Since launching in November of 2022, NEAR Korea Hub has hit a number of major milestones in the Korean Web3 industry. The Hub has significantly contributed to the expansion of the Web3 ecosystem over the past 6 months by forming partnerships with leading domestic game companies, providing generous developer support, and forging long-term relationships with college blockchain clubs.
Let’s take a look at all of the exciting things that came out of the NEAR Korea Hub during NEAR co-founder Illia Polosukhin’s visit.
NEAR co-founder Illia Polosukhin talks Web3 and AI
A number of major Korean media outlets conducted interviews with Illia on NEAR Protocol’s Web3 and AI strategy. Illia pointed out that NEAR Protocol’s principle focus is on the Blockchain Operating System (BOS) and FastAuth, an important new product that provides a better-than-Web2 onboarding experience that can help foster the mass adoption of Web3.
Here is a list of Illia’s interviews (the coverage is in Korean):
- Hankyung (Korea Economy) – “Blockchain and AI will Create the Best Synergy”
- Kyunghyang – Blockchain AI Synergy will be Amazing
- Kyunghyang Weekly – Is Fake News the Fault of Generative AI?
- TechM – Korean Games Leading in Web3.0 Business Model… Synergy with AI and Blockchain
- CoinDesk – Popularization of Web3 Starts from User-Centered Thinking
Illia’s talk at ETHSeoul & Buidl Asia — June 2nd – June 7th
Illia attended ETH Seoul and BUIDL Asia — both major Web3 events — as the first keynote speaker, where he gave a speech entitled “Web3’s Future, BOS.”
“One of the major problems with Web3 is the user inconvenience when making and using wallets,” Illia pointed out. “With BOS, which provides a Web2-like experience and ease for developers and users, NEAR Protocol wants to connect all blockchain and users to onboard 1 billion users to Web3”. He also added: “BOS acts as a gateway to combine all features such as DeFi and NFT which are scattered around the Web3 network”.
Illia further emphasized the importance of the Korean market and shared achievements of NEAR Korea Hub.
Illia’s Speech at the Gyeonggi Province ‘AI Expert Policy Roundtable’ — June 8th
Illia was invited to give his speech “The Intersection of AI and Web3” at the “AI Expert Policy Roundtable” hosted by Gyeonggi-do, the largest province in Korea. He also discussed potential partnership opportunities with the governor of Gyeonggi-do, who is also a presidential candidate.
In his speech, Illia noted: “AI should be open source instead of closed source. We need to find institutional measures to secure and manage high-quality data based on Web3 technology in the public domain. The combination of Web3 and AI has the potential to act as a pillar of the new policy for mass adoption. NEAR Protocol will be the strongest use case if allowed to become a bridge for onboarding users to Web3”.
Business Meetings and Major Partnerships
Meetings with global companies
NEAR Foundation and NEAR Korea Hub hosted meetings between Illia and the management of major global companies in Korea. There were constructive discussions with companies looking to expand into Web3, which have already shown significant results.
From having small discussions to signing MOUs with major companies including Netmarble and Mirae Asset, the Korea Hub laid the foundation for solid collaboration. This foundation will serve as an important first step in expanding the Web3 industry in Korea.
MARBLEX Partnership — June 5th
NEAR Foundation has joined forces with MARBLEX, a blockchain subsidiary of Netmarble, to Expand Korea’s Web3 Gaming Industry with Aurora. Netmarble is a global top 7 game publisher with 1M+ MAU in the last three games.
Through this strategic business agreement, NEAR Foundation and MARBLEX plan to achieve mutual growth by linking the NEAR blockchain and Aurora with WARP Bridge to enable interactive collaboration, promote global joint marketing events, and enhance brand awareness. Furthermore, competitive and casual gamers alike will now be able to enjoy a variety of games and exclusive content through NEAR’s Blockchain Operating System (BOS).
Mirae Asset Partnership – June 7th
In a pivotal partnership for the blockchain industry, NEAR Foundation is joining forces with Mirae Asset — a subsidiary of Asia’s largest financial group Mirae Asset Global — to help bridge the gap between traditional finance and Web3.
Through this strategic business agreement, NEAR Foundation and Mirae Asset aim to expand the Web3 business domain and lead the global financial paradigm by conducting joint research and collaboration on Real-World Assets Technology. Furthermore, both parties have agreed to organize global joint events to enhance brand awareness and establish a mutual support system to strengthen the Web2/Web3 business network.
Vortex Gaming Onboarding — June 22nd
NEAR Foundation is excited to announce a new partnership with Vortex Gaming, a Web3 subsidiary of the leading game industry INVEN. INVEN is the largest game media·community in Korea, with a monthly active user (MAU) count of 7.2 million.
With the guidance of the NEAR Korea Hub, NEAR Foundation and Vortex Gaming plan to achieve mutual growth by collaborating to support the growth of Vortex Gaming; strengthen the NEAR game ecosystem; conduct offline hackathons and events to foster developer talent; and enhance brand awareness and business networks.
Read the full announcement on the NEAR Foundation blog.
Glitch Hackathon Winners Dinner – May 30th
During the Glitch Hackathon, which took place from May 19th to 21st, Illia and the NEAR Korea team organized a meetup event with the participants of the NEAR Track. Despite being a multi-chain hackathon with five mainnets participating, the NEAR Track had the highest number of participants, and PokaTika from the NEAR Track won the hackathon.
NEAR Korea Hub’s constant support throughout the hackathon helped achieve these remarkable results. NEAR Korea Hub provided comprehensive support and mentoring to the participating teams. Furthermore, the meetup event, which was hosted to continuously build the Korean Web3 ecosystem and establish strong relationships with new builders, saw participation from over 70 builders.
It provided builders with valuable opportunities to showcase their products. A considerable number of teams participating in the Glitch Hackathon also took part in the ETHSeoul Hackathon, which serves as evidence of the growth of the domestic builder ecosystem for NEAR Protocol.
ETHSeoul Hackathon — June 2nd – 4th
NEAR Protocol held “NEAR Track at ETHSeoul”, an event for the blockchain ecosystem and community. ETHSeoul served as a platform for discussions on Web3 mass adoption, with participation from 46 hackathon teams (including over 250 builders) and 800 Web3 users.
Among the 46 participating teams, 24 teams chose NEAR Protocol despite the event’s focus on Ethereum, indicating the strong interest and influence of NEAR in Korea.
At NEAR Track, after an intense competition among outstanding teams, the following teams emerged victorious:
- 1st. Pokatika, is a mobile application that enhances the post-event experience with unique NFT photo cards.
- 2nd. On Stage(What’s Next), turns artists’ characters and illustrations into NFTs, providing AI training data to NFT holders for integrating them into new AI images.
- Co-3rd. AGLIPPA, combines blockchain and AI to democratize artistic creation, allowing anyone to transform personal experiences into everlasting NFT.
- Co-3rd. 0xtail, matches football enthusiasts for a football game.
BUIDL Asia — June 6th – 7th
BUIDL Asia 2023 provided a platform for various projects and communities to come together, share insights, and discuss development trends. The event, organized by Erica Kang — a prominent figure representing Korean Web3 women — garnered significant media and corporate attention.
Illia and Alex Shevchenko, co-founder of Aurora, participated as speakers and shared insights on the NEAR ecosystem’s current trends and future prospects. Additionally, NEAR Korea Hub operated a booth at the event, allowing attendees to experience the Blockchain Operating System (BOS) first-hand.
NEAR x Hashed Night — June 8th
NEAR x Hashed Night was a highly successful event co-organized with Hashed, a distinguished venture capital firm representing the Web3 industry. The event witnessed the participation of 35 partner companies and an impressive attendance of 410 individuals. Illia led the event alongside key executives from the NEAR ecosystem who served as distinguished speakers. They provided insightful introductions to NEAR Protocol and its notable projects, facilitating valuable networking opportunities for all attendees.
