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!

NEAR Foundation hopes all of you are having a great start to the year. Here are some of the top news stories from the NEAR Foundation and our thriving ecosystem, as well as press headlines from around the globe.

Calimero raises $8.5 million in funding

In an exclusive with The Block, London-based startup Calimero announced an $8.5 million funding round co-led by NEAR Foundation to bring private sharding to NEAR. Calimero’s founders, ex-NEAR engineers Sandi Fatic and Mario Halambek, are building the “AWS for private sharding” and currently have their platform in alpha testing. The story has been covered across North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa, and is creating a lot of excitement throughout the NEAR ecosystem.

SailGP opens fan-owned team for investment

Another big story that hit the press was the first fan-owned SailGP team opening for investment.  As reported in Decrypt, the team was created by a modified community DAO on NEAR protocol, giving sailing fans the opportunity to run and invest in a team in their sport. The offer will close after $35 million in funding is raised and the team will debut in June 2023.

Sheila Warren partners with Forkast News

Sheila Warren, Advisor to the Crypto Council and NEAR Foundation, partnered with Forkast News to plot the course for Web3 in 2023. She identified regulatory decisions as a key area for the year ahead, with lots of activity expected in the US congress and India leading efforts in the G20. Sheila also identified Asia, and specifically ASEAN, as the region to watch for blockchain adoption and regulatory progress.

NEAR’s global press coverage

NEAR Foundation enjoyed coverage across every region in January, with 76 media mentions globally. One story covered extensively was Marieke Flament’s hopes for 2023 with Forkast News, predicting that the ongoing Twitter debacle has warranted an overhaul of the social media status-quo. Users are searching for platforms that are unbiased in their censoring of content and more transparent in their operations, presenting a key use case for blockchains. Marieke also outlined the need for continued improvements in diversity across the Web3 space to create a better working environment for everyone and improve decision making.

Towards the end of January, we partnered with CoinDesk to take a look at the impending crypto winter and how the NEAR ecosystem will fare. The Web3 industry is in for a tough 12 months due to a contraction in user engagement and a scaling back of venture capital. However, NEAR is primed to thrive in the year ahead — with major new infrastructure, including NEAR Social and NEAR Crowd, real world value on the NEAR protocol is set to take off. The Foundation continues to support our bustling ecosystem, and the development community is only growing stronger through the community DAOs.

Finally, Marieke Flament wrote about our recent Forbes post about the importance of servant leadership in the world of tech. Forget ego — this never bodes well in the long term.  

Leaders must do their jobs “for the broader impact they can go on to have,” said Flament. “There are many ‘fake servant leaders’ who pretend they are doing it for the benefit of others but are all too often caught by their own deception and greed, leading to a loss of confidence in authority that runs deep and has a lasting impact on the way people feel about work.” 

That’s all for this month. If we missed anything out or want to share anything for next month’s roundup, get in touch!


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