NEAR Foundation Transparency Report: Q2 2023
Hello, NEAR World! Welcome to NEAR Foundation’s Transparency Report. Published quarterly, the Transparency Report explores the NEAR ecosystem’s progress, as well as the latest technology news and updates from the NEAR ecosystem.
The Q2 edition of the Transparency report features a NEAR Foundation Treasury report and a variety of exciting updates on the recently announced Blockchain Operating System (BOS), the NEAR ecosystem’s thriving projects, and NEAR Foundation’s Web2.5 strategy. You’ll also get the latest on NEAR Horizon Accelerator, NDC, NEAR’s Web2 → Web3 partnerships, and more.
NEAR Foundation Treasury Update
At the end of Q2 2023, NEAR Foundation’s treasury totaled $0.9b, which included $349M fiat reserves, 315M NEAR ($435M at a closing price of $1.38) and $90M in Loans and Investments. Total treasury holdings declined $0.2B in the quarter, led by a fall in the price of NEAR to $1.38 from $1.99. Net $16M fiat and 1m NEAR was deployed in Q2.
The NEAR Foundation has continued to adopt a highly responsible approach to treasury management in order to minimize the risk of loss in a turbulent market, while continuing capital deployment to fulfill its mission. Exposure to non-NEAR assets therefore has been limited, with fiat reserves held in highly rated Swiss bank accounts.
NEAR Foundation continues to maintain sufficient resources and runway to thrive in a multi-year market downturn, deploying capital in a targeted and responsible manner to help the NEAR ecosystem thrive and remain vibrant. As a result, the NEAR Foundation is in an extremely strong position to continue to support the ongoing growth and development of the NEAR Protocol and ecosystem.
A recap of NEAR’s go-forward strategy
Since the Q1 transparency report, the industry has faced some significant headwinds, such as the SEC action against Binance and Coinbase. (You can see our response to the SEC action here.) Amidst a turbulent market, the NEAR Foundation’s vision and mission remain the same: we believe in building a better web — the open web — and our mission is to foster the adoption of the open web by supporting the self-sustainable growth of a decentralized NEAR ecosystem.
As mentioned in the Q1 transparency report, to effectively move closer towards our collective vision, the NEAR Foundation has focused on 3 core strategies:
- NEAR is the Blockchain Operating System (BOS): the open web is only possible with an open operating system, which only NEAR can deliver.
- NEAR is a thriving, decentralized ecosystem: the open web will lead to a safer, fairer, and censorship-resistant digital world.
- NEAR is where Web2 goes to become Web3: the open web will be the next generation of the internet, and will only reach mainstream if users from Web2 are migrated from Web3.
To achieve these strategies, NEAR Foundation is focused on two different approaches to bringing more users to NEAR. It begins with NEAR Foundation’s top-down approach to partnerships led by a world-class business development team. By working with major applications and brands with substantial, established communities, NEAR Foundation is partnering on real use cases that drive engagement on the BOS. High-traction use-cases for partnerships have primarily been around loyalty — especially across sports, gaming and retail.
Q2 saw a flurry of high profile announcements, including MarbleX, Shemaroo, Alibaba Cloud, Cosmose, and Skoda. There has also been a focus on bringing projects from other Web3 ecosystems onto the BOS, and many are leveraging the decentralized frontend component of BOS, including brands like Galxe.
Q2 has also seen NEAR Foundation’s bottom-up, grassroots approach continue in full swing. Decentralization is a core principle of the Foundation — it is key to the success of NEAR, as it creates a more fair and inclusive ecosystem for devs and end users alike, and continues to empower more activity in the wider community. The Foundation has supported the successful transition of the Marketing & Creatives DAO into the NDC, becoming fully autonomous entities funded by the NDC itself. The Foundation has also been supporting the NDC to be fully autonomous with its own treasury, and to take control of key community ceremonies like the Town Hall and Ecosystem Roundtable. NEAR Horizon is also a key part of the bottom-up approach, providing projects with much needed acceleration support. This quarter, Horizon launched with a bang at Consensus, and has started supporting its first batch of projects. NEAR Horizon has partnered with some top backers and service providers to ensure projects have the right resources to grow.