Speakers like Alex Shevchenko, co-founder of Aurora, Bowen Shen, co-founder of Proximity Labs, and Ran Yi, co-founder of Orderly Network attended the event. Representatives from Mirae Asset and MARBLEX, who recently formed a strategic partnership with NEAR Foundation, were also present. It was amazing to see so many major Web2 and Web3 companies in one place, as it created a fantastic opportunity to explore new business prospects.
As one attendee noted: “The place was so crowded that it was running out of oxygen”. This achievement was made possible thanks to NEAR’s growing reputation in the Korean Web3 industry and the onboarding of numerous builders through Glitch and ETHSeoul Hackathon.
NEAR Korea is really excited about NEAR’s upcoming events, including Korea Blockchain Week(KBW), and they look forward to high expectations and participation!
Raising NEAR awareness in Korea
Overall, Illia’s time in Korea along with the hard work of NEAR Korea Hub has greatly enhanced the awareness and influence of NEAR Protocol within Korea. This was made possible through the active support of the NEAR Foundation and the strong collaboration with ecosystem partners.
As June comes to a close, summer in the NEAR ecosystem is heating up with a wave of new announcements, events, media appearances, and more. Not to mention a few notable celebrities bringing some star power into NEAR’s orbit. Here’s a rundown of all the newsworthy NEAR happenings over the past month.
Sammy Hagar and Guy Fieri jump into NFTs on NEAR
In the US, Grammy-winning musician Sammy Hagar and celebrity chef Guy Fieri joined the NEAR ecosystem, teaming up with NEAR on-ramp Trident3 to launch an NFT loyalty program. The Santo Spirits Club loyalty program, as reported by Coindesk and Decrypt, will enable tequila fans to earn on-chain tiered perks and an opportunity to win a virtual tasting with the duo.
Mirae Asset, MARBLEX, and Vortex boost South Korea
Over in Asia, NEAR Foundation continued to make inroads in South Korea. Mirae Asset, a subsidiary of Asia’s largest financial group, announced a partnership to research Web3’s role in global business. Per Bloomberg, Mirae Asset will collaborate with NEAR Foundation to strengthen the Web2/3 business network and identify opportunities for real-world blockchain value creation.
Meanwhile, Blockchain Reporter broke that Marblex – a Korean blockchain infrastructure provider for high-quality gaming – will integrate NEAR protocol with Marblex’s gaming universe, enhancing user convenience and Web3 adoption. NEAR will integrate with MARBLEX’s WARP Bridge, taking advantage of NEAR’s high scalability and speed to improve the gaming experience in Web3. The partnership will also enable joint marketing initiatives and events, boosting awareness of the global blockchain gaming market.
Then there’s Vortex Gaming, a Web3 subsidiary of Inven, the largest game media community in Korea. Coverage by European Gaming reported that Vortex will leverage NEAR protocol to integrate a gaming community encompassing Web2 and Web3 by building innovative infrastructure for gaming developers. The NEAR Foundation and Inven will also collaborate on marketing and business development, adding to NEAR’s exciting Web3 gaming ecosystem.
Skoda launches metaverse for auto fans in India
Czech Automobile Manufacturer Skoda entered the Metaverse in the world’s most populous country, giving users an opportunity to explore, collect and own digital art pieces on NEAR. The platform, as reported by Cointelegraph and Entrepreneur India, will enable NFT owners to access exclusive perks and rewards, while allowing owners to trade digital artwork in the future.
SailGP christens The Dock for decentralized fandom
In more partnership news, the Global racing league SailGP and Oracle announced the launch of “The Dock”, a decentralized fan engagement platform powered by Oracle and NEAR’s ongoing partnership to bridge the worlds of Web2 and Web3. As reported by SailWeb, The Dock will revolutionize how fans follow SailGP, increasing engagement through exclusive content and enabling fans to earn points, redeemable for exciting rewards including VIP access to SailGP events and more.
Alibaba Cloud and Women in Web3 headline Collision
The NEAR ecosystem took over Toronto this month, showcasing the best of BOS at Collision 2023, one of the world’s biggest tech conferences. During the event, the NEAR Foundation announced a groundbreaking partnership with Alibaba, enabling developers across Asia to launch new NEAR validators with Alibaba Cloud’s infrastructure as a service.
The partnership was covered in myriad outlets such as Coindesk, Journal du Coin, and BTC Echo. Partnering with Alibaba means the NEAR ecosystem will have access to Remote Procedure Calls (RPC) and enable users to interact with NEAR’s Blockchain Operating System while using Alibaba Cloud’s infrastructure.
The NEAR Foundation also released the Women in Web3 Changemakers List 2023, celebrating the achievements of extraordinary women throughout the Web3 ecosystem. As reported by Tech Funding News, the ten women were selected by the public and hail from all corners of the globe, following hundreds of nominations from the Web3 community.
Leadership viewpoints on media and social fairness
Illia Polosukhin, Founder of NEAR and CEO of Pagoda, took the time to write a thought leadership piece in Blockworks about crypto’s potential to transform how we interact with the media. Illia sets out the emerging problem with the status quo: bad actors are beginning to utilize generative AI to dramatically scale up misinformation campaigns.
However, Illia explains that blockchain-based “sign-and-trace” systems can enable the public to reliably source and validate real news stories, with a legitimate trail of sources available online.
CEO of NEAR Foundation Marieke Flament also penned an article for London’s leading daily business paper CityAM about using Web3 to build a fair and inclusive digital world. “Too often technology has only benefited the few: those who have money, those who have power, or those of a certain gender, ethnicity, or skin color.
But this doesn’t need to be the case,” she explained. “Technology can and should be in the service of all people. But to achieve this, we will need a change in perspective, something that Web3 can help us achieve.”
Marieke also talked about blockchain, Web3, and BOS on a podcast hosted by the editor Journal du Coin – France’s leading crypto media outlet, and for a video interview with Fintech Finance at the Paris Fintech Forum.
That’s all for this month. If we missed anything or want to share anything for next month’s roundup, get in touch!
As Collision 2023 rolls on, NEAR Foundation announced the ten winners of the Women in Web3 Changemakers award. These exceptional women, chosen from a pool of 200 nominees worldwide, underline the significant contributions women can make throughout the Web3 ecosystem.
“These Changemakers show us that together we can make a positive difference and shape the collective good of Web3,” says Marieke Flament, CEO of NEAR Foundation. “We must continue to help one another and nurture a strong, international community that includes both men and women.”
The Women in Web3 Changemakers competition illuminates the groundbreaking work of influential women in the Web3 space. As this platform appreciates the significant strides made by these remarkable women, it’s important to recognize the unique journeys of all ten winners, each of whom has contributed to the evolution of the blockchain industry.
Women behind the success of Web3 honored at Collision
Candidates for the Women in Web3 Changemakers award come from all corners of the globe, each making unique marks on the Web3 ecosystem in their own respective ways. Each of the following women made the final top ten because they’ve carved out a niche, advocated for transformative solutions, and been a part of breakthrough blockchain initiatives.
The full list of winners includes:
- Emily Rose Dallara: Web3 Leadership Coach and Podcast Producer
- Janine Grainger: Co-founder and CEO, Easy Crypto AI
- Bridget Greenwood: Founder, The Bigger Pie
- Cathy Hackl: Chief Futurist and Chief Metaverse Officer at Journey
- Erica Kang: Founder and CEO, KrptoSeoul
- Irina Karagyaur: Founder and Director, BQ9
- Veronica Korzh: Co-founder and CEO, Geekpay
- Zoe Leavitt: Founder and CEO, Glass
- Alana Podrx: Founder and CEO, Eve Wealth
- Yaliwe Soko: Chair, United Africa Blockchain Association
Handpicked by public vote from a pool of hundreds of applications, these Changemakers were assessed on criteria of inclusion, influence, and innovation. Each woman demonstrated the ability to drive societal good, make a substantial impact in the Web3 community, and contribute to critical projects, uplifting the global female presence in the Web3 landscape.
“The Changemakers show that we can forge our own path into the ecosystem and create a collective narrative that has the power to break down barriers to entry and make Web3 more inclusive for everyone,” Flament continues. “I’m extremely honored to be championing this initiative and to spotlight these exceptionally talented women.”
