Enter the Black Dragon: NEAR Co-Founder Joins the NEAR Foundation as CEO

NEAR Foundation
November 7, 2023

The NEAR Foundation announced today that Illia Polosukhin, co-founder of NEAR Protocol, has been appointed NEAR Foundation CEO to lead the NEAR ecosystem into the next phase of building an open web. As the person who has driven the vision for NEAR from the very beginning, there is no one better to oversee the growth of the NEAR Open Web Ecosystem and guide the constellation of teams building on NEAR to work together towards that common vision. From the earliest days of NEAR, Illia’s vision of an open web has guided the development of the ecosystem and served as a north star for the Foundation. In his new role as CEO, he will be able to realize that vision in a more direct and streamlined way. 

“I’m honored and excited to officially join the NEAR Foundation and continue working together with the ecosystem to build towards our shared vision of an open web,” said Illia Polosukhin about his new role. “Effectively coordinating a decentralized ecosystem involves a lot of iteration and experimentation and I’m proud that NEAR has committed to refining this process since the very beginning. I believe this next step in our shared evolution will help us build our respective verticals faster and work together more efficiently.” 

With his ability to bring together key nodes and align people across the ecosystem, Illia has always been a powerful guiding force for NEAR, something that his new role will allow him to continue and expand. As NEAR cements its position as the entry point to an open web, Illia’s appointment will help to create common work streams across the organization and broader ecosystem organizations that will help accelerate this journey. Combining a decentralized ecosystem approach with a more streamlined strategic coordination function will accelerate NEAR into its next phase of evolution, the details of which Illia will share at this week’s NEARCON. 

To help ensure the ecosystem nodes building this open web vision are coordinating effectively, Chris Donovan will be stepping into the position of NEAR Foundation COO to oversee the day-to-day operations of the Foundation, and will also remain as a member of the NEAR Foundation Council. Chris has been essential in this transition to a founder-led organization, and the Foundation and the whole ecosystem extend gratitude and appreciation for his work.

With a clear vision, strong leadership, an engaged ecosystem, and a passionate community all building towards a common vision, NEAR is poised to take its next bold step into an open web. All members of the NEAR community are invited to join this week for the biggest, most exciting NEARCON ever in Lisbon, or tune in virtually at nearcon.org starting Wednesday, November 8. You won’t want to miss the chance to hear exciting announcements and strategy updates from Illia, demos from top projects across the ecosystem, and leading perspectives from the Web3 industry during three days of talks, hackathons, and celebration.  

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