NEAR's January Town Hall Recap – NEAR Protocol

NEAR’s January Town Hall Recap

January 28, 2022

The last 12 months was an incredible year for the NEAR community. The ecosystem grew at a phenomenal clip, bringing in new developers, projects and users. The NEAR Protocol was also successfully upgraded to Phase 0 of Simple Nightshade, making the blockchain faster and more robust, while keeping it carbon neutral. 

On January 20, NEAR Foundation kicked off the new year with its first Town Hall of 2022. Users and developers from all over the world tuned in. From Korea and Africa to Belarus, Thailand, and Turkey, the NEAR community mirrored the ecosystem’s rapidly growing global reach and influence. 

In case you missed the NEAR’s January Town Hall, here’s a roundup. 

An ode to the ecosystem

“At NEAR, we believe in a world where people can control their assets, their data, and their power of governance,” said Marieke Flament, NEAR Foundation’s CEO. “We believe that is key to creating an Open Web world. A world where everyone can engage and participate; a world where new business models can be created, and where creators, developers, and users can be better rewarded.”

That vision is not only shared by everyone at NEAR, but the wider community, too. That’s why this month’s town hall was all about championing the voices and ideas from the wider ecosystem. 

Team members from the Open Forest Protocol and Sankore took center stage to discuss their progress and why they chose to build on NEAR. 

Sankore: Scaling Education in Africa 

Sankore Guild Lead and CEO Kevin Imani spoke about the dapp’s national and regional efforts. Imani detailed Sankore’s three-pronged approach in Kenya and East Africa: developer training, talent scouting, and project scouting. 

“We want to implement training centers around East Africa where we can have developers certified to develop on NEAR Protocol,” said Imani. He went on to explain Sankore’s ambitious goal of building a network of monthly NEAR Meet events each month in the region, while actively recruiting people and projects to build on NEAR. 

Several Town Hall participants were understandably enthusiastic about Sankore’s mission to bring NEAR to new audiences in Africa. 

“​Really awesome to see NEAR not only advanced industrial nations but especially developing countries,” said Town Hall participant Markus Koch, while user wolfwoodphreak commented, “Love Sankore! Hopefully, one day both Sankore and OFP will join forces to bring NEAR and the GREEN to [the] Cradle of Civilization!” 

Or as Magnus Dikese rather succinctly put it: “Africa is NEAR!” 

Reimagining Finance with Open Forest Protocol 

Open Forest Protocol, a carbon offsetting project NEAR Foundation recently profiled, makes forest monitoring and carbon financing transparent, scalable, and open-source. 

Open Forest Protocol’s Ozymandius (4ntsGuild) and Aureline Grange provided updates on their goal of creating the foundation of  an “inclusive, nature-based economy.” As Ozymandias said in his opening remarks, OFP is a project focused on bringing Regenerative Finance to NEAR. 

“ReFi is right at the intersection of climate and crypto,” said Ozymandias. “What we’re aspiring to build with the Open Forest Protocol is an open-source forest management system for on-chain carbon accreditation and a fully on-chain carbon economy.” 

“We just started onboarding forestation projects and validators at the end of last year,” said Aureline Grange. “In November, [OFP CEO] Fred [Fournier] went to COP26 and had very interesting discussions with countries, including Kenya, Ivory Coast, Malawi, and Panama. These countries are interested in using OFP at the national level to monitor their forests, and this is super huge for OFP and the planet as we scale trust and monitoring.”

OFP currently has 15 pilot projects and 14 global validators. And even though OFP has just started fundraising, the project currently has over $4 million in funds. As one Town Hall participant and OFP fan said, 2022 could indeed be the year of ReFi and OFP.

To get the full updates from OFP and Sankore, watch NEAR’s January Town Hall

Illia on MetaBUILD 2 and What’s Next for NEAR Inc. 

It wouldn’t be a Town Hall without NEAR Inc. co-founder Illia Polosukhin’s protocol updates and a roadmap for 2022. 

As Illia noted, there are plans to increase the number of validator slots on the NEAR network to more than 400—a number that will continue scaling with the number of shards. He also explored “dynamic resharding” a radical new approach to blockchain design that allows the NEAR network to automatically adjust how many shards it uses to handle busy, and quiet periods more efficiently. 

Also on Illia’s Town Hall agenda notes was the NEAR MetaBUILD 2 Hackathon, which launched in December 2021 and runs until February 10. In MetaBUILD 2, developers are working on various projects to build NEAR, Web3, and Metaverse projects. 

“We’ve had over 2,100 people sign up, which is pretty amazing,” said Illia. “There are $1 million in prizes and there are 35 partner challenges” from Aurora, Brave, The Graph, Mintbase, Paras, and more. 

There are 21 days left to submit a project, so check out the MetaBUILD homepage for hackathon details. And if you want to dive deeper into NEAR, join the NEAR Discord. 

Share Your Thoughts on the Town Hall

We’d love to hear your thoughts about the ecosystem and community, so head over to the January Town Hall Reddit thread, where NEAR team members will answer all of your questions! 

In the upcoming NEAR Town Hall in February, the NEAR Foundation will detail its efforts to massively scale its global expansion through regional hubs. Make sure to register for the next NEAR Town Hall on February 24th to hear all about it!

Watch NEAR’s January Town Hall in full below.

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