The diverse journeys of Women in Web3 Changemakers
All ten winners of the Women in Web3 Changemakers awards come from a variety of backgrounds, geographies, and skill sets. Yaliwe Soko, for instance, is championing opportunities in Web3 to alleviate poverty and provide opportunities across Africa. Others like Cathy Hackle are icons in spheres like the metaverse.
Erica Kang, meanwhile, spearheads KryptoSeoul and was responsible for BUIDL ASIA 2022 conference, attended by ETH co-founder Vitalik Buterin and NEAR Protocol co-founder Illia Polosukhin. And through her organization The Bigger Pie, Bridget Greenwood is building an entire support ecosystem to advance both women and minorities in blockchain and crypto.
Another changemaker, Emily Rose Dallara, is a Web3 leadership coach and podcast producer, who uses a Holistic Growth Coaching method to help overwhelmed leaders thrive — without the burnout. Helping to make digital assets more accessible, Kiwi-born Janine Grainger is the co-founder and CEO of Easy Crypto, a simple and secure way for anyone to get involved in crypto. Irina Karagyaur, the founder and director of BQ9, is working to turn great ideas into even better Web3 products through her crypto-fintech boutique advisory firm.
With Geekpay, co-founder and CEO Veronica Korzh is streamlining and securing digital payments without the stress and need for long wallet addresses. Zoe Leavitt, the founder and CEO of Glass, has set up shop in the loyalty space, allowing customers to level up their nights out by earning rewards from their favorite alcohol brands. And Alana Podrx, the founder and CEO of Eve Wealth, has created a community of women who share portfolios, co-invest, and support each other in self-guided wealth management through peer-to-peer learning.
Celebrating the individual successes and collective efforts of these Changemakers reflects the massive impact and influence of women in Web3. From Africa to Asia, from the metaverse and marketing to crypto media and education, each winner has blazed her unique trail and is impacting the Web3 ecosystem, inspiring both men and women to do the same.
“I’m grateful for the hundreds of nominations we received from peers and employers who took the time to highlight the many achievements that the global female workforce has made to their organizations,” Flament continues. “By casting their ballot, the international community has shown that the contributions of women are being noticed.”
By celebrating the contributions of these Changemakers, the NEAR Foundation underscores its commitment to diversity, inclusion, and innovation in the Web3 space. As females in crypto continue to make strides, it’s vital to recognize and appreciate the efforts of women who are paving the way for an equitable and inclusive future in Web3 and beyond.
NEAR Foundation is thrilled to announce that Tekuno, one of the most innovative NEAR Balkans Hub projects, recently teamed up with Mastercard to serve up an incredibly unique real-life NFT experience. Attendees at the recent Money Motion (MoMo) Fintech conference in Zagreb, Croatia got a taste of how Web3 and NEAR can help brands reach new audiences with blockchain gamification.
Mastercard, a leader in global payment systems, enabled the Tekuno team and NEAR Balkans to realize this ground-breaking experience with NFTs. The NFT activation provided MoMo visitors with a gamified experience through which they could gather evidence of their participation at the conference and various NFTs — a concept called Proof of Doings (PODs).
These PODs had time and space restrictions, so participants could only pick them up during a particular period of the conference. PODs demonstrated a novel use case of how NFTs can be used to gamify real life, while strengthening Mastercard’s brand as forward-thinking in the loyalty and payments space.
Behind the Tekuno and Mastercard partnership
The city of Zagreb, Croatia, recently hosted the first edition of an exclusive FinTech conference called Money Motion. With Mastercard as one of the conference organizers and NEAR Balkans as a sponsor, this presented the perfect opportunity for collaboration.
Before the conference, NEAR Balkans Hub’s Product Lab was ready to launch Tekuno, a blockchain as a service (BaaS) platform for NFT experiences. A user-friendly product for seamless onboarding of mass audiences to Web3, the Tekuno platform makes blockchain knowledge a preference rather than a requirement.
Tekuno can be used for a variety of campaigns and experiences, including loyalty programs, marketing activations and events, CRM, HR initiatives, and much more. The technology does this through the creation of secure and transparent Proof-of-Doings (PODs) in the form of digital collectibles (NFTs) to attest and reward a wide range of activities. For the “Experience the Motion” campaign, Tekuno was used as proof-of-attendance.
How MoMo attendees claimed NFT PODs
In “Experience the Motion”, MoMo attendees proved their attendance by collecting a total of 5 different NFT PODs. These PODs were exclusive — attendees could only claim them at specific times during the conference.Attendees claimed their PODs by simply scanning QR codes at several predefined locations — the entrance, speakers presentations and panels, and the NEAR Balkans booth.
The PODs functioned as a prize raffle gateway, which attendees entered by following certain rules. MoMo attendees competed for a number of exciting prizes, including: exclusive Mastercard merchandise; a special 1–2–1 session with Christian Rau, Senior Vice President Crypto and Fintech Enablement Mastercard Europe; an invitation to a Web3 NEAR educational workshop, VIP access tickets for conference party; and the grand prize — a Mastercard Priceless.com experience at Chiavalon, Istria, an olive oil making and tasting experience for two.
NEAR Balkans and Mastercard campaign results
The “Experience the Motion” ultimately reached more than 14,000 people on social media, and was available for over 1,000 attendees over two days of the conference. Tekuno’s user-friendly technology made it possible to distribute more than 500 PODs to more than 200 unique collectors.
Feedback from the attendees regarding the NFT experience and rewards was overwhelmingly positive. Participants found the Tekuno platform to be intuitive and easy to navigate. Participants were able to easily open accounts, allowing them to follow the challenges and collect the PODs for a chance at winning exciting prizes.
“This is the most seamless experience I have ever had with a Web3 app, and I’ve experimented with many, trust me,” said Vlaho Hrdalo, Lawyer and Chairman of UBIK — Croatian Association for Blockchain and Cryptocurrency.
Nikola Škorić, the CEO of Electrocoin, Gold sponsor of the conference, added: “‘Experience the Motion ’ — the NFT activation made possible by Mastercard and organized by NEAR Balkans and Tekuno for the Money Motion conference, engaged our audience in an authentic and fun way that brought extra value to the conference while rewarding the luckiest ones.”
“We’re happy that Money Motion is a place of technology adoption and that brands see us as a great partner for such activities,” Škorić added.
Driving engagement with NFTs
As Mastercard and NEAR Balkans noted, many attendees, who ranged from fintech professionals to regional bank representatives, retail marketing leads, and others were particularly interested in Tekuno’s various use-cases. Indeed, it demonstrated the real-world applications and versatility of NFTs, helping traditional industries see the value in Web3 integrations.
Gea Kariž, Marketing Director at Mastercard Croatia, shared her insights on the successful collaboration between Mastercard, Money Motion, Tekuno, and NEAR Balkans.
‘’Our collaboration with the Tekuno and NEAR Balkans teams provided Mastercard HR with a seamless and exceptional entrance into the Web3 domain,” said Kariž. “Through this activation, we not only gained significant brand visibility but also reinforced our commitment to embracing blockchain and other cutting-edge technologies.”
“The added value of this campaign was the deep engagement we experienced with our end-users, fostering a strong sense of community around our brand and further solidifying our position as a forward-thinking and innovative company,” Kariž added.
The NEAR Balkans General Manager, Ida Pandur, was similarly inspired by the partnership — especially as it aligns with NEAR Foundation’s Web2.5 strategy of onboarding the masses with real use cases in Web3.
‘’We at NEAR Balkans are committed to help and enable mass adoption of Web3 and decentralization into everyday lives,” said Pandur. “The way we do it is by educating, enabling and partnering with innovative organizations to bring Web3 to users in simple, value added, use cases. We are happy to have been working with Mastercard and use Tekuno, which is one of the best Web2→Web3 tools UX wise to bring it to life at MoneyMotion and from the interest we see across the region, it’s just getting started.’’