Although not directly responsible for it, NEAR Foundation believes the overall development of the Blockchain Operating System itself — a common layer for discovering and creating open web experiences, across all blockchains — is key to enabling the ecosystem to thrive. The BOS is built on top of NEAR’s scalable, cost-effective, sustainable Layer 1. The layer 1 itself also has an ambitious roadmap to continue its groundbreaking development.
The Foundation has been working closely with Pagoda and DevHub to ensure that the BOS supports the entire ecosystem and puts the builder at the heart of everything it does.
Q2 Ecosystem OKR performance
Throughout Q2, the ecosystem has experienced several areas of growth towards its OKRs. While the ecosystem met many of its goals, there is always work to be done.
Our north star metric, Monthly Active Accounts, was at 1.1M at the end of Q2, 100k shy of the 1.2M target. We’ve seen continued strong traction from SWEAT, who are still the largest partner on NEAR in terms of MAA. The slight miss to the goal can mainly be attributed to longer than anticipated lead times in partnerships going from announcement to mainnet.
The TL;DR on ecosystem OKR performance this quarter (see below for more detailed analysis):
- NEAR is the BOS
- Successful launch and migration of near.org on to the BOS — this was done at Consensus with a huge activation.
- Sustained growth in the NEARProtocol Twitter following, hitting 1.9M followers — slightly short of the 2.2M target.
- A 3X increase in our Share of Voice to 15%, a huge uplift versus the target, driven primarily by the BOS launch and key partnership announcements.
- 16,000 active accounts on near.org since its launch in April.
- NEAR is a thriving decentralized ecosystem
- Marketing & Creatives DAO now fully transitioned to the NDC.
- NDC v1 Governance is about to be rolled out after hitting its key milestone of over 1,000 humans now participating.
- NPS in the community remains around 30, despite a target to grow to 40.
- NEAR Horizon launched successfully its MVP with over 110 projects now on the platform
- External capital raising for projects on NEAR remains a challenge, driven mainly by the current climate.
- NEAR is where web2 comes to become web3
- 42 new strategic partners have been signed in Q2, including the announcement of 7 flagship deals and over 15 tier 2 deals. The challenge here remains the lag between announcement and launch on mainnet.
OKR1: NEAR is the BOS
NEAR’s Blockchain Operating System is key to the creation and maintenance of a thriving ecosystem. A common layer for creating and discovering open web experiences, the BOS is designed to be used across all blockchains — all in one browser. In this way, the entire open web can become integrated and truly composable on a global level.
The NEAR Protocol itself, the Layer 1, is a core part of the BOS tech stack and continues to be developed as the scalable, cost-effective, and simple backend to any Web3 tech stack.
After a strong soft launch for the BOS at ETHDenver, in Q2 we saw the BOS launch fully at Consensus, transforming near.org into a full BOS gateway — meaning that the entire site is now on chain, utilizing the full benefit of the BOS tech stack. The launch was incredibly well received, seeing a solid amount of coverage across media outlets such as Bloomberg, CoinMarketCap and Coindesk, as well as a strong increase in SOV across social platforms.
Near.org now has over 6,800 components from around 100 active developers, along with over 12,000 accounts. What this means is that NEAR now has over 1% of existing community members on the near.org gateway, and we continue to see members of the ecosystem onboarding to BOS, contributing and using applications. Aside from near.org component builders, from the latest Electric Capital report, there are over 500 active developers within the NEAR ecosystem.
The NEAR DevHub continues to make progress evolving how developers interact with the BOS, through the launch of bounties, and support across ETHGlobal hackathon events such as ETHPrague and ETHWaterloo. NEAR DevHub is a decentralized community platform, built on the BOS, for NEAR developers to contribute to the ecosystem and stay informed about the latest news. It enables anyone to share ideas, match solutions, and access technical support and funding.
NEAR Foundation also announced NEARCON 2023, which is set to return to Lisbon this November, the planning of which is already building on last year’s huge success. The nearcon.org site is now live, marking the first fully decentralized event site built on the BOS. Nearcon.org makes it possible to buy your tickets in NEAR or Fiat, and see all the upcoming information for this year’s event.
