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Why the Creators of ZED Saddled Up with NEAR to Reduce Gas Fees and Transaction Times

ZED RUN is hitting its stride at the intersection of blockchain, digital ownership, and entertainment. The team behind ZED has created a futuristic horse racing universe where users can trade, breed, and race majestic, digital racehorses. ZED relies on the blockchain for fairness and decentralization so that users can confidently build out their digital stables and participate in virtual races.

Race your poly-art horses on ZED

ZED on Ethereum

The creators of ZED, Virtually Human Studio (VHS), began by building their platform on Ethereum. Challenges began as the team started attracting more users and building out new features. Users started to complain as costs started to rise and they had to shell out at least a few dollars in gas fees for every horse race. In some cases, a clogged network led to gas fees rising to hundreds of dollars.

“Depending on the time of day and congestion of the Ethereum network, the cost of gas easily moves beyond what is acceptable to simply interact with a game, not to mention the transaction confirmation times.”

– Geoff Wellman, Founding Partner, CTO VHS

It wasn’t just fees that were an issue. In some cases, transactions wouldn’t go through — and users ended up paying an expensive gas fee only for their transaction to be rejected. This was a discouraging introduction for new users and a huge hindrance for existing users that wanted to participate in many horse races. 

The VHS team knew that with the high hurdles for active participation — overinflated gas prices and long transaction times — it would not be able to achieve its vision for ZED as a non-stop, horse-racing entertainment destination. The team started to look for an alternative solution.


A Pilot Project on NEAR

“NEAR approached us with a developer-first attitude hellbent on helping creators create seamless and memorable user experiences. We intuitively felt that NEAR could be the silver bullet that ZEST needed.”

– Geoff Wellman, Founding Partner, CTO VHS

They found that solution in NEAR. The VHS team decided to try out NEAR for their new product: the ZEST Play Platform.

ZEST is a prediction platform that allows anyone to earn the ZEST token (the self-proclaimed #extremelysexytoken) and apply their knowledge of ZED in a fun, risk-free, and secure environment.

Stake your ZEST tokens on your favorite horse


“We immediately saw a reduction in transaction costs reduced beyond measure and transaction times became non-existent.”

– Geoff Wellman, Founding Partner, CTO VHS

VHS had already begun building ZEST on Ethereum, but the experience further solidified their belief that an alternative platform could better suit their needs. The team quickly saw results building with NEAR. With the support of NEAR’s developers, the team was able to get ZEST built and fully operational in just a few weeks.

The pilot project worked like a charm. At the time of writing, it had only been live for a month, but people had already created over 1,000 unique accounts and reserved over a million ZEST tokens. Moving forward, VHS wants to tightly integrate ZEST with ZED. The ZEST token will ultimately become a loyalty token that can be used to redeem in-game ZED content and provide rewards to users. 

VHS came away committed to building more on NEAR after experiencing firsthand that it was the blockchain platform that they were seeking.

About NEAR

The NEAR Protocol makes building and deploying DApps and protocols easier, faster, and cheaper than any other blockchain.

Native usability is NEAR’s primary concern. Features such as its contract-based account model and NEAR Drops make NEAR significantly more usable for developers and end users.  Additionally, NEAR has focused on bringing performance for applications. The dynamic sharding approach called Nightshade works on top of a proof-of-stake BFT consensus mechanism called Doomslug. This allows network throughput to scale as demand grows. It targets 1-second blocks so developers can build performant applications.

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