Meet Near, the next generation blockchain that seeks a great goal: the total and definitive decentralization.
History of Near
In the quest for decentralization, Near and its ecosystem play a very important role, which started a few years ago and is still in full development today. Here we show you its journey:
- 2017: Illia Polosukhin and Alexander Skidanov, who came from working in global companies such as Google and Microsoft, started working on Near.ai. They used the Ethereum network to achieve what they were looking for, however they did not succeed, they did not get the desired results.
- 2018: they create their own blockchain, Near, with which they seek to provide developers with a tool to create interoperable DApps. If you are curious about how this process happened (since 2017), this article (in English), by Illia Polosukhin himself, clearly explains the evolution.
- 2019: the Near Foundation is established, focused on the Near ecosystem and the evolution of its protocol.
- 2020: in April, the Near mainnet is launched, which, by September of this year, became fully managed by the community.
- 2021: The Near ecosystem begins to enable the sharding mechanism.
- 2022: The Near project achieves sufficient funding to continue its journey into the decentralized system.
Near is defined as part of the next generation of blockchains, which enables Web3 access to the masses.
It was created seeking decentralization, to create a web where access to information happens in a free and independent way. The goal ran into obstacles, for example: that processing information on these decentralized platforms was time-consuming, and therefore costly.
But why create a new blockchain technology if this type of innovation has already existed since 2008, with the emergence of Bitcoin. Indeed, blockchains and a whole technology around them have been available since the creation of Bitcoin. However, in reality, full decentralization has not been achieved. And that is what this decentralized innovation is looking for: an ecosystem where users are free, and everything is not controlled by a central entity.
That is why Near emerged, to try to make progress in two aspects that are considered to be responsible for the fact that the current web is still so centralized: system design and organization.
Near is a Layer 1 blockchain, which uses sharding, through the NightShade protocol, as the basis of its operation; this makes the blockchain much more efficient. Through sharding, each node stores only a portion of the information circulating in the network, not all of it, which allows processing a higher number of transactions per second.
Near also offers interoperability between blockchains through Rainbow Bridge, which is a Near application, and a Layer 2 solution called Aurora, which enables communication with the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). Users can transfer ERC-20 tokens and other types of assets, such as NFTs or stablecoins, from the Ethereum blockchain to the Near protocol network, which increases throughput and lowers transaction fees.
Near’s main platform is very similar to Ethereum, as it allows the storage of smart contracts that facilitate the use of different apps by network users. Similarly, it was created to be used independently, but there are a number of tools, developed by the community, that facilitate its use by developers, including a wallet, Near Wallet, which allows the management and safeguarding of digital assets necessary for the operation of the Near platform.
The consensus protocol used is Thresholded Proof of Stake (TPoS). Through this variant of PoS, the security of the network is guaranteed, since each validator has to stake part of its tokens to ensure that no fraudulent actions are carried out.
The actors participating in the Near network are:
- Validators: they are in charge of running the nodes to validate transactions.
- Developers: they are in charge of building the applications that run on the Near network.
- Token holders: the owners of the tokens used in the platform.
- Near Foundation: coordinates the governance of the project and ensures the smooth operation of the network.
- Observers outside the network: their task is to prevent, as far as possible, fraud.
- Users: the people who use the applications running on Near.
The Near token
Near’s native asset is an ERC-20 utility token – which has the same name as the platform, Near. This token enables participation in network governance. Its fundamental uses are:
- Serving as payment for transaction processing.
- Participation in governance processes.
- It has a limited issuance of one billion units.
The essential characteristics of Near
We can affirm that the pillars of the Near protocol are:
- Decentralization. A goal that it seeks on an ongoing basis, with the aim of achieving it 100%. Unlike what happens today with other blockchain technologies, which do not achieve complete independence.
- Sharding. It allows information to be processed in parallel -in the different nodes of the network- and thus improve the speed of the process.
- Usability. This is the goal that every developer pursues, that the applications they build are usable for end users, and it is one of the goals that Near and its technology seeks.
- Governance. The community is the one that decides the direction of this new technology, thus ensuring its independence and decentralization.
- Interoperability between blockchains.
- Increased development of DApps. Thanks to Near, the development of DApps is much easier in this blockchain.