NEAR Community Update (Nov 8, 2018)

Hi there! It’s been a busy couple of weeks over here so we wanted to keep you in the loop about what we’ve been up to. At a high level, the engineering team has grown and continues to lay the foundation for TestNet while we’re beginning to roll out local community efforts.


  1. Globetrotting: Cofounders Alex and Illia have been abroad in Berlin and Prague at the Web3 and Devcon4 conferences.
  2. Community: We are kicking off our multi-disciplinary meetup series in San Francisco and participating in a number of local events.
  3. Research: Lots of new thoughts around everything from consensus to chain vulnerabilities to economic modeling.

Let’s get into it!

Speaking and Events

The ball is rolling on events but the next several weeks will be focused a bit closer to home as we roll out some of our San Francisco community efforts.

Recent Highlights:

  1. Conferences: Cofounder Illia Polosukhin hit up Web3 Summit in Berlin and both Alex Skidanov and Illia attended Ethereum’s Devcon conference in Prague, highlighting some recent thought collaborations with members of the Ethereum Foundation.
  2. Interview: Alex was interviewed by BlockchainBrad about the platform.
  3. Workshop: Illia gave a workshop at Starfish Mission in San Francisco.
  4. Much Ado about Sharding: The video for Alex’s talk “From Sharded Databases to Sharded Blockchains” with Blockchain at Berkeley and Illia’s panel with the Ethereum Foundation (“Sharding Ethereum and Beyond”) at SFBW are now available as well.

Upcoming Events:

  1. We kick off our San Francisco cross-disciplinary Blockchain Product, Design and Development group with a meetup on Wednesday November 14th at 6:30pm in SOMA. Join us!

Writing and Content

Lately, we’ve gone deep into the guts of Ethereum to both clarify their approaches and help differentiate our own.

Recent Blog Posts:

  1. Why Doesn’t NEAR Just Replicate Ethereum Serenity Design?
  2. How Unrealistic is Bribing Frequently Rotated Validators?
  3. A Detailed Overview of Ethereum 2.0 Shard Chains: Committees, Proposers and Attesters

Recent Research Discussions:

  1. Beacon chain consensus
  2. Counteracting the centralizing economics of proof of stake

Engineering Highlights

We’ve welcomed 3 teammates in the past couple of weeks who bring deep experience with startups and the blockchain (and Burning Man):

  1. Vladimir Grichina joined to help build the best developer experience. Ex-Googler and ex-founder.
  2. Matthew Roberts joined to help with the sharding network. Previously built blockchains at Storj & Exonum.
  3. @azban will be helping with infrastructure. Previously designed and built out early-stage products, notably at Affirm and MoPub.

As an engineering team, we’ve had a number of efforts ongoing during the past couple of weeks.

  • Built out the TxFlow implementation in Rust.
  • Built the Kubernetes cluster and telemetry to run TestNet
  • Investigated libraries for networking, WASM and general functionality: libp2p, Substrate and WASMI.
  • Detailed design of the beacon chain consensus and progress on the Rust implementation.
  • Investigated and contributed to Parity’s Substrate library, giving their Docker build a 6x size improvement, 25% memory overhead for idle process and 4–5x build speed (for incremental builds only)

Get Involved

If you have questions you’d like to explore or otherwise want to stay in the conversation around what’s going on here, jump into our Discord channel. You can also follow us on Twitter or on Medium to get a more curated set of updates.

What would you prefer to hear about each week? Just comment below to let me know.

Your friends,
Erik and the NEAR team