NEAR Q4: Hackathons, Upgrades and Integrations
It’s been quite a year here at NEAR, and it’s been an even better Q4. There’s been so much activity, we thought we’d provide a quick snapshot of what’s been happening in and around the ecosystem. We’ve got upgrades, new projects, partnerships, meetups, the works.
NEAR is thriving! Here is a snapshot of all the things that have happened in Q4 of 2021.
Metabuild is back! The first NEAR Metabuild took place earlier this year, and was all about the metaverse! We gave away $1 million in prize funds to projects, but this time we’re going even bigger. We’re looking for people at the very beginning of their crypto journey to bring their ideas for storytelling and education, as well developers looking to build their first app on Web3. On top of that, we have our crypto natives track, where we’re on the hunt for NEAR, Aurora, and Octopus developers building incredible ideas around DeFi, Web3, Gaming, Digital Art/Collectibles, Migration, Ecosystem, and tools. Oh and there’s $1 million in prizes to be awarded.
deadmau5 x Portugal. The Man x Mintbase Launches and NFT
Mintbase, the next generation NFT utility engine announced a partnership with DJ and producer deadmau5 and rock band Portugal. The Man to release their new single as an NFT. The song, titled “this is fine” is being sold as a collection of 1 million NFTs. By releasing the song as an NFT, deadmau5, and Portugal. The Man could be the first artists to reach platinum status – selling one million copies in the US – with an NFT single release. Tooling UpdatesProtocol Upgrades
The NEAR protocol went through 20 successful upgrades in 2021. This included bug fixes, improvements to performance, and changes to help improve usability and efficiency.
Among the highlights were protocol update 35 – implicit accounts. This allows NEAR to have Ethereum style accounts that are public keys. They are created on-chain when someone transfers a nonzero amount of tokens to this account.
Another stand-out upgrade was protocol update 42. Here engineers lowered storage staking cost from 1N per 10kb to 1N per 100kb. This dramatically reduced the barrier of entry for contract developers. Before this change, when a developer deployed a 300kb contract, they needed to have at least 30 $NEAR on the account. After the change, they only need 3 $NEAR.
Lastly, protocol upgrade 48 brought our WebAssembly runtime from wasmer0 to wasmer2. This shift helped half the cost of wasm operations, helping unlock many applications building on Aurora that were previously blocked because their transactions could not fit in NEAR’s gas limit.
This trend continued throughout the year, culminating in our biggest protocol announcement this year, Sharding.
Sharding is Here
In November, the NEAR network was successfully upgraded to become a sharded blockchain! This phase of the product roadmap, nicknamed Simple Nightshade, will kickstart a year of changes and additions to the NEAR blockchain that when complete, will make it super-fast, incredibly secure, and capable of onboarding millions of users into the world of Web3 without skipping a beat.
Aurora, the scaling solution that allows projects on Ethereum to utilize NEAR’s cutting-edge technology has had a busy quarter! Not only did it successfully launch its token on mainnet, but it has also announced a number of strategic partnerships.
The first, brought Chainlink’s price feeds to enable rapid, EVM-compatible DeFi development.
Next up was a partnership with ConsenSys. This partnership brings products like MetaMask, Infura, and Codefi to the NEAR ecosystem. Shortly after that, Aurora teamed up The Graph to help bring superior data indexing.
Lastly, but not leastly, Aurora has partnered with another ecosystem project, Flux Protocol, to bring decentralized oracles to the NEAR ecosystem.
MoonPay Takes NEAR worldwide
NEAR took a giant leap forward in its goal to be the on-ramp for the world into web3 with a new partnership with MoonPay. From December, people in 150 countries worldwide, including the United States, will be able to buy NEAR using their credit or debit cards in just a few clicks.
Flux Goes Live
In Q4 this year, another major new project launched on NEAR Mainnet. Flux is an oracle from the future. Completely decentralized, Flux is bringing secured data feeds to any and all high-throughput data apps — like trading platforms that need access to lots of reliable data — on the NEAR blockchain. Flux’s unique feature set will bring a next-generation oracle capable of powering mainstream use cases like derivatives, lending, stablecoins, dynamic NFTs, yield farming, reserve currencies, insurance, asset bridging, off-chain computation, and more to NEAR.
We’ll be doing a full retrospective for the whole of 2021 later this month so keep an eye out!
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