NEAR Community Update: December 14, 2018

December 14, 2018

The team continues to grow rapidly. Last week we welcomed three new members:

  1. Leo Khan will lead growth. He comes directly from the blockchain-based real estate marketplace Propy and has grown projects from startups like Alpine Data to fortune 500 initiatives like IBM’s Watson.
  2. Jane Degtiareva is a senior engineer with 13 years of experience who has worked at Google, Logitech and Niantic, where she built the microtransactions backend for Pokémon GO.
  3. Jake Stutzman is a senior designer who has worked closely with established brands like HP, CAT, ESPN and VMWare and startups like InVision, Hudl and Boxee over the past 18 years.

In a very tight marketplace, we continue to attract the best in the world on both the engineering and business teams.

As we move towards the end of the year, our focus is on building and launching TestNet while mapping out our expansion into multiple markets. That collectively involves a website relaunch, the docs portal, a half-dozen developer tools, international events and a fanatical focus on developer experience. The team certainly isn’t bored.

A little design goes a long way.

Community and Events

Our local event series on blockchain education is in full swing and we’ve specifically focused on the user experience side of blockchains for developers while continuing to help educate the market on the importance — and challenges — of sharding.

Recent Highlights

  1. Blockchain 101 Onramp: Start Here! Deconstructing the Blockchain Ecosystem. Slides are available on Slideshare.
  2. Improving Blockchain Developer Experience: When UX Meets Developer Tools. Slides are available on Slideshare.
  3. The video of Cofounder Alex Skidanov’s sharding talk with the Stanford Blockchain Club is available here.
  4. The video for a panel at WDAS on Improving Scalability and Performance in Blockchain with Alex participating is available here.

Upcoming Events

  1. [SF] Dec 19: What are Decentralized Applications (DApps) and How Do They Work?
  2. [SF] Jan 9: Using Blockchain in “Regular” Web and Mobile Apps

Writing and Content

Cofounder Alex Skidanov has published a 2-part series that does a deep dive into sharding approaches. It begins with The Authoritative Guide to Blockchain Sharding and continues with Unsolved Problems in Blockchain Sharding. Both feature figures from Jake.

Engineering Highlights

Since open sourcing on Nov 28th, we have merged 70+ pull requests to the NEAR Core and NEAR Studio repos:

  • Implemented asynchronous messaging between smart contracts and shards.
  • Added meaningful RPC calls (stake money, send money, deploy contract) to the Node with Python and JS libraries to interact with these RPCs.
  • Automated contract method binding generation, thus removing the need in ABIs via handling arguments in BSON internally (implemented BSON encoder/decoder for AssemblyScript, and updated our fork of AssemblyScript compiler).
  • Extended NEARStudio to build & deploy smart contracts to DevNet in one click.
  • Continued work on TxFlow consensus and Beacon chain implementation.

How You Can Get Involved

If you want to stay up to date with what we build at NEAR, follow us on Twitter for updates, join the conversation at Discord.


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