Let's build an
Open Web world.

A world where people control their assets, data, and power of governance.

News History Founders Web3 career Top News History Founders Web3 career

NEAR is:

A Foundation

That exists to foster ecosystem development and innovation through grant funding.

Visit NEAR Foundation

A brief history of NEAR

2017 - It started with AI

Illia Polosukhin and Alexander Skidanov started NEAR.ai to explore program synthesis proclaiming, "Singularity is NEAR!". They tried to pay contributors through Ethereum but quickly found out it was not fit for the job.

2018 - The vision was born

They decided to build their own blockchain - the NEAR protocol was born. This was the origin of the vision to give developers an easy path for building decentralized applications that could easily scale.

2019 - Foundation established

The NEAR Foundation was founded as a non-profit fostering NEAR's ecosystem growth and protocol development.

2020 - NEAR Mainnet launched

NEAR mainnet launched in April 2020, and became completely community-operated in September 2020. A vote to enable token transfers passed in October 2020.

2021 - First phase of sharding started

Sharding is the unique technology that enables the NEAR blockchain to scale effortlessly.

2022 - NEAR closed a $ 500m funding round

After two funding rounds in 2022, NEAR has a the means to support further the development of the protocol and growth of the ecosystem.

The founders

Since they founded NEAR in 2017, Alex and Illia have been the visionary minds driving the development of NEAR and its ecosystem.

Image | Founder Alexander Skidanov

Alexander Skidanov

Alex started his career in 2009 at Microsoft, following winning a gold medal at ACM ICPC 2008. In 2011 Alex joined MemSQL (now SingleStore) as Engineer #1, where he was responsible for building many core features, including storage, sharding and durability.

Watch the Epicenter podcast with Alex and Illia

Image | Founder Illia Polosukhin

Illia Polosukhin

Illia has more than 10 years of industry experience, including 3 years at Google where he was a major TensorFlow contributor and managed the team building question-answering capabilities for the core Google search, as well as an author of several notable research papers.

Watch the Wolf of All Streets podcast with Illia

Start your web3-career in the NEAR ecosystem

Many projects as well as the Foundation have openings within various roles - check out the listing to find your place in web3!

See job listings

Start learning

Learn about Web3 and NEAR

Watch NEAR on YouTube

Subscribe to official channel

Start using

Understand why it matters

Create an account