Although the NEARProtocol handle will come close to 2.2M followers in Q2, there has been a conscious strategy to slow down this acquisition to focus more on engagement based activity beyond just Twitter. Our conviction — based on data analytics — is that we now have a large % of high quality, relevant followers who can keep up-to-date with NEAR news and the ecosystem.
The NEARProtocol Twitter handle also saw a huge uplift in Share of Voice, achieving over 15% in June — a key metric for measuring awareness and engagement of NEAR in relation to our competitor set. This measure takes the top 1,000 influencers in Web3 and measures how many times NEAR is mentioned versus other Web3 ecosystems. This has been primarily driven by the BOS narrative itself, but also from some of the high profile partnership announcements and events.
OKR2: NEAR is a thriving decentralized Ecosystem
NEAR Foundation continues to make great progress in its mandate to support the decentralization of the NEAR ecosystem since the last transparency report. The NEAR Foundation remains deeply committed to supporting the decentralization of the NEAR ecosystem. By decentralizing, NEAR ensures that power lies with the community upon which the vibrant ecosystem thrives, and gives the worldwide community a voice in the future of blockchain and Web3.
NEAR Digital Collective (NDC)
Since the last transparency report the NDC, along with support from the Foundation, has made excellent progress with the NDC being open to funding requests, the launch of “I Am Human” for voting integrity, and purpose trusts set up for Marketing and Creatives DAOs, which will allow for greater autonomy of the DAO community. We talk about these initiatives in more detail below.
The NDC — the largest decentralization project in the NEAR ecosystem to date — is bringing together users, developers, and creators throughout the ecosystem with its innovative framework of governance. By developing this framework, it allows any member of the network to have a say in how NEAR is run by combining transparency, collective decision making, evolving governance models, and self-determination in a completely new way.
As part of its V1 Governance and in a partnership with Fractal, the NDC launched the I Am Human initiative, a “proof-of-personhood” where participants can get verified through a quick and simple process and mint a “Soul Bound Token”. This will facilitate integrity and fairness of the on-chain voting system, ensuring that each person can only vote once. By mid-June, the I Am Human Protocol verified over 1,000 people — a remarkable achievement for the NDC and decentralization.
In Q1, the NDC launched the Community Treasury with a budget of 5.7 million NEAR to support the development of the NEAR ecosystem. Following this launch, the Governance Working Group (GWG) and Legal Working Group (LWG) worked together on a set of terms and conditions to foster transparency and accountability of contributors requesting funding from the NDC. The process is now live.
The NEAR Community Treasury wallet is viewable here.
Moving forward, the NDC will focus on increasing engagement and creating an even bigger impact on the community. It currently has a “Run for Office” call for contributors who want to participate in its governance and leadership. This is a great opportunity for motivated individuals to help build the open web we all believe in.
The NEAR Foundation is working with the GWG (Governance Working Group) and LWG (Legal Working Group) to provide educational tools to members of the community who are thinking of building (or scaling their existing projects) on the NEAR protocol. Keep an eye out for announcements!
In the meantime, to learn more about the NDC and to participate in the projects and discussions, please see here.
Grassroots DAO funding activity
The three core grassroots DAOs remain the key source of funding for anyone looking to build in the NEAR ecosystem. Confirming the NEAR Foundation efforts to decentralize operations and promote autonomy of the ecosystem, CreativesDAO now has set up its own community treasury via a Guernsey purpose trust similar to the NDC, and started allocating funding again. The DAO is now able to request funding directly to the NDC, making the process community-owned in its entirety.
Marketing DAO followed suit and its community treasury has recently been set up. Find more details in the announcement here. In addition to the trust, the MarketingDAO Charter has now been published, outlining its governance rules.
DevHub has also started the process of establishing its community treasury and we will have more developments in the near future. In the meantime, NEAR Foundation and DevHub worked together on automated flow for funding requests which greatly reduced completion time.
NEAR Foundation recognises the exceptional work of the NDC and core DAOs. The Foundation will continue to support decentralization initiatives and the growth and development of the NEAR community.
NEAR Horizon is an early stage accelerator, coordinated by the NEAR Foundation, that’s revolutionizing how founders and builders find support in Web3. The mission of NEAR Horizon is to attract high-quality founders to build on NEAR and support their growth by facilitating connections with the right resources all in one place. The NEAR Horizon strategy consists of three main components: the Horizon dApp, partnerships, and easily accessible content resources.
