EAR Protocol (NEAR) is a Layer 1 public Proof-of-Stake (PoS) blockchain that was launched in 2020 by founders ilblackdragon (on X) and Alexander Skidanov. They haven’t had the longest existence in comparison to other leading blockchains, but they have already greatly impacted Web3.
The NEAR Protocol is another blockchain that is labelled an Ethereum Killer as it provides users and developers with a seamlessly fast and secure network to build and interact with.
How Does NEAR Protocol Work?
NEAR Protocol uses a unique ‘Sharding’ technology called ‘Nightshade’, which is specifically designed to improve transactional speed and data capacity within the blockchain.
Sharding splits up the blockchain into various sub-chains which will have different validator nodes working on them. These sub-chains are able to connect and communicate with each other.
Nightshade is different to the general Sharding technique that is used by other blockchains like Zilliqa. Nightshade enables the NEAR Protocol to function and maintain one single chain of data.
Nightshade will bundle the data and information into “chunks” which are then distributed and processed by validator nodes. This allows the network to run smoothly, swiftly and securely as the network does not have too much to handle.
Even though NEAR is labelled an ETH Killer, it is still fully compatible with the Ethereum network as they have built its own Layer 2 scaling solution, Aurora.
Aurora was built using the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) which enables developers to migrate or develop Ethereum decentralised applications on the NEAR blockchain. Users can expect to use their favourite compatible Ethereum dApps at a lower cost.
There are currently over 270 applications in the NEAR-based EVM-compatible Aurora ecosystem! You can connect to the Aurora network using the popular online wallet, Metamask.
Not only that, but users can bridge over tokens from the Ethereum network to the NEAR network using, ‘Rainbow Bridge’.
Rainbow Bridge allows users to bridge crypto back and forth from each network.
The way it works is very simple, users will deposit tokens/assets into an Ethereum Smart Contract which are then locked and new tokens are distributed on the NEAR protocol at a 1:1 rate.
This process can be reversed, simply deposit back into the NEAR smart contract and bridge the assets/tokens back over to Ethereum or the chosen network.
NEAR protocol invested $1 million to become the exclusive strategic investor for the Octopus Network, which agreed. In 2021 Octopus Network joined the NEAR Protocol.
Octopus Network is an ‘Appchain’ which is known as an Application Specific Blockchain. An Appchain allows entrepreneurs/developers to create a separate blockchain for single or multiple amounts of applications.
Appchains permit developers full customisation over their applications through various ways such as:
- Consensus mechanism (PoS/PoW)
The Octopus Network partnership is a proven success for the ecosystem.
Why NEAR Protocol?
The NEAR network is able to facilitate transactions at a low cost of $0.01 with a speed of 2.4 seconds! This is why the NEAR blockchain is the desired blockchain for many devs to build on! The network is forever upgrading…
NEAR Protocol already has over 1000+ dApps that were either built/migrated on the network and has over 19 million active users and 400k daily transactions on the blockchain, which makes it one of the most used networks in the world!
NEAR Protocol Ecosystem
With such an incredible ecosystem, you can bet there are amazing protocols to explore, here are some innovative and well-known projects in the NEAR ecosystem:
- Ref Finance - Ultimate DeFi platform home to NEAR
- PARAS - The go-to NFT Marketplace
- LandToEmpire - Play-to-Earn Mobile Strategy Game
NEAR Protocol NFTs
It is possible that NEAR has the best NFT ecosystem, especially due to its recent integration with the RECUR protocol.
RECUR is the Web3 home to your favourite movies and childhood cartoons. On their platform, you’ll find collections from Star Trek, Top Gun, Rugrats, HelloKitties & many more! RECUR powers major corporations such as Entertainment King, Paramount…
The RECUR protocol is going to become the bridge between Web2 and Web3. This will be powered by the RECYR Builder which allows Web2 brands or projects the ability to develop a Web3 experience for their communities.
NEAR’s entire ecosystem is powered by the NEAR token.
NEAR Protocol Token (NEAR)
NEAR is the native token to the NEAR Protocol and its entire ecosystem which has the following utilities:
- Transactional Fees - Any transactions made on the network are paid with $NEAR, aka Gas fees.
- Deploy & Power applications/smart contracts - developers will create, run or migrate their applications or smart contracts using NEAR tokens.
- Storage fees - Users, developers or companies can store data at a small price, using $NEAR.
If you are interested in starting your journey in the NEAR ecosystem, then you can read how to buy the NEAR token down below.
How To Buy NEAR
There are three main ways to buy or hold NEAR, but either way, you will always go through a centralised exchange (CEX). Here are the options:
Option 1- Centralised Exchange
The NEAR token is available on most of the largest centralised exchanges if not all of them.
Here are some Centralised Exchanges we recommend:
- Binance - The most popular CEX in the world
- ByBit - EARN UP TO $30K in DEPOSIT BONUSES
- BitGet - Trade on BitGet and receive 0% Deposit Cashback + $5,000 DEPOSIT BONUSES
- Coinbase - Spend $100 and Get $10 back!
- Crypto.com - Official Fifa 2022 World Cup Sponsor
Option 2 - DeFi Wallet & Decentralised Exchange
Firstly, you will need the Binance Smart Chain (BNB Chain) connected to your DeFi wallet like Metamask.
You can watch our step-by-step tutorials on Youtube, using these links:
You can swap NEAR tokens on the Binance Smart Chain (BNB Chain) using the PancakeSwap decentralised exchange (DEX) to perform the swap of either BNB/NEAR or BUSD/NEAR for example.
Option 3 - Exclusive NEAR Wallets
If you are interested, you can use native NEAR Protocol wallets that are exclusive to the network. You can hold, swap and earn using a NEAR wallet, some of which are Web extension wallets and some of which are Software wallets that require being downloaded.
These are the most reputable NEAR wallets:
- NEAR Wallet
- HERE Wallet
There are many to choose from, it all depends on your preference.
At the time of writing, the NEAR token is priced at $1.03 with a market cap of $1B, which ranks it 42nd according to CoinMarketCap. NEAR has seen an ATH of $20.42 and has the potential to exceed that.
NEAR is an ever-growing ecosystem that has the potential to become a Top 10 Cryptocurrency. With all the partnerships, integrations and backing, the possibilities are limitless.