NEAR Community Update: February 8, 2019

February 8, 2019

The NEAR DevNet is out. In this case, the blockchain is currently running on a single node but you can use the NEAR Studio online IDE to one-click deploy a sample Guest Book contract or you can try out a lightweight tutorial for building a basic game.

We’ve kept the styling and functionality very minimal so far but there are a few key things to notice:

  • You can use one click — the “Run” button — to deploy the contract immediately to the blockchain and serve it in the browser. Sharing the full URL from allows other people to interact with it collaboratively.
  • The contract development language is TypeScript so anyone who knows JavaScript or even C#/Java will feel comfortable with it immediately.
  • Tests are baked right into the templates and the “Test” button will automatically run the Jasmine test suite for you in the browser.
  • There is a basic NEAR-hosted wallet in place as well.

It doesn’t look like much visually but this is the tip of the iceberg and functionality will increase quickly over the upcoming weeks. We are running tons of workshops with developers to build community and iterate alongside our users.


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Community and Events

We’re kicked into high gear for upcoming events because we’re ready to allow our community to get their hands on real code. Those events which have been finalized are listed below but we have tours through Colorado, Europe and Asia on the horizon plus plenty of good old-fashioned Bay Area workshopping.

If you want to host a local NEAR meetup in your city or see if we can meet with yours, reach out to [email protected].

Recent Highlights

  1. [SF] Blockchain 101 Onramp: The Design of Blockchain-Based Apps (DApps) (Video, Slides)
  2. [Online]: Next Generation Blockchains: Usability, Scalability and Real Business Models (Erik Trautman)

Upcoming Events

  1. [Denver] Feb 12: Sneak Peak Workshop: NEAR DevNet with ETH Denver
  2. [SF] Feb 13: Blockchain 101 Onramp: DApp Development Basics
  3. [Denver] Feb 15–17: Judging the Eth Denver hackathon (Illia Polosukhin)
  4. [SF] Feb 19: NEAR Protocol DevNet Test Drive with ABC Blockchain
  5. [Boston] Feb 22: Harvard Business School 2019 Crypto Club (with Alex Skidanov)
  6. [SF] Feb 26: Giving power back to developers: Preview of a new computing platform (@Github)
  7. [Oakland] Feb 27: Near Protocol — DevNet Workshop (@Oakland Developers)
  8. [SF] Feb 27: Blockchain 101 Onramp: Best Practices for Developing DApps
  9. [Shanghai] Feb 28: NEAR Workshop (link unavailable yet)
  10. [Paris] March 8: Events around Eth Paris
  11. [Austin] March 14–16: Events around SXSW

If you want to collaborate on events, reach out to [email protected]

Writing and Content

Alex Skidanov gave a talk on sharding at Graph Day which discussed tradeoffs in the space and I spoke about usability, scalability and real business models for next generation blockchains at Decentralized Summit.

Engineering Highlights

As mentioned above, we have finalized the first version of DevNet and are now on-boarding developers to try it out. Check it out at, where you can use a pre-configured template to deploy a smart contract in about 4 seconds.

We are beginning to build out more tutorials to show off what NEAR can do and how easy it is to built apps on top of. Check out the docs or catch up with Illia and Alex at ETH Denver or on Discord to learn more.

Development changes included:

  • Built a hosted wallet with OAuth flow
  • Switched to use protobufs for encoding transactions across nearcore and nearlib.
  • Nearlib: updated docs, syntactic sugar for contract method calls, easy way to wait for transaction completion using promises, handle failed transactions and return readable errors through promises, get logs from node into JS console
  • Refactored runtime and transaction/receipt processing to allow for validation of the receipt source
  • Integrated BLS signature aggregation and verification for block production
  • Finalized rewriting network protocol and started to build integration testing for TestNet

Finally, we’re building on WASM so wanted to show our support for the developers of the project. We hope to get even more involved with great infrastructure projects in the future.

How You Can Get Involved

Join us! If you want to work with one of the most talented (and humble?) teams in the world right now to solve incredibly hard problems, check out our careers page for openings.

Learn more about NEAR in The Beginner’s Guide to NEAR Protocol. Stay up to date with what we’re building by following us on Twitter for updates, joining the conversation on Discord and subscribing to our newsletter to receive updates right to your inbox.

Reminder: you can help out significantly by adding your thoughts in our 2-minute Developer Survey.

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