MetaBUIDL Launch Highlights

September 2, 2021


  • MetaBUIDL is a global hackathon hosted by NEAR with a $1M prize pool.
  • NEAR powers a world where people control their money, power, and governance.
  • MetaBUIDL ushers in an era of “zero finance” where distributed computing invisibly powers all of our activities.
  • Check out talks from NEAR co-founder Illia Polosukhin, Atelier Ventures founder Li Jin, Richard Muirhead,Managing partner of Fabric Ventures and more! 

MetaBUIDL is here! NEAR’s $1,000,000 competition for hackers and community members designed to kickstart the next generation of projects that will power the decentralized economy. 

Taking place over 17 days online and across nine hack nodes including San Francisco, New York, Bogota, Lisbon, Kano, Nigeria, Mukachevo and Kyiv in Ukraine and two locations in China, MetaBUIDL is a front seat to what happens next.

As part of our kick off we invited a host of speakers to explore everything from the passion economy, NFTs and the rise of the metaverse. 

Illia Opens the Show with the Open Web 

But before all that, NEAR co-founder Illia Polosukhin introduced us to the open web, a “world where people control their money, power and governance.”  

Illia also explored how NEAR has been a part of that journey, and why, most importantly, blockchain is just one part of this future. In order for the open web to really succeed, there needs to be a focus on shared ownership, proper incentivisation, and a roadmap to a more inclusive web. 

➡️  Watch his talk here

When the Ownership Economy and the Passion Economy Collide

Next up, Illia took a deep dive into the passion economy with Li Jin, the founder and general partner of Atelier Ventures. 

The passion economy is a place in which “people are leveraging different platforms and tools in order to make a living from their non-commoditized passions and skills,” said Jin.  

This comes in contrast to the gig economy, which was all about monetising pre-commoditised tasks and services. The gig economy was a step forward in online work in that it gave more autonomy and freedom to workers, but fell short of allowing people to be their own boss and decide what work they wanted to do.

The two discussed the tensions between the creators in the web2 world and the owners of those platforms, and how web3 services, when done right, could create a symbiotic relationship whereby the platform and creator work collaboratively: bringing incentives for the two groups together for mutual benefit. 

➡️  Watch their talk here

VCs and What Comes Next in Crypto 

Next up we invited Richard Muirhead, managing partner at Fabric Ventures to explore crypto through a VC lens, the trends that are emerging and where the industry might head next. 

“There’s this new wave of software weaponized to deal with the concept of ownership. Assets have become accessible, divisible and ownable through software,” says Muirhead. 

One particular area of interest Muirhead has been focusing on is the pay to earn platforms like Axie Infinity and Yield Good Games and what happens when NFTs, gaming and opportunities to own a slice of the metaverse are combined.

When looking to the future, Muirhead sees finance’s role in crypto fading into the background. 

“We’re heading to a world of zero finance – where transactions become invisibly embedded in all of our activities online. If you have a passion for a particular piece of content on YouTube, or preserving a particular part of the environment, finance should be in service of all of those activities. It should be invisible under those activities and be in the service of them.”

Muirhead believes social tokens and social movements in the crypto space are rapidly becoming indistinguishable from financial opportunities and sees a lot more growth ahead.  

   ➡️  Watch their talk here

NFTs and the Broader Digital Economy 

Lastly, but certainly not leastly check out our talk between Maria Shen, Partner of Electric Capital and Brady Dale, a journalist for The Defiant.  

In this talk, Shen explores the evolution of crypto from programmable money, to programmable assets to where we are today; the explosion of financial use cases across the crypto sphere, in particular the marriage of NFTs and DeFi. 

“While NFTs and DeFi have become interlinked, there’s still something missing,” says Shen. “There’s no liquidity for NFTs.” The solution? Fractionalisation. 

“Fractionalisation is probably the best solution we’ve seen so far that solves this solution. “Take something that’s non-fungible, make it fungible via ERC-20s, and then allow them to plug into the DeFi stack,” says Shen. 

The two explored examples of projects looking to unlock the next wave of NFTs. You’re not going to want to miss some of the projects they talk about. 

➡️  Watch their talk here

And if you’ve missed out on the chance to be part of the hackathon, it’s not too late!

About NEAR

NEAR Protocol is a high-performance blockchain platform for developing Open Web applications. Easy to build on and easy to use, NEAR will bridge the users of today’s internet to the blockchain-based web of the future.

NEAR Protocol is built by a world-class team of engineers and entrepreneurs, including world champions of ACM-ICPC, Google Code Jam, and TopCoder Open. NEAR is backed by top VCs such as A16Z, Pantera Capital, Electric Capital, Dragonfly Capital, Coinbase Ventures,, and Baidu Ventures.

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