NEAR at ETHDenver 2022 Highlights

February 24, 2022 — NEAR Team

Couldn’t make it to the NEAR Lounge for #BUIDL Week at this year’s ETHDenver? This post has you covered with highlights from events at the NEAR Lounge and ETHDenver stages, as well as a major ecosystem announcement from NEAR Co-Founder Illia Polosukhin.

NEAR went to ETHDenver because the community believes in a collaborative, decentralized, multi-chain ecosystem of Open Web and Metaverse platforms. Projects like Aurora and Rainbow Bridge, for example, have helped build simple and secure bridges between NEAR and Ethererum, which are working to foster a truly global network of open-source Web3 projects. 

So, if you weren’t able to meet and connect with the NEAR developers and ecosystem partners building the decentralized multi-chain future, get up to speed with these highlights, and start learning to build at NEAR Education

Day 1 @ NEAR Lounge – Building Bridges with Community

On Day 1 of #BUIDL Week at the NEAR Lounge, the focus was on how the NEAR community is building bridges for a multi-chain future. 

Improving Web3 UX Through Appchain Technology 

The first presenters at the NEAR Lounge were the team leads from Octopus Network, who detailed their efforts to help kickstart an innovation wave on Web3. 

“So far, Web3 user application development hasn’t had great user experience because distributed ledger technology is more complex and expensive to build, which results in a downgraded UI,” said Octopus Network Editor Suzanne Leigh. “One of the key design considerations for Octopus is making Web3 accessible to all.

NEAR Foundation’s Jacob Lindahl

Leigh noted that new frameworks, like Substrate and Cosmos SDK, give Web3 developers a much bigger and better design space to deliver fully optimized Web3 applications. As Leigh explained, Octopus Network does this through application-specific blockchains (aka, appchains).

To hear more from Leigh and the rest of the Octopus Network team, listen to the Twitter Spaces recording

Introducing Pagoda, a Web3 Startup Platform

NEAR Co-Founder Illia Polosukhin took to the stage to announce the launch of Pagoda, the first-ever Web3 startup platform. Pagoda gives developers all the tools they need to build, create, and maintain Web3 applications. 

Illia Polosukhin introduces Pagoda

To hear Illia’s Pagoda announcement in its entirety, check out the Twitter Spaces recording, which also includes Pagoda’s Min Zhang going into detail on how NEAR’s sharding approach works. 

Developer Console and NEAR 101 Fundamentals 

After Illia’s announcement, Pagoda’s Josh Quintal demoed Developer Console—Pagoda’s developer platform for creating and maintaining dapps on NEAR. 

Developer Console features a number of interactive tutorials, a scalable RPC service, and operational metrics. It takes care of Web3 infrastructure so that developers can focus on what makes their dapps unique.

Josh Quintal talking through the Developer Console

To hear Josh explain how to deploy a smart contract and mint an NFT using Developer Console, be sure to listen to the Twitter Spaces recording. You can also tune in to the “NEAR 101 Fundamentals” talk hosted by NEAR Foundation’s Jacob Lindhal, another great primer on getting started building on NEAR. 

Day 2 @ NEAR Lounge – Rust, Aurora, Metapool, and Brave

The second day of ETHDenver at NEAR Lounge was full of variety, with talks, panels, and workshops covering everything from NEAR’s Rust programming language to Web3 funding, Brave browser’s gaming ambitions, and more.

Following the morning’s “In Rust We Trust” brunch, Pagoda’s Austin Abell taught attendees how to use the Rust programming language to create smart contracts on the NEAR protocol. Pagoda software engineer Phuong Nguyen followed this up with a workshop on how to test NEAR contracts on the near-workspaces Github.

After Pagoda’s opening workshops, NEAR Foundation’s Jacob Lindhal returned to the stage for a talk on how to get started with NEAR University’s borderless education efforts. You can listen to Jacob’s remarks on the Twitter Spaces recordings, or just sign up for a class at NEAR University

After lunch, Aurora team members took the stage to talk about building on Aurora, the EVM scaling solution built on NEAR. Alex Shevchenko, Founder and CEO of Aurora, explained how to build apps on Aurora, which Aurora’s Business Development Lead Danny Bocanegra followed up with “Getting Onboarded to Aurora’s Ecosystem”.

The Aurora-centric talks continued with a presentation by team members from Endemic, Chronicle, and TENKBay—three creator-focused NFT platforms recently launched on the Aurora EVM and NEAR Protocol. 

Day 2 also featured a fascinating fireside chat between Coinfund’s Jake Brukhman NEAR Foundation Grants’ Josh Daniels. Brukhman spent a good deal of time talking about the future of NFTs. 

Brave’s Luke Mulks and NEAR Protocol Founder Illia Polosukhin

“Our thesis at CoinFund is that this is just the beginning,” he said. “We have the entire mainstream world to convert to NFTs.”