Sally Meouche-Grawi, CEO of Tekuno, noted that the campaign illustrated how Tekuno demonstrated that Web3 products can be user-friendly.
“We’re trying to make it as user friendly as possible, but it’s still realistically a Web3 product, but it’s a Web3 product that is easy to use,” said Meouche-Grawi. “And this is what a lot of these products are critically lacking, which is the easy onboarding experience.”
“So, we are trying to set the standard… to show how we can create a Web3 product that any average user can actually use,” Meouche-Grawi added. “Because from my experience when it comes to Web3 products they are usually developed by developers for developers, this is the trend and we are trying to break it.’’
Hello, NEAR World! Welcome to NEAR Foundation’s newly reformatted “Transparency Report”. Published quarterly, NEAR Foundation’s Transparency Report explores the NEAR Foundation’s progress towards its OKRs, as well as the latest technology news and updates from the NEAR ecosystem.
NEAR Foundation is kicking off the new Transparency Report with the Q1 edition. It features a NEAR Foundation Treasury report and a variety of exciting updates on the recently announced Blockchain Operating System (BOS), the NEAR ecosystem’s thriving projects, and NEAR Foundation’s Web2.5 strategy. You’ll get the latest on NEAR Horizon Accelerator, NDC, NEAR’s Web2 → Web3 partnerships, and more.
NEAR Foundation Treasury Update
At the end of Q1 2023, NEAR Foundation’s treasury totalled $1.1b, including $365m fiat reserves and 316m NEAR ($630m at a closing price of $1.99).
The NEAR Foundation has continued to adopt a highly responsible approach to treasury management in order to minimize the risk of loss in a turbulent market. Exposure to non-NEAR assets therefore has been limited, with fiat reserves held in AAA-rated Swiss bank accounts.
Q1 has been a turbulent quarter for the US banking sector. However, the NEAR Foundation treasury’s proactive risk management policies — including limited exposure to Silicon Valley Bank (under FDIC insurance levels) and no exposure to Credit Suisse — have prevented any loss of funds. NEAR Foundation’s risk management strategy helps ensure that the NEAR Foundation maintains sufficient resources and runway even if the market downturn lasts for multiple years.
As a result, the NEAR Foundation is in an extremely strong position to continue to support the ongoing growth and development of the NEAR protocol and ecosystem .
A recap of NEAR’s go-forward strategy
Despite well-known issues with Web2 platforms and legacy institutions, and the significant progress made in the blockchain industry, Web3 has yet to fully deliver on its promise to open the web. The Web3 of today is held back by inaccessible user experiences, siloed apps that are difficult to discover and explore, few real-world use cases, and technology tribalism. While there is a lot of hype in Web3, there just isn’t enough value for users.
This is why the NEAR Foundation is focusing on making the most of NEAR protocol’s fundamentals and convictions. The NEAR protocol has the best tech in Web3, world-class talent, and an ample runway. The NEAR protocol also has the ability to achieve mainstream adoption through a focus on users, rather than cultish maximalism or hype, and the understanding that converting strong Web2 projects to Web3 will get the NEAR ecosystem there.
With NEAR’s recent launch of the Blockchain Operating System, this next phase of adoption is already underway. The BOS makes it easier than ever for Web2 apps and communities to take advantage of Web3’s opportunities while giving developers and end users a richer, more sustainable experience.
In 2023, NEAR Foundation is focused on two different approaches to bringing more users to the NEAR protocol and the BOS. It begins with the NEAR Foundation’s top-down approach to partnerships, led by a world-class business development team. By working with major applications and brands with substantial, established communities, the NEAR Foundation is partnering on real use cases that drive engagement on the NEAR protocol, like ticketing and earning. High-traction focus verticals for these partnerships include sports, entertainment, and loyalty. Major partnerships in recent months include Grupo Nutresa, Google Cloud, and Sweat Economy.
Q1 has also seen NEAR Foundation’s bottom-up, grassroots approach. This is designed to empower the NEAR ecosystem to invest in its own expansion through grants, primarily through 3 major community DAOs: Developer DAO, Marketing DAO, and Creatives DAO (visit the DAO websites to get involved). These grassroots DAOs will be supported by the NDC, which has launched several working groups in Q1. This quarter has also seen the launch of NEAR Horizon, an early-stage accelerator that will provide support across education, tech, hiring, legal, UX, and GTM guidance, to promising projects and founders on NEAR.
With the launch of the NDC, the DAOs, and the accelerator, NEAR Foundation will focus less on the allocation of capital directly to projects. Instead, the NEAR Foundation will support the community in making these decisions and further decentralizing key elements of the ecosystem. Also, Proximity supports projects building DeFi applications on the NEAR protocol through grants, advisory services, and developer support.
Q1 Ecosystem OKR performance
Throughout Q1, NEAR Foundation experienced several areas of growth toward our OKRs. While the NEAR Foundation met many of its goals, there is always work to be done.
There is a lot of green. However, as an ecosystem we missed our North Star. NEAR Foundation’s goal was 2M MAAs but we came in short, just under 1M. There are a couple of key reasons for this, as well as a path forward to improve performance next quarter.
- SWEAT (which still represents the majority of MAA) is revisiting their MAA ramp up. Current expectations are that MAA growth will occur mostly in the second half of the year, with the US app launching in September.
- NEAR Foundation’s BD team has been closing great deals (23 in Q1 alone) — most announcements haven’t been made (6 only) and most launches will be towards the end of the year.
NEAR Foundation has built a new model to better forecast and set MAA expectations. With this new model, the NEAR Foundation is expecting just over 1.5M MAAs in Q2 of this year with a path to 10M by the end of 2023.
Outside of MAAs, the NEAR ecosystem had a successful quarter with several areas of strength.
- Crystalized strategy around the BOS with new branding + alpha.nearpages.wpengine.com launched in Denver (6K+ accounts).
- Growth of Twitter followers far outpacing others in Web3 (175K per month vs. flat growth from others).
- NDC Trust launched and grassroots DAOs starting to become fully independent and operational.
- NEAR Horizon went from ideation to MVP with pre-cohort launch and partners signed up for full launch.
- Despite macro conditions, the NEAR Foundation continues to manage its treasury effectively and NEAR ecosystem–based projects continue to raise external capital (Open Forest Protocol, Few and Far, Calimero). The Backer / VC Network data infrastructure was also revamped.
- Lots of exciting BD deals closed, setting the stage for a strong end of year when they go live.
- The Data / Analytics team was formed to operationalize KPIs and better track and understand what’s going on in the ecosystem.
- Q1 saw a consistent increase in total new accounts with 1.5m new accounts, as well as a consistent increase in total new contracts, seeing 3,800 new contracts on the NEAR protocol. Q1 also saw 25m transactions on the NEAR protocol.
NEAR Foundation is currently working on a suite of real-time dashboards so the ecosystem can have visibility into the progress against our OKRs. You can find this at NEARAtlas.com.
OKR1: NEAR is the BOS
At ETHDenver, it was announced that the NEAR protocol announced that it is becoming the Blockchain Operating System — a common layer for discovering and creating Open Web experiences, across all blockchains. As part of that announcement, NEAR protocol launched Alpha.nearpages.wpengine.com, a composable frontend for Web3 allowing end users to easily and frictionlessly discover all of Web3’s possibilities in one seamless experience. It also enables developers to create and code interfaces in a single environment with the ability to fork a host of components to build apps faster, and more efficiently than ever before.
The BOS announcement generated a lot of excitement, inspiring Pantera Capital’s Franklin Bi to tweet, “Decentralized frontends are the future.”
Quoting Illia’s announcement tweet, Redpoint’s Managing Director Jason Warner said: “Something I actually think is interesting is what Illia and crew are doing with NEAR and what they are calling the open web. It’s an experiment worth running for sure starting with Near.Social.”
“We need innovation at every level of the stack, not just the core protocol and smart contract layers,” tweeted Ali Yahya, General Partner at a16z crypto. “NEAR is leading the way.”
