NEAR Launches Infrastructure Committee with $4 Million in Funding  – NEAR Protocol

NEAR Launches Infrastructure Committee with $4 Million in Funding 

April 8, 2024

NEAR has seen a massive surge in users and transactions over the last few months. It’s important to have a smooth-running blockchain for project and founder expansion. Today, the NEAR Foundation launches the Infrastructure Committee, a new initiative aimed to strengthen NEAR’s Key Infrastructure. With $4 million earmarked for infrastructure projects, the initiative is meant to support the success of NEAR projects while distributing funds and sourcing projects in an open, transparent way.

What is Key Infrastructure? It includes RPC nodes, relayers, indexers, bridges, wallets, load balancers, and oracles. Also, NEAR should be listed correctly on all the DEX tools available. Incidents and outages need to be easily reported and fixed.

The committee is made up of  ecosystem leaders and NEAR partners from across core NEAR orgs. Its goals are to:

  • Decentralize decision-making
  • Enhance critical infrastructure
  • Streamline efforts for greater clarity and decentralization

The committee primarily focuses on proposals, with multiple Requests For Proposals (RFPs) planned to meet important ecosystem needs. These proposals will undergo review and asynchronous voting by the committee.

Progress of the Infrastructure Committee

The Infrastructure Committee has already funded five critical infrastructure proposals:

  • Jutsu IDE infrastructure implementation (AI development environment)
  • FASTNEAR infrastructure services (new RPC nodes and custom endpoints)
  • Aurora Web 3.0 Wallet Support Services
  • The building of a Treasury App for use by governing committees
  • An audit of the Ledger integrations

The committee also inherited some projects that it will now actively manage:

  • Aurora RPC SpeedUp
  • MyNEARWallet maintenance by Meteor

With over half of the allocated $4 million budget remaining, there is an open invitation to the community to bring forward innovative infrastructure projects such as:

  • Faster RPC Nodes
  • Specific common endpoints to replace broad RPC queries
  • New bridges to improve cross-chain transactions and increase the number of chains supported
  • ICANN-compliant DNS and expansion of top-level domains
  • Focused relayers to support gas-free and other specialized relayer needs

The committee encourages community members to contribute their ideas, proposals, and feedback, and welcomes a range of perspectives from founders, developers, and NEAR enthusiasts on how to improve the foundations of NEAR technology. 

The current Infrastructure Committee is comprised of the following members:

  • Abhishek Vaidyanathan, NEAR Foundation (serving as a non-voting meeting Chair)
  • Alex Shevchenko, Aurora Labs
  • Bowen Wang, Director of Protocol, Pagoda
  • Vlad Frolov, DevHub
  • Sandi Fatic, Calimero
  • Eric Winer, Pagoda
  • Illia Polosukhin, NEAR Foundation (serving as an ad-hoc member on an as-needed basis)
  • Christopher Donovan, NEAR Foundation (serving as an ad-hoc member on an as-needed basis)

The Working Group comprises the following admins and advisors:

  • Project Oversight – Konrad Merino, Head of Blockchain Success, NEAR Foundation
  • Product Manager – Gautham Ravi, Sr. Product Manager, Pagoda
  • Project Manager – Trentin C Bergeron, Sr. Technical Program Manager, Pagoda
  • Technical BD – Vikas Pandey, Success & Partner Engineering, NEAR Foundation
  • Technical Advisor – Robert Tsia, SRE Manager, Pagoda
  • Technical Advisor – Ernesto Cejas Padilla, Sr. SRE, Pagoda
  • Technical Advisor – Firat Sertgoz, Engineering Manager, Pagoda
  • Technical Advisor – Patrick Engvall, Sr. Engineer, Pagoda
  • Technical Advisor – Pierre Leguen, Software Engineer, NEAR Foundation Finance
  • Broadcast MC & Project Advisor – Marcus Ribeiro, Ecosystem Relations, NEAR Foundation

For those looking to participate, the Interim Proposal and Funding Process provides a comprehensive guide on how to submit proposals. To foster transparency and public engagement, the committee has established clear processes to track and discuss proposals openly. 

The community can view the public tracking of proposals document and participate in public discussions, including announcements of Requests for Proposals (RFPs). The committee’s meeting notes will be shared with the community to maintain openness about the committee’s decisions and discussions. 

Engaging the Community and Fostering Collaboration

To facilitate community engagement, anyone interested can join the discussion on the Github repo, which will serve as the hub for suggestions, collaboration, and support among members interested in contributing to NEAR infrastructure.

The Infrastructure Mandate & Charter and Working Group Details will offer additional insights into the committee’s mission, structure, and ongoing projects. These resources are designed to educate and inspire community members to contribute their skills and ideas towards building a more robust and scalable NEAR ecosystem.

Future Plans for the NEAR Infrastructure Committee

As NEAR continues to grow, so will the necessity for robust infrastructure to support an increasing number of transactions and users. Future enhancements include the introduction of a more sophisticated incident management system and post-mortem processes for infrastructure outages. 

The development of a Blockchain Operating System (BOS)-based app for proposal management will be another significant move towards optimizing the efficiency of the funding process. This upgrade will streamline the proposal and funding workflow, making it easier for community members to submit and manage their projects. 

The committee’s work will also support NEAR’s growth and chain abstraction efforts, ensuring the blockchain can handle the anticipated surge in traffic as more users join the ecosystem. 

Those interested in getting involved with the Infrastructure Committee can join the Working Group Discussion on GitHub to collaborate on initiatives, discuss proposals and RFPs, or ask questions.

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