Team members from the privacy-preserving browser Brave, which sponsored a MetaBUILD 2 challenge, also took the stage at the NEAR Lounge. Jonathan Sampson, Head of Developer Relations, talked about how gaming NFTs are a path to mainstream adoption, while Luke Mulks, VP of Business Operations at Brave, had a fireside chat with Illia on frictionless onboarding for a multi-chain future. 

Check out the Day 2 Twitter Spaces recording to hear these talks, as well as others on fractionalized assets, API3’s Aurora oracle solutions, and MoonNoobs, an Aurora-based platform for investing in the blockchain startups that are regularly surfacing throughout the NEAR ecosystem.

Day 3 @ NEAR Lounge – Research & DAOvelopment and Governauts Assemblage

Day 3 kicked off with the “NEAR DAOVersity Brunch”, an event co-hosted by NEAR Foundation CEO Marieke Flament, NEAR Co-Founder Illia Polosukhin, and H.E.R. DAO Founder Tracey Bowen, a womxn-led developer DAO championing innovation and diversity. 

The day of DAOs got started with the “Building (Rainbow) Bridges, which showcased the NEAR community’s commitment and active work toward inclusivity. NEAR Foundation Grants’ Nicole Tay moderated the panel, which included Tracey Bowen, Mildred Idada (Founder, Open Web Collective), Kimberly Adams (Co-founder, Bridge Network), Barbara Liau (Co-Founder & COO, Nomad), and Kelsey Ruiz (Head of Content, Akash Network). 

NEAR Foundation CEO Marieke Flament

Interested in others exploring Web3 inclusivity and DAOs on the NEAR ecosystem? Check out the work of Chloe Lewis of Marma J Foundation, who gave an excellent workshop on multi-DAO governance within NEAR DAOs. Also, dig into the work of speakers Eugene Levanthal (Smart Contract Research Forum), Livia Deschermeyer (Token Engineering Commons), and Jessica Zartler (Commons Stack/BlockScience Forum Governauts + Token Engineering Academy)—each whom are working to make Web3 spaces inclusive and welcoming. 

Once immersed in DAOs and governance, check out AstroDAO, founded by Jordan Gray. AstroDAO is the NEAR ecosystem’s DAO-launching platform, and Gray shared a number of techniques and strategies for creating momentum for dapp communities on NEAR. 

NEAR at the ETHDenver Web3 Castle 

The NEAR community’s presence at ETHDenver continued after the talks, workshops, panels, and hacking at the NEAR Lounge. A number of folks from NEAR spoke on the Web3 Castle stages, exploring topics such as mainstream blockchain adoption, the multi-chain future, NEAR sharding, and more. 

Illia Polosukhin Talks Pagoda and NEAR

A major event for the NEAR community at ETHDenver was Illia Polosukhin’s announcement of Pagoda, the first-ever Web3 startup platform. Illia began with a brief talk on NEAR’s sharding, then demonstrated how Pagoda’s suite of tools and resources, including Developer Console, can help anyone build and maintain Web3 apps, in a simplified and elegant way. 

As Illia sees it, Pagoda will play a major role in launching the next generation of crypto startups. Check out his talk in the video below. 

Illia was also part of the panel “Is Blockchain the Future of Technology”, led by Time reporter Andrew Chow. Watch it below. 

NEAR Foundation CEO Marieke Flament on Blue Chip Forays into Crypto

A lot of blockchain developers are interested in how traditional companies and financial institutions will integrate crypto technology. As part of the panel “Blue Chip Forays Into Crypto,” NEAR Foundation CEO Marieke Flament leaned on her experience as CMO of Circle and CEO of Mettle to make some forecasts. 

“We are seeing more and more blue chips getting into this space but they need to wrap their heads around it,” said Flament, who emphasized how integral security will be for blue chip adoption. “There is a lot of education to be done and also a lot of streamline usability needed to make sure they get to the same understanding [as Web2].”

Listen to Marieke’s full remarks in the video below.

Alex Skidanov Imagines the Multi-Chain Future

A major theme for the NEAR community during #BUIDL Week and ETHDenver Main Event was the multi-chain future, where various protocols collaborate to elevate Web3. NEAR Co-Founder Alex Skidanov discussed this topic as part of the panel “A Multi-Chain Future”, which you can watch below. 

Alex Shevchenko Talks Aurora and Mainstream Adoption

Aurora Founder and CEO Alex Shevchenko spoke twice during the ETHDenver Main Event. In a talk at the Web3 Castle, Alex explained the two ingredients necessary to onboard the next billion users: a scalable, sharded blockchain infrastructure and mass-market user experience like simple subscription models and FaceID.

Alex also took part in the panel “EVM Interoperability Across Ecosystems” at the Art Hotel, which you can watch below. 

And that’s a wrap! See you at the next ETHDenver!


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