Since launching alpha.nearpages.wpengine.com, there has been strong usage and curiosity from the NEAR ecosystem community, with 6,000 accounts created and over 2,500 individual components published. The Pagoda team has been working closely with the active community of builders to help enhance the BOS experience.
Illia Polosukhin, CEO of Pagoda and co-founder of the NEAR protocol, also hosted a technical workshop where he zoomed in on each layer of the BOS stack and showed some examples of features, components to build from, and how gateways can become super apps by integrating with the BOS.
The next big update on the Blockchain Operating System will be at Consensus. You can find out more about NEAR’s presence at Consensus here.
OKR2: NEAR is a thriving decentralized Ecosystem
One of the NEAR Foundation’s core mandates is to support the continued decentralization of the NEAR ecosystem, and great progress has been made on this front since the previous transparency report.
A roundup of the ongoing decentralization efforts across the NEAR ecosystem follows.
NEAR Digital Collective (NDC)
The NDC initiative was announced towards the end of last year, and has grown to become a grassroots movement with hundreds of participants, including users, projects, and other stakeholders. The NDC is focused on self-governance, aiming to empower the ecosystem to collectively make decisions in a robust and decentralized way on everything from funding to elected representatives and more.
There are now several working groups that have been launched as part of the NDC’s work, covering various ecosystem needs including governance (Governance WG), marketing (Distribution Network WG), project incubation (Startup DAO), and legal work (Legal WG).
To learn more about the NDC, please see here.
NEAR Community Treasury Launch
One of the NDC’s biggest achievements is the recent launch of the NEAR Community Treasury. Championed by the NDC’s Governance Working Group with support from the NEAR Foundation and other stakeholders, the NEAR Community Treasury leverages an innovative legal framework to provide the ecosystem with a robust, sustainable, and decentralized treasury.
At the outset, the NEAR Community Treasury will hold 5,662,061 NEAR, which was donated to the NEAR Digital Collective by the NEAR ecosystem community (along with a nominal amount of USDT that was donated by the NEAR Foundation as part of the administrative setup process).
The NEAR Community Treasury wallet is viewable here.
Grassroots DAO funding activity
The three core grassroots DAOs — Developer DAO, Marketing DAO, and Creatives DAO — have been making great strides recently in updating their internal governance and processes to ensure they are as transparent, sustainable, and effective as possible.
NEAR Foundation has been supporting each of the grassroots DAOs through that update process. Both the Developer DAO and Marketing DAO have already begun allocating funding again, and the Creatives DAO intends to follow suit shortly.
The grassroots DAOs remain the key source of funding for anyone looking to build in the NEAR ecosystem.
NEAR Horizon (Accelerator)
The mission of NEAR Horizon is to attract the highest quality founders to build on NEAR protocol and support them in taking off. To that end, NEAR Horizon’s strategy consists of three components.
The NEAR Horizon team is building a dApp on NEAR’s Blockchain Operating System that is a double-sided marketplace, which allows founders to find people and organizations who can help them. The team launched an MVP of the product for beta testers in early March 2023.
The team is launching a series of RFPs (the first RFP was released in Feb 2023) to create partnerships with people and organizations who are well positioned to help Founders. In early Q2, the NEAR Horizon team will be releasing additional open calls for:
- Engineering support resources
- Talent / recruitment platforms and services
- Legal platforms and services
- Back office accounting platforms and services
- Marketing services
- Product management services
Content & Tooling
The NEAR Horizon team will provide asynchronous content and access to tooling within the dApp. Think go-to-market examples, legal how-to guides and tools like back office accounting software specifically made for Web3 businesses.
OKR3: Web2 → Web3
Starting in Q2 last year, the Business Development team’s plan was to revamp and hire a full BD team, restructure past historic deals, solve for key infrastructure gaps, and bring the highest quality builders to the NEAR ecosystem. The team is now fully hired, ramped up, has met most key infrastructure gaps, and is in process of renegotiating past deals. Q1 marked the first full quarter that BD has focused on bringing builders to the NEAR ecosystem.
The goal of BD is to help enterprises and startups realize that the NEAR protocol should be the default chain of choice to start building any blockchain application. Fundamentally, BD is attempting to kickstart a flywheel effect to drive network effects to attract builders to the NEAR protocol in order to make it that default choice.
The flywheel starts with enterprises, marquee use cases, or household brands building on NEAR that provide brand awareness and legitimacy. This in turn attracts startups to NEAR. Collectively, these support real world use cases and increase adoption to attract more users to the chain, which in turn draw more enterprises and startups to build on NEAR.
For core use cases, BD is focused on a few key categories, including gaming, loyalty and rewards, and emerging verticals such as sustainability and decentralized science. In Q1 we focused on improving the number of partnership opportunities we were seeing, and our pipeline has increased dramatically. We found high quality sources of leads to be from backer referrals and agencies / dev shops so have strengthened those ties. BD has also seen a rise in projects looking for more support and a number of builders came over from other chains to make NEAR as their primary, or sole, chain (e.g. Passion, Dropt, Solaire). Geographically, the team now has expanded its focus to India and Korea, and expects to drive meaningful opportunities from entrepreneurs in those countries.
SWEAT continues to be a category leader in the move-to-earn space becoming one of the most popular Web3 apps in the world. SWEAT is being consistently used by a million monthly active users engaging voluntarily with NEAR protocol and using SWEAT tokens for staking or transactions. NEAR Foundation’s BD team will continue working with the talented SWEAT team on launching new features such as Learn & Earn, token swaps, and games that will create deeper bonds between the NEAR blockchain and SWEAT users.
For NEAR Foundation’s Q1 goals, the BD team set out to close three Tier 1 partnerships and seven Tier 2 partnerships for a total of 10 lighthouse partnerships — a goal which the NEAR Foundation surpassed. Although several of those deals are yet to be announced, NEAR Foundation is excited to highlight and welcome the following partners to the NEAR ecosystem:
- Dropt — By using Dropt, teams and enterprises can now easily and seamlessly introduce blockchain-powered loyalty and engagement mechanics into their customer journey. These Web3 features will help increase engagement, retention, and lifetime value without customers ever even knowing they are interacting with the blockchain.
- BORA (Kakao games) — An affiliate of Kakao Games and its parent company BORANETWORK, BORA is focused on game development and blockchain-based gaming ecosystems. NEAR and BORA will support each other in spreading local brand awareness, invest in research and collaboration on cross-chain, host events, and generate Web3 opportunities in Korea.
- WEMADE – As one of the largest publicly-listed gaming companies in South Korea and a leading game developer in South Korea for over 20 years, WEMADE will be vital in NEAR’s push toward mainstream adoption of Web3. NEAR and WEMADE will support the development of blockchain apps in Korea as well as other markets.
- Crystals of Naramunz – Featured in a premium spot under Sweden Showcases side by side with traditional games at one of the biggest gaming events in the country. Their alpha waitlist surpassed 10,000 signups.
- SLiC Images – In February, NBA All-Star Baron Davis announced SLiC Images, a photo and video rights management platform. Built on NEAR, it has received a grant worth $250K funded by Mintbase Grants Program.
- SeatlabNFT – Recently named as finalists in the Mobile and Emerging Technologies category for StartUp of the Year.
- Hydra Ventures – A first in the Web3 space, Hydra Ventures is designed to help other investment DAOs get off the ground. This partnership will open the door to the eventual launch of the first investment DAO in the Near ecosystem, with the goal of helping to provide critical funding to purpose-driven, socially impactful web3 startups.
NEAR Foundation is also excited to partner with Flow Carbon (tokenized carbon credits market), Starchain Gazer (play and own gaming), Vizta Digital (fashion metaverse), and Popp (customer engagement for SMBs) to continue expanding the NEAR ecosystem. The NEAR Foundation’s BD team remains committed to bringing the best Web2 and Web3 builders to NEAR, and look forward to sharing next quarter’s list of partnerships.
Building stronger connections with the NEAR ecosystem
As part of NEAR Foundation’s ongoing commitment to transparency and building stronger connections with the NEAR ecosystem, a number of new initiatives are in progress.
