NEAR Recap: ETHDenver 2021

February 25, 2021

Hackathons are always intense. Combine them with blockchain technology, and they’re next-level. ETHDenver is the largest Ethereum #BUIDLathon in the world and it went entirely virtual in 2021. But that didn’t make it lose any of its usual spark. The 7-day-event was a resounding success and saw thousands of hackers, designers, artists, and blockchain enthusiasts participate in the conference’s many events. The NEAR community, too, gathered en masse. This is the NEAR recap of ETHDenver 2021.


NEAR was present at ETHDenver because it is a big fan of the Ethereum community. The NEAR blockchain is fast, scalable, and interoperable with Ethereum through the ETH-NEAR Rainbow Bridge. Ethereum developers can use the Rainbow Bridge to tap into the unique advantages of the NEAR blockchain without losing their connection to the vibrant Ethereum community. If you’re curious, watch NEAR developer Chad Ostrowski explain how the Rainbow Bridge works here.

NEAR puts the developer experience front and center, which makes BUIDLing on NEAR fun and easy. But you’ll never know that unless you try it out. That’s why NEAR had several bounties to encourage the ETHDenver participants to play with the NEAR blockchain and its ecosystem of dApps.

    • Social Impact Bounty: create something that benefits the social good;
    • NEAR & Ceramic Bounty: create something that uses both technologies;
    • NEAR & Textile Bounty: create something that uses both technologies;
  • Blue Sky Bounty: create something using the Rainbow Bridge;
  • Global Citizens Bounty: to promote projects from other parts of the world;
  • NFT Bounty: deploy an NFT store on Mintbase and do something creative;
  • GRL Power Bounty: to promote teams where over half are women.

A big hug and a thank you to all the hackers who submitted entries for these NEAR bounties. You could have built on any of the L1 and L2 blockchains present at ETHDenver, but you chose NEAR (and had great fun doing so). One of the NEAR bounty winners even won an ETHDenver Impact Bounty, only given to projects that address a UN Sustainable Development Goal. Congratulations to the team that built Token Meme, which intends to educate the next generation about blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

A DAO in a Moon Crater

ETHDenver is more than just a hackathon. Participants could watch talks and workshops live on Twitch, dance at the Decentralized Dance Party, play blockchain poker, explore Denver’s Sports Castle recreated in Minecraft, and much more. As it turned out, they could also interact with a working DAO on the NEAR mainnet. It wasn’t just a DAO either. It was a satellite that had crash-landed in a moon crater in the Cryptovoxels metaverse. Enter the SputnikDAO.

The ETHDenver SputnikDAO

The SputnikDAO is a framework of DAOs built on the NEAR blockchain that enables communities to build their own value systems and coordination mechanisms. An alien council governed this particular SputnikDAO at ETHDenver. The aliens sought advice from participants on what to do with their crash-landed satellite and were willing to pay up to 35 NEAR tokens in exchange for that advice.

The ETHDenver SputnikDAO showed that a working DAO running on a mainnet is possible and that interacting with one doesn’t have to be hard. If anything, it’s great fun! All you needed to interact with the DAO was a NEAR wallet. Over a hundred unique NEAR accounts submitted proposals to the SputnikDAO. Together, they generated 131 (and counting) pieces of advice that you can still view here

Some of the ETHDenver SputnikDAO entries

Thank you to everyone who interacted with the SputnikDAO. The proposals you submitted showcased how creative the NEAR community can be when given the right tools. Another thank you to Laura Camellini from Createbase for modeling the Sputnik satellite, Ilan Katin for modeling the moon crater, and Felipe Duarte and Guilherme Maueler of AgencyDAO for creating the alien council’s video message.

See You in the NEAR Future

Overall, thank you to the NEAR community for being so omnipresent and energized at ETHDenver 2021. Whether it was engaging with the SputnikDAO, submitting applications for NEAR bounties, giving talks on a wide variety of topics, or chatting to developers from other ecosystems, your presence was felt and appreciated.

If you’re a developer who wants to see what building on NEAR is all about, check out the NEAR documentation to get started. If you want to be part of the NEAR community, join our Discord or Telegram channels or follow NEAR on Twitter. The community is inclusive and is supportive of anyone who wants to build awesome dApps.

As a final point, on the first day of ETHDenver, the NEAR Foundation announced the NEAR Grants Program (NGP). The NGP is meant to accelerate the world’s transition to open technologies and enable a community of developers and creators. Over the first half of 2021, the NGP will award the equivalent of $1 million to the teams who work on that goal. All developers who want to build something amazing on NEAR should strongly consider requesting a grant. See you in the NEAR future. Let’s build something epic.

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