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Watch out Vitalik, we might be $NEAR the end of $ETH dominance: An Overview of NEAR’s Ecosystem

TL;DR -

Key Narratives

  • User-Friendly Chain
  • Proof-of-Stake capability
  • Decentralized Autonomous Transactions (DAOs)
  • Play-to-Earn
  • Ethereum Virtual Machine compatible
  • Minimal Transaction Fees

Things to consider

  • This ecosystem still lacks some DeFi building blocks (e.g. lending and yield aggregator)
  • Aurora will be an ETH L2 sidechain that will host dApps and act as a bridge between the networks
  • Inflationary aspect
  • 1Inch will release Mooniswap some time in Q4
  • Somnium Space Cubes is looking to build on NEAR
  • NearPad presents a great opportunity for IDOs and future DEX/yield aggregator services
  • Strong DAO/Guild community that seems organic and well-funded
  • News of Coinbase Ventures backing is resurfacing, and has led to a rally.
  • Anticipated Coinbase listing

Backstory

NEAR was formulated in 2017 as a machine learning protocol whose main aim was to automate programs to meet specific human needs and specifications. At the end of 2017, the NEAR development team shifted its focus to blockchain and smart contracts. The members of the NEAR team were not impressed by the selection of the available coins on the market during that period.

The team brought together qualified engineers to develop a scalable blockchain that focuses on developer and user friendliness. To achieve a user-friendly experience, NEAR has incorporated features like human-readable account names as opposed to only cryptographic wallet addresses, and the ability for new users to interact with dApps and smart contracts without requiring a wallet at all.

Team

General Overview

As a sharded EVM-compatible smart contract blockchain, NEAR’s adoption and growth over the past few months has been impressive. Unlike other blockchains, NEAR’s proof-of-stake and sharding capabilities allow it to scale at higher rates. The decentralized nature of NEAR allows for an impressive 100,000 transactions per second (TPS) with its current 60 validators.

NEAR has ensured an organic ecosystem that makes it stand out from its major competitors like $BSC, $MATIC, and $AVAX. The organic ecosystem of NEAR is heavily community-based, as evident from the NFT dApps, DAOs, Guilds, and social tokens surrounding the blockchain.

How does NEAR compare with the competition?

Source: Coin98

NEAR’s goal of 100,000 TPS makes it top of the list for the most scalable blockchain in the world. However, the truth is that it hasn’t reached this desired capacity yet. The anticipated sharding update later in the year could see a 5x — 8x increase in TPS.

NEAR also focuses on ensuring low start-up costs for new validators as part of their mission to become one of the most decentralized blockchains. There are currently around 60 NEAR validators, but the team projects 100 validators by year-end.

How is the user experience?

Compared to other 2nd generation smart contract chains, NEAR offers a unique and impressive user experience. This is mainly evident in wallet recovery. NEAR wallet recovery can be initiated via seed phrase recovery, email, text, and a 2-factor authentication recovery. Even though most of these approaches are not secure, a seed phrase is not ideal for most users.

NEAR also stands out from other blockchains as it allows its users to choose their preferred wallet address. This makes it easy for the users to remember their wallets as they are at liberty to select any name they can easily recall, such as their Twitter handle or nickname.

The discussed attributes of NEAR could influence the growth of the blockchain across different communities, with the gaming community being top of the list as users can easily replicate their gaming screen name to the NEAR platform. It also makes it easier for the blockchain to be adapted by users who have little or no knowledge of crypto.

NEAR Infrastructure

Bridging

The main bridge that connects NEAR to ETH is the Rainbow Bridge. However, the bridge is inefficient by today’s standards, which makes it a key contributor to the slow TVL and overall ecosystem growth.

Aurora is also a bridge for NEAR. Though Aurora is mainly a side chain (L2) running on the Rainbow Bridge, it will help in the easy plugging of dApps into NEAR. The Aurora sidechain, which is said to be more than a Layer 2, is expected to be rolled out later this year.

Interoperability

The Octopus Network will be the key to ensuring improved interoperability between NEAR and other blockchains. This POS app chain ensures connectivity between various blockchain dApps, providing shared liquidity even between non EVM-compatible blockchains.

Staking

Meta Pool is tasked with offering liquid staking for Near. Users earn 10.5% APY on Meta Pool’s liquid staking pool with over 61,000 Near, which is more flexible than the normal staking of NEAR. NEAR users are also at liberty to stake using NEAR wallet. This process involves selecting the most desirable delegator who meets a user’s preferences. For users to spend their NEAR, they need to first unstake to access the locked funds.

Ecosystem

DeFi

The main DeFi dApp that currently runs NEAR is Ref Finance. The team is also looking to advance to other services in the future.

Launchpad

NEAR’s main launchpad is Skyward. This launchpad offers liquidity pools, where tokens are bestowed to those who have their NEAR in the pool.

NearPad is also a successful launchpad for NEAR. The future plans for this launchpad are to have a Yield aggregator and DEX aggregator. NearPad is based on ETH with ERC tokens.

NFTs

  • Mintbase as an NFT marketplace allows for users to start and mint NFT catalogs.
  • Paras is a booming marketplace for NEAR, which was recently launched.

Guilds

  • The Human Guild, led by Sasha Hudzilin and Vlad Grinchina, aims to introduce new clients to play-to-earn games. Human Guild’s other goals are to develop, promote and launch games.
  • The Flying Rhino Guild aims at marketing NEAR start-ups through social media.
  • Swing Guild is NEAR’s meme guild.

DAOs

  • Decentralized Brewing Co — This brewing company has released several series of NFTs for funding in the recent months.
  • NxM — a global community of artists who have come together to develop a better Web3 ecosystem.
  • Sputnik — This DAO is funded by the NEAR Foundation and is part of the ecosystem growth of NEAR.
  • RecordDAO — Decentralized music label that allows musicians to take advantage of the power of blockchain.

Tokenomics

The current stock for NEAR is 1 billion tokens, with less than half of the total being vested. NEAR transactions incur little or no transaction costs thanks to inflation as a security measure and the lack of a hard cap. A billion transactions need to be processed each day to overrun the current 5% inflation rate as each transaction involves the burning of NEAR. To understand this better, Ethereum does around 1.2 million transactions per day.

NEAR Token

Type: NEP141

NEAR, which launched at a value of around $1 last year, currently trades at around $7 as of this writing. NEAR has a market value of an estimated $3.4 billion, thanks to the growing number of users and dApps built across the networks.

The latest bull pump pushed NEAR just below $12 but has since settled back around $7. As the network continues to grow rapidly, NEAR seems to remain bullish. Its key support is at around $6.30, which should be a key level to watch for either a rejection or bounce.

Allocation

Vesting Schedule

Conclusion

NEAR faces excellent competition from larger chains like Polkadot and Ethereum. Whether NEAR will rise to the standards of its significant competitors can be answered by yes; it is not impossible, but at the same time, a lot of work needs to be done. The main attribute of NEAR being community-based could go a long way in ensuring that the platform is marketed to many people, thereby increasing its user base. This means that the future of NEAR has the potential to be very bright.

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Kadeem Clarke

Kadeem Clarke

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Head of Labs @ Momentum 6 | Crypto Writer | Web 3 Investor | Car Enthusiast