What is NEAR Protocol?

NEAR is a decentralized development platform built on top of the NEAR Protocol, a public, sharded, developer-friendly, proof-of-stake blockchain. NEAR is like a public community-run cloud platform. That means it is a highly scalable, low-cost platform for developers to create decentralized apps on top of. While it's built on top of the NEAR Protocol blockchain, the NEAR Platform also contains a wide range of tooling from explorers to CLI tools to wallet apps to interoperability components, helping developers build much more quickly and the ecosystem to scale more widely.

Whereas most other "scalable" blockchains use approaches that centralize processing on high-end hardware to provide a temporary boost in throughput, NEAR Protocol's system allows the platform's capacity to scale nearly linearly up to billions of transactions in a fully decentralized way.

NEAR is being built by the NEAR Collective, a global collection of people and organizations who are collaboratively building this massive open-source project. Everyone in this Collective is focused on enabling usability improvements for both developers and their end-users so the next wave of apps can cross the chasm to a more general audience that has thus far been unable to consistently work with blockchain-based apps built on today's platforms.

Who founded NEAR Protocol?

NEAR is founded by Alexander Skidanov and Illia Polosukhi in 2018. Alexander is a former Microsoft software developer and the former director of engineering at Memphis, which specializes in distributed databases. He also won a gold medal at the ICPC in 2008 an annual programming competition involving college students worldwide. Illia is a former engineering manager of Google's acclaimed research division where he and his team of developers research deep learning and natural language technologies, which are now used in Google's translation services. He was also an ICPC finalist in 2008.

How does NEAR Protocol work?

These application back-ends and components are called "smart contracts," though we will often refer to them as simply "applications" here.

The infrastructure that makes up this cloud is created from a potentially infinite number of "nodes" run by individuals and organizations worldwide who offer portions of their CPU and hard drive space — whether on their laptops or, more likely, professionally deployed servers. Developers write smart contracts and deploy them to this cloud as if they were deploying to a single server, which is a process that feels very similar to how applications are deployed to existing centralized clouds.

Once the developer has deployed an application, called a "smart contract", and marked it unchangeable ("immutable"), the application will now run for as long as at least a handful of members of the NEAR community continue to exist. When end users interact with that deployed application, they will generally do so through a familiar web or mobile interface just like any one of a million apps today.

In a centralized cloud hosted by Amazon or Google, developers pay for their applications each month based on how much usage they required, for example, based on the number of requests generated by users visiting their webpages. The NEAR platform similarly requires that either users or developers provide compensation for their usage to this infrastructure's community operators. Like today's cloud infrastructure, NEAR prices usage is based on easy-to-understand metrics that aren't heavily influenced by system congestion. Such factors make it very complicated for developers on alternative blockchain-based systems today.

Can I earn money with NEAR Protocol?

Yes, you can earn money by trading & staking NEAR Protocol (NEAR). Buy low, sell high. NEAR can be used to trade against other cryptocurrencies. In the past year, the NEAR price has increased enormously but also had some corrections. Always trade responsibly. Often the price is influenced by NEAR news. Buy and trade NEAR at Coinmerce.