The NEAR Protocol is an open-source, decentralized platform that is designed to accelerate and make decentralized apps more usable and accessible in the internet. It is one of the gen-3 blockchain platforms that address scalability and security issues. The NEAR Protocol was founded by Alex Skidanov, a former Microsoft developer, and Illia Poloushkin, an engineering manager at Google. Helped by Y Combinator, the NEAR Protocol project was able to raise $50 million in its first four months. The NEAR Protocol launched its mainnet in 2020.
How Does The Near Protocol Work?
The NEAR Protocol runs on a delegated proof-of-stake consensus machine called DoomSlug and a unique sharding mechanism called Nightshade. Because Nightshade splits the blockchains into many parts called shards, NEAR Protocol is faster at processing transactions while also being secure. Each shard in the Nightshade mechanism has 100 seats. Each seat is occupied by a validator. As more validators participate, older validators are incentivized to make new shards.
NEAR Protocol also has a layer 2 scaling solution called the Aurora system. The Aurora system is a smart contract on the NEAR chain and Nightshade. It is also Ethereum Virtual Machine compatible, making it easier for developers to replicate their apps from Ethereum to NEAR and vice-versa. The Rainbow Bridge supports the Aurora System. The Rainbow Bridge is a bridging system that connects NEAR to Ethereum.
NEAR is the native token of the NEAR Protocol. It is used for three things: to process transactions and also to store data, to run validator nodes through staking the token, and as governance votes to determine how resources are allocated. NEAR token holders are subject to lock time periods, so it may take some time before tokens sell.
The Near Collective, composed of different guilds, are groups of people who run the NEAR Protocol. They claim to build the infrastructure for the New Internet, as a result making the Internet more decentralized. They also say that the New Internet stops huge corporations from accessing data and for governments to censor and/or shutdown the internet.
The NEAR Protocol is a fairly new player in the smart contract ran blockchain platform game but, already shows a lot of promise.