First, the NEAR Foundation is restarting NEAR Town Halls. Similar to their previous incarnation, the Town Halls will be open to the entire NEAR ecosystem. Hosted by Marcus Ribeiro, a member of NEAR Foundation’s Community Team, they will be held bi-weekly — giving everyone a chance to get a firsthand look at the latest updates and exciting developments in the NEAR ecosystem. You can watch our March Town Hall here.
Earlier this year, NEAR Foundation kickstarted the Ecosystem Roundtable. Meeting weekly, the Ecosystem Influencer Roundtable is designed to enhance communication and increase accountability between major ecosystem projects, Pagoda, and NEAR Foundation. The roundtable’s regular meetings help with aligning on updates, sharing insights from the ecosystem, and discussing high-level ecosystem goals. These meetings, however, are not for decision-making purposes.
Most recently, the Ecosystem Influencer Roundtable met at an offsite at ETHDenver. Over time, the goal is for the Ecosystem Influencer Roundtable to become more autonomous, and for the participants to work independently to collaborate, set goals and initiatives for the NEAR ecosystem, and develop their own governance structure. You can read more about the roundtable here.
The Community Team also put out a NEAR Foundation Community Survey. The goal of this survey was to measure the ecosystem sentiment around NEAR Foundation and gather feedback on where to focus and improve efforts.The common areas for improvement that were identified were around funding, improving communications and transparency, and improving the support and engagement with the NEAR ecosystem.
Lastly, NEAR Foundation has been working on an overhaul of NEAR’s Twitter Spaces/AMAs, which showcase and highlight projects building on the NEAR ecosystem. The NEAR Foundation’s Community Team is finalizing a structured process for projects to leverage NEAR Foundation’s platforms to conduct Twitter Spaces/AMAs with the NEAR Foundation team. The team encourages feedback by following up to the Spaces/AMAs with a feedback form, which is reviewed to ensure community voices are heard and the valuable feedback is put into action. NEAR Foundation has run a few of these in a test flight to refine the project, and the new process should be live by May 2023. Stay tuned on NEAR Twitter, Telegram, and Discord accounts for an announcement on this new process.
NEAR in the press
Q1 saw a number of top news stories from the NEAR Foundation and NEAR protocol’s thriving ecosystem. The NEAR ecosystem was covered in over 400 articles across the globe in Q1, including over 15 tier 1 stories in outlets including CoinDesk, Forbes and Bloomberg, and 34 tier 2 stories in outlets including Block and Cointelegraph.
Headlines included the announcement of the Blockchain Operating System at ETHDenver, as well as coverage from many of our partnership announcements, ecosystem hubs, and progress from many of NEAR protocol’s ecosystem projects. These include Kakao Games, SlickImages (led by ex-NBA all-star Baron Davis), Recur, LedgerLive, Calimero, Few&Far and the NDC, amongst others (more details on these below).
To find out more about NEAR Foundation’s and the NEAR ecosystem’s press coverage you can check out the monthly roundups below:
Q1 2023 saw several projects complete a fundraising round.
- Open Forest Protocol raised $4.1 million
- Calimero raised $8.5 million
- Few and Far raised $10.5 million
- Orderly Network publicly announced raising fresh funding at a flat token valuation of $200 million!
Ecosystem News & Community
- The NDC GWG announced the NEAR Community Treasury is now live. 5.7 million NEAR is now available for decentralized funding of grassroots initiatives through the NDC. This is a major milestone in the efforts in decentralization of the NEAR ecosystem.
- DevDAO, the organization behind NEAR Developer Governance, made significant strides in fostering open discussions and development via the Community and Work Groups. They established a framework and platform for decentralized funding for developer opportunities, and distributed funding to several projects. At its core, DevDAO is an embodiment of the future of decentralization of the NEAR developer ecosystem. The roadmap includes a range of initiatives such as hackathons, virtual and in-person events, documentation, and dev support programs. If you’d like to learn how to get involved, check out this post outlining the various contribution pathways.
- The NEAR Wiki Landing page has been overhauled to provide a better user experience and a more refined journey for the end user to find what they’re looking for.
- NEAR DemoDay kicked off this quarter on the 15th and 16th of March. DemoDay is a full spectrum ecosystem showcase, aiming to run once a quarter, which brings projects, leaders and VCs/Funds together to showcase new projects as well as discussions of hot topics in the space and exciting developments on NEAR. It was an impactful event, garnering significant interest, including from CoinTelegraph. DemoDay saw 64 projects registered, 22 projects presented live on DemoDay, with ten ecosystem VIP judges, including Marieke Flament and Alex Shevchenko and folks from Huobi Incubator and Pantera Capital. The recap content can be found on PitchTalk.com.
- The NEAR Foundation Community Team kicked off a weekly NF Ecosystem Amplification Twitter Spaces/AMAs series to highlight the multitude of projects building in the NEAR ecosystem. ~30 projects expressed their interest in participating.
- NEAR protocol is being included in CoinGecko’s Candy Rewards Learn and Earn Program. It is set to officially kick off in early April.
- The Governance Forum has gone from 8,888 members at the start of Q1 to 9,329 (~5% growth in the quarter). Weekly pageviews on the forum have gone up from 82,269 (December average) to 124,445 (~51% increase). However, the number of posts are down by 15% from the previous quarter.
- NEAR Social (BOS) has gone from 483 MAA at the start of Q1 to 4141 MAA as of today. (~857% growth in the quarter, ~319% growth since NEAR Day @ETH Denver)
- NEAR protocol saw a peak of $88m TVL in Q1 2023. Ref.Finance led the way for TVL on NEAR protocol, followed by MetaPool. There was, however, a 34% drop in TVL at the beginning of April as a result of the bankruptcy of Alameda, following on from the effects of FTX.
- Ref.Finance launched an Orderbook built on top of Orderly. The orderbook provides a transparent, efficient, and decentralized mechanism for matching buy and sell orders on the platform, allowing users to experience a Central Limit Order Book (CLOB)-like user interface.
- Spin launched Strategies, aka DeFi Option Vaults, on NEAR protocol. DeFi Options Vaults (DOVs) are instruments that simplify option investment strategies for users. The DOV automatically deploys staked assets into specific options strategies — a process entirely run by smart contracts.
- Duel Network, an innovative play-to-earn gaming project on BSC, launched their token on NEAR. By embracing NEAR’s technology and growing ecosystem, Duel Network is positioned to attract and engage users from BSC. This strategic move not only amplifies the Dual Network’s reach, but also strengthens the collaboration between NEAR protocol and other leading chains.
- EveryoneEatsEntertainment recently launched Music Feast, a decentralized label and NFT marketplace, on NEAR protocol. With Music Feast the team is aiming to bridge the gap between the traditional music industry and Web3 by utilizing high caliber talent, and simplifying the purchase process for the end user by masking the current complexities. For example, there is fiat on-ramping with auto generated non-custodial wallets. The platform launched with a NEARWEEK AMA, along with their pioneer artists AshleeBANKZ and world-renowned hip-hop icon DJWhooKid.
- They are currently working with 8 artists, and others are on the way.
- Artists will release 6 NFTs per collection on a tiered system with each providing additional perks and benefits.
- The main artist drop right now is Whoo Kid, featuring Ashlee Bankz. Between Whoo Kid and ClassiQ there are an estimated 1.3 million reachable fans.
- Salmon Wallet is building an all-in-one, open-source wallet with an integrated bridge, NFT marketplace, and other features. According to the project, the Source of Water NFTs work as an exclusive membership program — holding a Source of Water NFT grants a wallet perpetual free commissions on any swap/bridge/on-off-ramp.
- YouMinter launched on mainnet. YouMinter is an NFT Social platform where users can create, communicate, and build a community within a sleek UI, with effortless onboarding and usage.
Infra & Devs
- A 2022 Near Foundation grant recipient completed and launched their Rust Smart Contract Security Course. And the best part? It’s completely free on YouTube.
