August in Review: Javascript SDK, NEAR Digital Collective Launch, and NEARCON Updates – NEAR Protocol

August in Review: Javascript SDK, NEAR Digital Collective Launch, and NEARCON Updates

August 30, 2022

The summer is drawing to a close but things are really ramping up all around the NEAR ecosystem. The month of August saw the Javascript SDK release, NEAR Digital Collective’s launch, new NEARCON details, and more. 

Let’s have a peek around the NEAR ecosystem to what’s been surfacing. From NEAR Foundation’s own initiatives, ecosystem projects, and beyond, it’s been a month of building toward the future.

Ecosystem Panel: The Future of Gaming and Web3

The August Ecosystem Town Hall tackled one of Web3’s most fun and interesting topics: Gaming. David Morrison, NEAR’s Community Engagement Lead, hosted a panel of seasoned gaming veterans building on NEAR. Guests included Lisa Sterbakov of Armored Kingdom, Aliaksandr “Sasha” Hudzilin from Human Guild, and Vivi Lin of Octopus Network.

The discussion ranged widely from how gaming can be a critical force in blockchain mass adoption to future in-game economic models that will better empower players. And there was one common theme amongst the panelists. The best of blockchain gaming is yet to come, as designers and developers strive to build AAA experiences for Web3.

Foundation News

With NEARCON fast approaching, it’s been all hands on deck at NEAR Foundation. Ticket sales rose throughout the month, and CoinDesk jumped aboard as NEARCON’s Official Media Partner. Elsewhere, the latest installment In the NEAR Future hit Twitter Spaces. Featuring Mintbase CEO Nate Geier, the AMA explored NFTs, digital collectibles, and Web3 marketplaces ahead of NEARCON. 

The NEAR Javascript SDK was also released this past month, creating a more seamless onboarding experience for Web2 developers looking to transition into Web3. With over 20 million Javascript developers worldwide —making it the most popular coding language—even more dapps will be coming to the NEAR ecosystem in the future. To help spread the word, Pagoda team members attended ETH Toronto on August 8th through 10th, with Austin Baggio and Ben Kurrek hosting a JS SDK workshop.

This past month also marked the beginning of some major changes in NEAR ecosystem governance. Following co-founder Illia Polosuhkin’s talk at EthCC in Paris, NEAR Foundation announced that it would assist in creating the NEAR Digital Collective (NDC). The NDC is a new framework and implementation plan for an ecosystem-wide self-governance treasury. Its main purpose will be to further decentralize NEAR’s ecosystem governance by moving decision-making on-chain for a more resilient, fair, and transparent community.

Ecosystem News

August was also an incredible month for the NEAR ecosystem, led by Sweatcoin’s $13M funding round to further tomorrow’s movement economy. Built on NEAR, Sweatcoin is now the most downloaded health and fitness app in the world. This most recent funding round includes a private token sale to accelerate the Sweat Economy’s migration to Web3.

The ecosystem also surpassed 750 projects being built on NEAR. Growth is certainly accelerating, going from 100 projects to 750 in less than a year. At this pace, it wouldn’t be a surprise to break the 1,000-project mark before the holiday season. Amidst this ecosystem growth, Coinbase added NEAR to its roadmap this past month.

It was also an eventful month for all things Aurora. The team successfully fended off an attempted hack on the network, halting the attack in only 31 seconds. Aurora has also been included in the latest Brave desktop update as a preloaded chain for all Brave Wallet users. The Aurora Vietnam Community is also now up and running, furthering the Foundation’s goal of fostering a thriving, global ecosystem.

There were several key NFT happenings, headlined by Mintbase launching its grants program that will help foster growth by helping NFT projects bootstrap on NEAR. And Playible —an NFT fantasy sports platform built on the NEAR protocol—celebrated its first fantasy sports NFT launch this past month. The first NEAR-native omnichain NFT project was also announced in August, with Real Birds being announced as a grant recipient.

In terms of developer tooling, Chainstack announced that the platform will now support NEAR to more easily deploy, run, and manage nodes. WELLDONE Studio also released and presented its wallet and remix IDE plugin for devs looking to build on NEAR. Both Chainstack and WELLDONE demonstrate how the NEAR ecosystem is enhancing the developer experience month over month.

NEAR in the Press

NEAR co-founder Illia Polosukhin spoke with CoinTelegraph at Korean Blockchain Week (KBW) about the rollout of the JavaScript SDK, emphasizing that the 20 million worldwide JS developers can now foray into blockchain without significant skills re-tooling.

Forkast also reported that the NEAR Foundation shortlisted 20 candidates for its first-ever Women in Web3 Changemakers list. Ten winners will be selected via public vote ending on August 29th, conducted on the blockchain using NEAR wallets (more on this below). 

Marieke Flement, CEO of the NEAR Foundation, was also featured on the Forbes Technology Council where she gave her thoughts on managing the challenges of a decentralized workforce and the “Right to Disconnect.”

NEARCON: Apply for Hackathon, Vote for Women in Web3, and Join the Poster Hunt 

With NEARCON fast approaching, the NEAR Foundation is extremely thankful for all of the hackathon applications received to date. There are still some slots left, but you’ll want to apply as soon as possible via this application page. Selectees will receive free admission to NEARCON, a travel stipend in NEAR tokens, and an invite to the registration party on September 11th with fellow hackathon-ers.

Time is also ticking to vote for Women in Web3 Changemakers. You can vote via typeform or through a DAO. Votes will be counted equally but the typeform is a simpler option for those unfamiliar with DAO voting. To vote via DAO, click on the official Satori link, connect an existing NEAR wallet or create a new one. After claiming an NFT, head to the poll on AstroDAO and cast your vote! 

Finally, stay tuned for more details on the NEAR Poster Hunt in Lisbon. It’ll be like an IRL scavenger hunt mixed with Web3. Posters with QR codes will be scattered around the city, and people will be able to win prizes, collect POAPs, and more. The NEAR Poster Hunt will be one of the most fun and social events at NEARCON. So, keep your eyes peeled for details!

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