4NTS Guild recently sat down with Steve Huang from the NEAR Chinese Community to get an update on the development of NEAR protocol in China and the larger Asian community. As a status update for the rest of the NEAR community, there are a number of important takeaways relating to the global development of NEAR Protocol including a link to the most recent NEAR Chinese Community AMA:
Point 1: NEAR Has A Solid Chinese Team
What may come as a surprise for many in Crypto from Europe and North America, is that NEAR has a well-established Chinese team based out of Shanghai and led by NEAR Co-Founder Ilia Polosukhin.
As Joyce Yang of Global Coin Research originally explained on Building the Open Web Podcast #23:
In total Steve, Amos, and Ilia are all based out of Shanghai, while other team members work remotely from other parts of China. Active engagement with the Chinese community is a core part of NEAR’s China engagement strategy, and as such Ilia and Amos partake in Weekly AMA’s on WeChat. For the most recent one that has been translated see Here.
Point 2: The Chinese Community Is Large – And Expanding Quickly
Notably, the NEAR Chinese community is already large, and expanding rapidly. As the images below demonstrate, NEAR’s Chinese Community boasts an astounding 22 Guilds, with a WeChat community of 9,000 strong. Of the 22 Guilds, 2 are considered pure developer guilds looking to build native solutions on NEAR, or using the Rainbow Bridge (more on this below).
A notable business development gem explained in the NEAR Chinese Community AMA:
“Our Business Development team has actually talked to more than 300 projects thus far, spanning across a wide range of verticals, such as eSports gaming, transcoding services, p2p tournaments, social network, and various other use cases of NFT” – Chinese Community AMA.
A further question also explains NEAR’s approach to China in particular:
The Chinese market has become a huge emerging market that many projects concerns. Share with us some efforts have you made in rooting in the Chinese market, and what’s your plans on building the Chinese community?
China has the largest internet user base in the world and is pretty much cashless. Applications tend to iterate and grow faster in China, and people are much more willing to try out new things. As a project aiming to make blockchain usable for every day users, we place a great strategic focus in China because it’s probably the best place for us to get a bunch of innovative entrepreneurs and a large set of users to help us with quick product iteration.
Point 3: NEAR’s Asia Development Plan Is Just Getting Started
The NEAR China Community officially launched in 2019, and has been growing strong. NEAR Team efforts combined with a rapid growth in NEAR guilds has NEAR Expanding across much of Asia in the coming months. Notably, expansion is already planned into Indonesia, Japan and Vietnam. In this approach, the NEAR team will be focusing on Devs and Founders who will be building solutions on top of NEAR.
To date, many of the most active members in the NEAR Chinese Community already work in other Chinese crypto firms, and thus provide a sustainable foundation for organic development into the future.
The long term development goals of NEAR in China and the larger Asia region are also outlined from the AMA:
“We are already working with many local partners in China and will continue building on these relationships to get more developers, more entrepreneurs, and more users into NEAR’s ecosystem in the next a few years. I am personally super excited about NEAR’s potential in China.” – Chinese Community AMA Question 12.
Point 4: A Lot of Development Is Waiting for the Public Launch and Completion of the NEAR — ETH Rainbow Bridge
A final important point is to understand the importance of the development of the NEAR – ETH Bridge in the context of NEAR’s Asia Development Strategy. According to Steve, half of the Developers building on NEAR in China are waiting on the EVM to be implemented in order to bring their solution onto NEAR. The other half are already actively building solutions that will launch in the coming year.
And even though NEAR is trading on top Chinese exchanges with good support and liquidity, Steve emphasizes the focus of the NEAR team on cultivating developers to build long-term solutions that will bring value to the protocol:
“We are planning to do some localizations and some more localized events, we are planning to experiment with some educational series, and to introduce the technology side of NEAR to more audiences right now. We are still being careful though: We won’t hold any other trading competitions so far. That is not what NEAR aims for. NEAR Will mainly focus on developers and real blockchain users for now.”
As the NEAR China community grows rapidly, it is now easy to see why NEAR Co-Founder Ilia Polosukhin is known as @Ilblackdragon!