- Welldone Studio / Welldone Wallet dropped a NEAR plugin for Remix IDE. WELLDONE Studio demoed their new plugin on April 4th, which enables developers to create and deploy smart contracts on NEAR with Remix Project, the most popular IDE on Ethereum.
- Coinpanda announced its API integration with the NEAR protocol. Coinpanda is an easy-to-use crypto tax platform that supports DeFi, NFTs, and 800+ integrations.
- At ETHDenver, Calimero announced the launch of private sharding on NEAR. Now anyone with minimum experience and proficiency in blockchain technology can launch their own private shard in a matter of minutes and be sure about the performance and security that is managed by the platform itself. This is facilitated by Calimero Console, a user-friendly interface that makes deploying, monitoring, and maintaining private shards a streamlined and user-friendly process.
- Keypom is a tool built and recently launched on NEAR that allows anyone to create highly customizable onboarding experiences for both new and existing users. They launched a companion no-code app as well as an SDK and docs at ETHDenver. Keypom will be at Consensus, where they’ll show off trial accounts — a way to instantly sign in and start using an app with the click of a link.
- NEAR Foundation, in partnership with Developer Governance, Proximity Labs and Aurora Labs, sponsored over $36,000 worth of bounties at ETHDenver, and there were a number of great submissions. There will be many more hackathons coming up this year, so be on the lookout for announcements so you don’t miss out.
- Aurora released Aurora Cloud, a turnkey blockchain solution for businesses transitioning to Web3.
A Look Ahead
to Q2, the NEAR Foundation is continuing its strategic focus on similar OKRs to Q1, including more work on the Blockchain Operating System, the continuing efforts toward a thriving decentralized ecosystem, and our Web2.5 strategy.
This NEAR Foundation Transparency Report (the “Report“) is provided for informational purposes only. The information contained herein is provided on an “as is” basis, and the NEAR Foundation makes no representations or warranties, express or implied, regarding the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information contained in this Report.
The NEAR Foundation, its affiliates, directors, employees, and agents, shall not be held liable for any errors, omissions, or inaccuracies in the information provided herein. NEAR Foundation reserves the right to update, modify, or amend any information contained in this Report without prior notice. This Report is not intended to provide financial, investment, legal, tax, or any other professional advice. Readers should consult with their own professional advisors before making any decisions based on the information contained in this Report.
The NEAR blockchain is an open-source, decentralized blockchain protocol that is designed to be scalable, developer-friendly, and able to support a wide range of decentralized applications (dApps) and smart contracts. NEAR has built the Blockchain Operating System (BOS), a Web3 stack to integrate experiences from across the Open Web and streamline the discovery and onboarding experience for users and developers alike.
NEAR Foundation has committed over $90M in capital to ecosystem growth, and the NEAR ecosystem grew from 0 to over 1,000 teams. One of the central lessons learned during this time is that founding teams need a host of contributors — beyond investment — in order to be successful.
Partner with NEAR Foundation for Accelerator program
NEAR Foundation recently announced Updates to Decentralized Funding, Development DAO, and the Accelerator, and released an Open Call for NEAR Accelerator Partners. To further assist founders and startups, the NEAR Foundation is looking to partner with existing products, experts, and services to support teams participating in NEAR Accelerator programs in a variety of different functions:
- Legal Partner RFP — Comprehensive legal and regulatory guidance for cryptocurrency, web3, and general business matters such as intellectual property, taxation, governance, regulatory rulings, outsourcing, cross-border transactions, and consumer/data protection. Expertise in Anti-Money Laundering/Know Your Customer (AML/KYC) compliance and overall startup support from formation to governance.
- Marketing Partner RFP — Full-service marketing support for product engagement and go-to-market strategy execution, including digital marketing, branding, creative concept development, campaign planning, and design.
- Finance Partner RFP — Comprehensive financial services tailored to web3 startups, including accounting, bookkeeping, tax services, and general financial advisory.
- Talent / Recruiting Partner RFP — Specialized recruiting and talent acquisition services to help accelerator teams attract top-tier talent essential for building successful and sustainable businesses.
- Technical Partner RFP — Robust infrastructure and development tools designed to expedite technical and product development, encompassing web3 services, audit services, traditional cloud services as well as UX/UI services.
- Product Partner RFP — Expert guidance in product-market fit, go-to-market strategy, product vision and roadmap development, and tokenomics evaluation for web3 startups.
- PR / Comm Partner RFP — Strategic public relations and communications services aimed at boosting product engagement and supporting go-to-market strategies, covering PR campaigns, social media, communications, and community outreach.
NEAR Foundation will offer service credits to teams participating in the accelerator program to use partner services to help them accomplish their vision. The ultimate goal is for founding teams to create great products and run successful fundraising campaigns, while also increasing revenue and market share for other stakeholders interacting with the product such as our service partners. NEAR Foundation commits to providing access to NEAR ecosystem teams for the selected service partner(s) as “preferred partners.” This will mean that the selected partner(s) are vetted and approved by the NEAR Foundation, and should lead to an increase in the number of projects that are interested in using the partner(s)’ product / services.
Important dates for NEAR accelerator service partners
We will be assessing proposals based on the requirements outlined in each of the function-specific service partner open calls. Service partners are expected to submit their proposals by Apr 23, 2023. The NEAR Foundation review team will be conducting interviews with selected candidates between May 13-17. The review team will shortlist the service partners between May 20-23 and will communicate further with the selected parties. Final approval will be provided by the NEAR Foundation Counsel.
NEAR Foundation is excited to announce that NEAR is heading to the 2023 edition of Coindesk’s Consensus from April 26-28.
NEAR has a massive base at this year’s Consensus, from which we will introduce devs and end users to the Blockchain Operating System. The Blockchain Operating System is an industry-first category, functioning as a common layer for browsing and discovering open web experiences with any blockchain.
Here is what to expect from NEAR at Consensus 2023.
The Blockchain Operating System at Consensus
If you saw NEAR’s big announcement out of ETHDenver, NEAR isn’t just a Layer 1 blockchain. It’s a Blockchain Operating System for the Open Web — your easy entry point into Web3.
With the BOS, NEAR has built an industry first, with decentralized frontends and forkable components for developers. For end users, the BOS makes app discovery easy and social. All designed to bring billions of people into Web3, on any blockchain.
The BOS and much more will be on display at Consensus!
The NEAR booth at Consensus
Consensus is the world’s largest and longest-running crypto gathering, bringing together devs, VCs, founders, policymakers and many others in the Web3, blockchain, and cryptocurrency communities. NEAR will be at Consensus for three days of talks, panels, demos, parties, and more.
The NEAR booth at Consensus will be souped-up and multi-faceted, delivering the latest tech and ecosystem updates for the Web3 community at Consensus!
NEAR’s booth will feature 4 different components. Let’s explore them.
BOS for Devs
If you’re a developer, get onboarded into the Blockchain Operating System. Talk to NEAR and BOS experts.
Get started learning how to build widgets and experiences within the BOS. Create interfaces, fork components, and much more, with NEAR experts as your guides.
BOS for End Users
If you’re an end user who loves Web3, experience how the Blockchain Operating System is revolutionizing the access to and discovery of Web3 apps and experiences. Set up an account and get access to all of the latest exciting experiences that are now live or being built on NEAR.
NEAR ecosystem members will be there to guide you throughout your Blockchain Operating System experience with demos, tutorials, and more!
NEAR Ecosystem Showcase
NEAR’s booth will also feature an Ecosystem Showcase component. Here you will learn about the latest game-changing announcements, and discover the apps and experiences being built on NEAR.
NEAR Horizon Accelerator
The booth will also feature a space for NEAR Horizon, the ecosystem’s new accelerator. Meet with the Horizon team and get started on the Web3 funding and building journey.
NEAR speakers at Consensus
Catch a number of exciting NEAR speakers and sessions at Consensus. The final list of participants and sessions is still being solidified. However, we do have some confirmed speakers to highlight.
April 28th from 12:45pm – 1:30pm on Main Stage — Illia Polosukhin, CEO of Pagoda and Co-Founder of NEAR on “Devs Doing Something: BUIDLing in a Bear Market” panel with Sergey Nazarov, Co-Founder of Chainlink and Emin Gun Sirer, CEO of Ava Labs.
