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!
NEAR Foundation is excited to announce a new partnership with Popp, a company helping small businesses generate better customer engagement using Web3 technology.
As part of the partnership, Popp — a solution-as-a-service (SaaS) for small-to-medium consumer brands — will launch its white-labeled tools and products exclusively on NEAR.
How Popp works for small businesses
Popp helps consumer brands launch micro community spaces for customers, which are embedded in their online stores. Milestone-based customer rewards then drive more engagement for brands. The NEAR partnership will, for instance, allow Popp’s customers to issue NFTs when certain milestones are met.
On Popp, brands can build deeper, more meaningful connections with customers by rewarding them across multiple touch points. Through these bespoke projects, Popp has already generated over £57k in revenue ($69k USD) in six months via six pilot partners.
Popp has two interfaces. On the business side, each brand gets its own custom dashboard, where they control its loyalty and rewards program and see customer data. On the customer side, users can see all of the user activity in one place, like new members and the number of “Popps” that are live or completed. Customers can also create and interact with content — the more they interact with the community, the more coins they can earn.
What’s a Popp?
A Popp is a small task set by a brand for customers. If customers complete the task, they earn coins that can be used to redeem rewards or unlock experiences.
Each brand can set a variety of Popps for their customers, which are micro-tasks that generate value for the brand. This can include creating content, leaving reviews, or referring friends. Completing various Popps give users things like discounts and vouchers, but brands can also set up popps for charity, sustainability, and much more.
Through Popp’s “Partnerships” feature, brands can make coins redeemable for rewards from partnering bands. This feature even allows companies to “invite” brands to partner with them for these rewards. Each customer gets their own user profile, through which they can see the number of coins they’ve collected, and explore where to redeem rewards.
Head over to Popp to explore the company’s customer rewards ecosystem. Popp’s closed beta is now live and e-commerce brands should head over to the website now to join the waitlist!
As February draws to a close, NEAR Foundation wanted to share some of the best news headlines from the Near ecosystem and community.
Let’s take a look at some of the biggest stories from NEAR in February.
NEAR partners with NYU for Web3 learning workshop
NEAR attracted over 135 pieces of global coverage this month. One of the popular announcements was NEAR’s partnership with New York University’s School of Professional Studies, featuring a Web3 learning workshop.
Published by Cointelegraph and other top-tier press, this partnership will expose students, faculty, and commercial partners to the underlying technology powering the Web3 industry. The course will focus on blockchain’s intersection with the sporting industry, exposing those involved to hands-on experience taught by Michael Kelly, a co-founder of Open Forest Protocol, and an early builder in the NEAR Ecosystem.
Former NBA player Baron Davis builds platform for photographers on NEAR
Two-time NBA All-Star Baron Davis announced his plan to transform the image and video rights market, utilizing NEAR’s extensive NFT infrastructure to create a purpose-built platform for photographers.
In an interview with Decrypt, Davis revealed that his startup SliC Images is teaming up with Mintbase with a $250k grant to build a platform where photographers will have ownership of their channels, replacing long-term predatory corporate deals with a fairer platform facilitating opportunities for all photographers.
Also featured in Tech Funding News and across the industry press, the announcement has excited the Web3 community around the world. Allowing users to take a photo, add a permanent license, auction it off, and stick it on a blog within five minutes, SliC images are aiming to have a prototype of the platform ready for ETH Denver.
NEAR Foundation and Supermoon announce NEAR House
As the NEAR community prepares for ETHDenver, and especially NEAR Day, Near Foundation announced Near House in collaboration with Supermoon.
As covered in the Bitcoin Insider, the unforgettable 8-day experience will see 20 builders and founders from the NEAR ecosystem set up camp in downtown Denver and engage in team-building activities and enthusiastic discussions about NEAR Protocol. NEAR House will also include a curated ETH Denver agenda, enabling the innovators to maximize their experience at the event.
Marieke Flament on more women in Web3
Fast Company spoke with Marieke Flament about the importance of greater participation from women in MENA. The crucial nature of diversity of thought in the boardroom cannot be understated, particularly in high-growth industries like Web3.
In the interview, Marieke outlines that human biases are unavoidable components of all our decision-making. So, ensuring that the group making the decisions is as diverse as possible is a key mission when creating the future on the blockchain.
Calimero amongst 10 Web3 startups to watch in 2023
Following their recent funding announcement, Calimero Network was featured in Tech Funding News’ 10 Web3 startups to watch out for in 2023. The piece covered the exciting startup’s ambition to assist Web2 companies in scaling up their offerings by utilizing the NEAR blockchain.
Calimero’s founders Sandi and Mario are building the first private sharding infrastructure on the NEAR Protocol, enabling more privacy for companies storing data on blockchains.
NEAR partners with Recur
Towards the end of February, Business Insider covered NEAR’s latest step in enhancing interoperability and accessibility in Web3. Partnering with Recur, a project focused on improving the blockchain-building experience, the NEAR ecosystem will have access to an enterprise-grade Web3 software suite.
The exciting partnership will make Web3 more accessible for everyone, empowering brands and fans to innovate and explore new digital experiences.
NEAR joins Figment-powered Ledger Live
Wrapping up a busy month of activity, NEAR Foundation announced that NEAR has joined Figment-powered Ledger Live, an all-in-one digital asset management app secured by Ledger’s industry-leading hardware wallets. As covered by the Crypto Reporter, more of the Web3 community will now be able to enjoy the benefits of self-custody whilst helping to secure the NEAR Protocol by staking their tokens.
That’s all for February. If NEAR Foundation missed anything or you would like to share anything for next month’s roundup, please get in touch!