchain Applications (INATBA)
– The International Token Standardization Association (ITSA)
– The Blockchain Research Institute (BRI)
As a long term approach, open dialogue and engagement between NEAR and these forums will advance NEAR’s development interests, as well as the overall vision of an Open Web. For instance, the Blockchain Research Institute has yet to publish any research relating to Privacy and blockchain based privacy solutions.
1.4 The Web3 Application Ideas Bank (WAIB)
To structure these different initiatives, NEAR is already putting in place the infrastructure for incubating ideas for Web3 applications. The Web3 Application Ideas Bank (WAIB) will launch as a part of the Sandbox in the coming weeks. It will provide a foundation to connect different Guids, DAOs, and outreach initiatives to concrete solutions that have already been imagined.
NEAR Protocol is young. As it continues to grow, the entire ecosystem may benefit from a coordinated and intentional outreach strategy that seeks to bridge the best practices of native crypto development, with enterprise and alternative outreach strategies. 4NTS and GooGuild look forward to starting a conversation with the NEAR Foundation, the NEAR Developer Relations, Marketing, and other teams, as well as the many other Guilds and DAOs in the ecosystem to better structure and develop this strategy.
Join the discussion on the NEAR Protocol Governance Forum