April 28th from 3pm – 3:20pm on Protocol Village Stage — Illia Polosukhin, CEO of Pagoda and Co-Founder of NEAR, and Alex Chiocchi, Chief Product Officer of Pagoda will present on the latest Blockchain Operating System insights.
April 28th from 3:20pm – 3:35pm on Protocol Village Stage — Marieke Flament, CEO of Near Foundation and Special Guest VC
April 28th from 3:35pm – 3:45pm on Protocol Village Stage — Alex Shevchenko, CEO and Co-Founder of Aurora: Web3 Cloud Containers
April 28th from 3:45pm – 4pm on Protocol Village Stage — Web3 Media Tech Panel. Special guests TBA.
Stay updated on the complete slate of confirmed speakers at Near.org/Consensus.
The NEAR ecosystem is ending March on several extremely high notes, from partnerships and community events to unfolding initiatives.
NEAR strengthened its India and Southeast Asia presence, widened its gaming footprint — and of course, introduced the Blockchain Operating System (BOS).
Here are all the key happenings from a massive March.
NEAR unveils itself as the Blockchain Operating System (BOS)
Coindesk broke the biggest news of March, announcing NEAR as the Blockchain Operating System (BOS) at ETHDenver. NEAR will now be the common layer for browsing and discovering open web experiences in an industry-first category. The BOS makes NEAR the entry point for both web2 and web3, enabling easy web3 access and navigation for users and devs.
The BOS adds composable frontends to NEAR’s tech stack, simplifying onboarding and enhancing development from a collection of over 1,800 components. In only a few lines of code, builders from any ecosystem can create custom components and benefit from quick onboarding to help construct their web3 applications.
“The iOS provides developers a place to show their app in front of billions of users, and it gives them all the services and the infrastructure underneath to build,” NEAR co-founder Illia Polosukhin told CoinTelegraph. “We’re trying to give the platform underneath and let developers build.”
An alpha version of the BOS is now available for both users and developers to test at alpha.nearpages.wpengine.com.
Near at ETHDenver Highlights: the BOS, NEAR Day, and more
Exciting times for NEAR at ETHDenver, with a capacity crowd and jam-packed NEAR booth as the ecosystem engaged with builders from around the world. NEAR’s presence included a range of, including OnMachina on Web3 storage, Keypom for Web3 onboarding, and the Sweat Economy. Not to mention the BOS being first introduced to the world by Illia.
Let’s also not forget the over 1,000 people in attendance for NEAR Day, a one-day mini-summit for all things NEAR. Other big highlights out of ETHDenver included premium NFT platform Few & Far raising $30 million, the very first session unveiling the BOS, and Flowcarbon’s new carbon-market ecosystem built on the NEAR blockchain.
Arpit Sharma joins as Managing Director for eastward expansion
March also saw the appointment of Arpit Sharma as the Managing Director for India, South East Asia, and the Middle East regions. His focus will be on expanding the NEAR ecosystem’s presence in those regions, bringing a wealth of experience and expertise from a wide array of industries, solutions, and use cases.
Sharma’s web3 experience extends from the metaverse and NFTs to supply chain tracking and stablecoins. He sees enormous potential in regions and countries like India and the Middle East, believing that Web3 can be used to connect, collaborate and change the world. Regional hubs in India, Vietnam, and Korea should see a huge boost with Sharma on board.
Korean web3 gaming in focus with BORA and WEMADE
Next, NEAR set its sights firmly on the Korean gaming sector as Yahoo! Finance reported a new partnership with BORA gaming, the first of two such agreements. A subsidiary of METABORA, the two will explore new frontiers of web3 adoption in Asia and beyond. Both entities are affiliated with Kakao Games and bring a wealth of IP and gaming expertise into NEAR’s orbit.
Together, NEAR and METABORA will work to identify global IP-based web3 joint ventures. This means leveraging BORA’s existing gaming catalog and future development capabilities to bring fun and interactive web3 games to the world. And per Business Insider, the NEAR Korean Hub should be an enormous beneficiary as the partnership progresses.
On top of that, MarketWatch reported the new relationship between NEAR and global web3 gaming company WEMADE, also based out of South Korea. The partnership will leverage WEMAKE’s over 20 years of experience in the gaming industry, as well as its WEMIX 3.0 mainnet for advanced blockchain services.
“We’re thrilled to be partnering with WEMADE as part of our shared vision towards a decentralized future for the gaming industry,” added Marike Flament, CEO of NEAR. “By joining forces, we are confident in our ability to accelerate the development of cutting-edge solutions that meet the growing needs of gamers and developers in the web3 space.”
Popp’s web3 customer engagement platform launches on NEAR
Finally, small-to-medium-sized business owners are about to get exciting new tools for customer engagement using web3 and NEAR. Popp, a web3 customer engagement solution-as-a-service, announced that it will launch its white-label service exclusively on NEAR.
Popp lets businesses set up micro-tasks called “Popps,” which reward users when completed. Actions like retweets and reviews are rewarded with Popp’s native token that can be redeemed for vouchers, discounts, experiences, and more.
March was certainly a whirlwind month for NEAR, with the BOS taking the ecosystem into the next era of web3 usability. And not to mention NEAR Day at ETHDenver being a rousing success. NEAR will continue to forge ahead at full steam in April, but if we missed anything that happened in March the community should hear about, don’t hesitate to let us know!
For the 2023 edition of ETHDenver, the Near ecosystem offered a number of bounties across a range of Web3 verticals, including DeFi, Content, Search, Social Media, Interoperability, Smart Contract History, and more. There were 3 main prize pools from Aurora, Proximity, and Developer Governance (DevGov).
Congratulations to all Near winners. who received over 30k in USDC! Let’s have a look at the winning projects of the Near at ETHDenver bounties.
Aurora Bounty Winners
Open Aurora Bounty
Winner – StakingPool Aurora
Implements a liquid staking protocol around Aurora Plus staking. Users will deposit AURORA and receive a share in $stAUR tokens, which distributes the APY rewards. $stAUR could be immediately converted with a fee or wait for a delayed unstake.
Runner Up – Geni
AI-powered specifications generator of security tests for smart contracts.
Runner Up – Demeter
A lending platform that offers yield advancements, i.e., self-paying loans. Borrowers’ collateral is invested in RWA protocols, and the yield pays off debt.
Proximity Bounty Winners
Deploy a Decentralized Frontend Component
Winner – BosWrap
BosWrap used the Near Blockchain Operating System to build a decentralized widget for wrapping/unwrapping ETH.
Runner Up – ABI BOS Widget
A solidity explorer widget that allow users to explore any smart contract for a given ABI. You can get ABI from Etherscan website.
Runner Up – Bossed Up
A project focusing on Ethereum frontends, Blockchain Operating System improvements, and NEAR Social widgets that interact with NEAR contracts.
Runner Up – Atmosph3re
A dApp for reducing the homeless crisis in the United States by giving those living on the streets a decentralized identity, mentoring and community support, and funds for spending on their basic needs to help them thrive.
Runner Up – EthDenver2023UWCA
A dApp on NeaR’s new frontend with BOS.GG. Integrates with Rocketpool to offer quick swaps on Ethereum.
DevGov Bounty Winners
Extensive Developer Profile Widget
Winner – Developer Profile
A recreation of Github profile for NEAR social developers in the Blockchain Operating System.
Fuzzy Search Widget / Promoted Posts Banner Widget / Top Posts Widget / Post History with Diff Widget
Winner – Near.Social DevGovGigs Improvements
A new Developer Governance Gigs interaction experience for Near.Social. Features: 1) Fuzzy Searching that can handle typos, 2) Promote posts and Promoted Post viewer, 3) Hottest Posts viewer, and 4), Post editing history viewer.
Winner – JS Bot Widget
Verifiable RPC Replies
Adds proof generation support to RPC read access key endpoints on the NEAR protocol to help pave the road for light client support.