What Is Near Protocol?
Near Protocol is an open-source, scalable blockchain that launched its mainnet in 2020. To date, Near is among the top 20 cryptocurrencies by market capitalization, and the price of the native NEAR token has increased by 150% over the past year.
Near has a sharded architecture that is built on Nightshade technology. In addition, the blockchain uses a self-developed consensus algorithm called Doomslug. These developments are mainly aimed at making Near the fastest, most scalable, secure, and cost-effective project on the market.
Near is designed to provide an ideal environment for decentralized applications, overcoming the main limitations of existing systems: low bandwidth, low speed, high cost, and poor cross-compatibility.
The Team Behind Near Protocol
Near Protocol has a strong and experienced team, most of whom have many years of experience with engineering. In the very beginning, Near was developed by two persons:
- Alexander Skidanov started his career at Microsoft in 2009 and then joined memSQL in 2011 as a chief engineer.
- Illia Polosukhin worked in the Google division, which was engaged in the study of deep learning for natural language processing. This knowledge is used by Google translation services.
Over time, the project team has grown to more than 50 people, some of whom are prize-winners and gold medalists of the International Collegiate Programming Contest.
How Does Near Work?
Near Protocol is a scalable and easy-to-use platform for developing and running decentralized applications. According to the creators, the platform allows you to launch the application in a matter of minutes. In addition, Near has a number of key characteristics that distinguish it from competitive platforms:
To improve performance, the developers have implemented a sharding mechanism called Nightshade. This mechanism differs in that all shards involved in the production of blocks are perceived as part of a single blockchain. Each shard is supported by its dedicated network of validators, and they all work in parallel. In addition, Near uses a kind of Proof of Stake consensus mechanism Doomslug. Doomslug assumes alternate creation of blocks by validator nodes in the network. As a result, new blocks are created almost instantly. Together, Nightshade and Doomslug allow Near to achieve incredible network speed and security. Near Protocol is capable of providing a throughput of up to 100,000 transactions per second. In addition, transaction fees in the Near network remain at a very low level. According to the developers, the cost of transaction fees is 1000x times less than on Ethereum.
Near Protocol was created to provide developers of decentralized applications with the most convenient, easy-to-use, and friendly environment. To write smart contracts, developers can use the popular programming languages Rust and AssemblyScript. Near also provides developers with a number of modular components that will help them launch their projects quickly. These include examples of the implementation of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), smart contracts, and full-fledged dApps. In addition, within the framework of Near, there is a NEAR University where users can gain fundamental knowledge and skills, as well as independently teach students.
Near also interacts with Ethereum via the Rainbow Bridge, a reliable bridge that allows assets such as ERC20 and NFTs to be transferred between Ethereum and NEAR. Moreover, you can even interact with smart contracts and dApps on both sides using Rainbow Bridge.
Human-readable account names
Accounts on Near work differently than in most other blockchains. First, instead of a public key hash, Near uses readable account identifiers, similar to a domain name system. For example, “name.near”. Think of your account as a username that you can easily remember and enter without copying and pasting. To create an account, you can use the official Near Wallet. In addition, unlike most blockchains, the Near account is not fundamentally tied to a public/private key pair. Instead, the keys in Near (called access keys) are flexible. You can have as many access keys as you want.
NEAR is a native coin of the Near Protocol. NEAR serves as fuel for the entire ecosystem and ensures network security, plays the role of a unit of account and a medium of exchange for its resources and third-party applications, and in the long term, aims to become a means of saving used by individuals, as well as contracts and DeFi applications.
The maximum supply of NEAR is 1 billion coins, of which more than 670 million are in circulation. Every year, the supply increases by 5% to support the network and its participants every year. 4.5% serves as a reward for network validators, while 0.5% is sent to the project treasury.
The fees that are paid for transactions in each block are divided into two parts:
1. Part of the fee is transferred to the address specified by the contract owner, allowing developers to benefit from the deployment of contracts that are gaining popularity;
2. The remaining part is burned. This means that at a very high network usage rate, the rate of token burning may exceed the rate of new tokens issuing, and the network will become deflationary.
Near Protocol is a blockchain project that definitely deserves attention. The platform is in great demand among developers of decentralized applications due to its cost-effectiveness, speed, extensive functionality, and ease of use. In addition, full compatibility with Ethereum is also of great importance, providing developers ample opportunities.