For anyone following the validator set over the weekend, you may have noticed that a new validator called “dragonfly.poolv1.near” quickly climbed into the top three position in the active set. This is linked to Dragonfly Capital, whose managing director Haseeb Qureshi will join the NEAR Validator Advisory Board (NVAB) this week.
Dragonfly Capital is a global investment firm which focuses on blockchain and has an active presence across both the US and Asian markets. They are known for their research and highly technical team.
Dragonfly will play a key role in the governance and evolution of NEAR through its next phase of adoption as part of the NEAR Validator Advisory Board, which is a select group of professional validators and infrastructure providers who participate in the technical governance of NEAR. Because NEAR is a fully decentralized and community-controlled protocol, the validators help make decisions on the evolution of the technology and network. Starting with the MainNet launch in October 2020, NVAB members work with the engineering teams on testing, feedback, requests for new features, and market research.
The NVAB is also working closely with NEAR to develop the Smart Contract-based delegation for the staking of NEAR tokens, a unique innovation among Proof-of-Stake blockchain protocols. Delegation via smart contracts—rather than at the protocol level, as most PoS blockchains do—will offer more flexibility for the validators, allowing them either to produce their own validation contract or to configure staking rewards that optimize for particular positions, like the size of delegation or a certain lockup timeline. This enables a dynamic marketplace between validators and stakers while also securing the protocol.
Haseeb shared a post about why he and his team are excited about NEAR and joining the NVAB. As a horizontally-scalable, sharded PoS blockchain, NEAR will offer solutions to many of the pain points facing other protocols today, such as network congestion, limited transaction throughput, prohibitively high gas costs, and barriers to mainstream usability.
NEAR is a layer-one protocol designed to interoperate with Ethereum and which addresses some of the current challenges posed by the overwhelming volume of DeFi activity. NEAR can securely absorb and extend the development activity of a layer-one like Ethereum much like other layer-two solutions do, but with all the security and governance guarantees of an advanced layer-one protocol.
NEAR’s emphasis on usability means that developers don’t need to learn a new programming language to be able to build on the network. The combination of accessible, native WASM-based runtime alongside EVM compatibility on the horizon, as well as a fully decentralized, trustless cross-chain asset bridge called the Rainbow Bridge, means that building on NEAR is accessible to any developer, whether porting apps from Ethereum, or builders just getting started on blockchain programming. (Not to mention other usability-enhancing features such as human-readable addresses and contract-level developer rewards.)
The success of any smart contract platform depends not just on the quality of the tech, but also the community. We’re very excited to welcome Dragonfly Capital to the NVAB and the wider NEAR community as we forge the path to true mainstream crypto adoption. Don’t forget to check out their research post for more details on why Dragonfly is excited about NEAR’s future.