What is NEAR? The blockchain, the team and the token
What is NEAR? The blockchain, the team and the token
Blockchain

What is NEAR? The blockchain, the team and the token

By Thuy Dung - 22 Dec 2021

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NEAR is a simple, scalable, and secure blockchain designed to provide the best experience possible for developers and users.

The team and the token

NEAR was created by Alex Skidanov and Illia Polosukhin shortly after meeting through the famous San Francisco based Y Combinator start up accelerator program. Alex was formerly director of engineering at the database company MemSQL. Illia previously worked at Google, where he helped develop its artificial intelligence capabilities and search engine products. In august 2018, they gathered a team of engineers and formally started building NEAR Protocol in August 2018. The founding vision for the NEAR platform was to offer developers an easy path to building decentralized applications that can scale to mass usage. 

Today NEAR Collective is the globally distributed group of teams, made up of many individual organizations and contributors, who self-organize in order to bring this technology to life.  

The NEAR token (aka $NEAR) is a utility token that powers the NEAR Protocol blockchain and all applications that use it. NEAR Protocol is a fully operational, open-source blockchain designed from the ground up to give builders the best tools to create scalable applications that real people can actually use.

Sharding and the technology behind NEAR – The first carbon neutral blockchain

NEAR is an example of Gen-3 blockchains (where for Gen 1 we refer to Bitcoin and for Gen 2 we mean Ehereum and the other smart contract blockchains)  based on proof of stake (PoS). NEAR aims to solve the scalability issues and allow both the end-users and developers to enjoy the full potential of smart contracts and blockchain technology. Instead of relying on layer-2 technology, NEAR breaks free from the idea that every single node which participates in the network has to run all of the code because that essentially creates one big wasteful bottleneck and slows down all of the other approaches.

To fix this issue, NEAR uses a technique that is already extremely prevalent in the database world: sharding. If properly executed, it allows the network’s capacity to scale up as the number of nodes in the network increases so there isn’t a theoretical limit on the network’s capacity. 

Using the sharding solution called Simple Nightshade, validators secure the network locking up near tokens and earning rewards as a result. If validators try to cheat the system lose their stake and the community can vote them out. Moreover, regular users can delegate their tokens to a validator to earn rewards. 

This means that unlike bitcoin huge power-hungry machines are not needed to secure the network making NEAR a more eco-friendly platform.

Beyond just energy efficiency with PoS consensus, the NEAR Foundation has committed to making NEAR Protocol climate neutral this year. In February 2021, NEAR Protocol engaged South Pole, a leading project developer and global climate solutions provider headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, to assess NEAR’s carbon footprint, reduce it where possible, and fully compensate the remaining exhaust with CO2 offsetting projects going forward. South pole considered the NEAR Foundation’s carbon footprint, the Core Collective (all employees and contractors working on the NEAR Protocol), and all validators in the assessment.

The results show that the NEAR Protocol currently generates a carbon footprint of 174 tons of CO2 per year. Therefore, NEAR Protocol is more than 200,000 times more carbon efficient than Bitcoin, mainly by applying PoS instead of PoW. Compensating that footprint with reforestation projects makes the NEAR Blockchain carbon neutral. Doing transactions on NEAR plants trees in Colombia, Zimbabwe, and the United States via these carbon offsetting projects.

A user oriented blockchain – Mass adoption is NEAR

In addition to what has been already said, we should also remark NEAR’s commitment towards mass adoption. Near strongly believes that simplicity is the key to bridge the gap to mainstream adoption. According to this philosophy, NEAR decided to drastically simplify the user experience choosing to use accounts and wallet identifiers that are readable by humans in the format name.near. (For example, Satoshi.near.)

Owning a Near wallet lets you securely manage your digital identity and assets giving you the key to begin interacting with NEAR’s ecosystem and dApps. Moreover, creating a wallet you will be free to manage your tokens, access the staking system and store your digital collectibles (NFT).

To create a wallet head over to wallet.near.org and register your account using your email or a seed phrase.

Why NEAR? -The Community

To sum it up, what are the main reasons to choose NEAR?

  • Sustainability: Our efficient PoS network was also certified as carbon-neutral in February 2021 by south pole
  • Cost Efficiency: 1000x lower transaction fees for users and developers earn 30% of transaction fees. 
  • Security: A thriving ecosystem of validators maintains network integrity.
  • Simplicity: Human-readable wallets and account names make near closer to mass adoption.
  • Community oriented:  NEAR has been able to build a strong community that is made of Innovators, Creators and Contributors making it a very unique ecosystem. Most of the members of the community belong to a particular Guild. Each guild shares a specific vision and mission related to driving a more open, interconnected and consumer-empowered word. Everyone can be part of a Guild and can contribute to its development offering just their set of skills and time. If you are interested to join a Guild, NEAR recently launched NEAR Italia. 

NEAR Italia aims to give more visibility to the blockchain in Italy and onboard talented people and projects. Join Near Italia following our official social media: 

www.instagram.com/nearitalia/

https://www.instagram.com/near_protocol/

https://twitter.com/near_italia

Engage with other NEAR enthusiasts on our Telegram channel: https://t.me/NEARitalia

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