Horizon has seen significant growth since launching April 26th, 2023. Over 160 projects and 30 contributors have produced 1,000+ transactions. The newly added service providers (sourced from the initial RFP in Q1) all bring a unique blend of talent, expertise, and innovative solutions, contributing to the diverse and vibrant ecosystem of NEAR Horizon.
Another exciting feature of Horizon is the Learn section. Founders at all stages can take advantage of a curated list of resources to best help where they need it the most, such as: Business Fundamentals, Growth and Marketing, Recruiting and Legal, and Technical areas.
For founders looking for additional support and guidance throughout their Horizon journey, the platform will also be equipped with programs facilitated through a NEAR Foundation partner, providing mentorship, business resources, and a direct line to startup capital.
These programs are available through a wide range of industry leading groups including Antler, Brinc, FabricX, CV Labs, Blockchain Founders Group, Decasonic and Dragonfly amongst others. Regardless of the path founders choose to take, NEAR Horizon will provide them with the support they need when they need it most to accelerate the growth of their Web3 projects built on NEAR.
Our educational program partners design hackathons, fellowships, and educational content for students, early-career engineers, and current founders. We are excited to be partnered with Encode Club and Major League Hacking, who have both kicked off their various initiatives with NEAR Horizon in Q2.
In addition to working with a few chain-agnostic acceleration programs with a goal of bringing new projects to the growing NEAR ecosystem, we’ve also partnered with Outlier Ventures and Startup Wiseguys to facilitate a NEAR-specific acceleration program. The first Outlier Ventures cohort is set to kick off in July, and we look forward to bringing an update to the Q3 report.
We are also partnering with Web3 communities, DAOs, and incubators to provide workshops and resources to current and aspiring founders such as the NYC demo day in partnership with Banyan Collective, and another exciting Grants Demo Day hosted by Mintbase at the end of June.
Horizon was proud to host Pitch and Networking events at both Consensus and Collision, including fantastic speakers from Decasonic, Fabric, Press Start Capital and others. Over 100 projects applied to pitch and more than 500 people registered to attend and network.
The NEAR Horizon team is continuing to expand our community through founder experiences, engaging over 100 founders to-date. The Horizon team hosts weekly office hours, AMAs with service providers, and product demo days for founders to source live feedback on their products. To stay current on all the activities of NEAR Horizon follow us on NEAR.social @nearhorizon.near or on twitter.
OKR3: Web2 → Web3
The NEAR Foundation BD team exceeded its goal in H1 2023 by bringing 74 partners to the NEAR blockchain versus a goal of 27. The 48 partnerships closed in Q2 also marked a significant increase from the 26 in Q1. The majority of these partners were considering other chains yet chose NEAR due to its focus on bridging Web2 with Web3, usability, conservative approach, and strong partner support.
|Number of partnerships
|Goal (set in Jan ‘23 based on prior year #)
In Q1 and Q2, BD had a targeted approach to focus on five main areas that we believe are uniquely unlocked by Web3: loyalty & rewards, social and the creator economy, gaming and the metaverse, sustainability, and infrastructure. The NEAR Foundation continues to partner with startups, as well as enterprises and governments. 16 of the 74 closed partnerships were with enterprises or governments.
|# of Partnerships (Q1 + Q2)
|Loyalty & rewards
Loyalty and rewards: Loyalty is a focus for us because loyalty in Web2 is broken. From sports teams to movie studios there is a common problem. They lack a direct relationship with their customers. Simultaneously, consumers and fans are seeking new ways to demonstrate and be rewarded for their patronage. Web3 helps loyalty programs shift to open ecosystems, enables brands to build direct relationships with customers, and fosters composability among loyalty programs.
- Cosmose AI — Loyalty-based shopping app that enables users to buy with crypto in order to lower transaction fees for both merchants and consumers. Cosmose represents a practical and real-world use case with initial traction in Singapore.
- Santo Spirit — Tequila brand of Sammy Hagar and Guy Fieri is launching a loyalty program on NEAR that includes virtual tastings, autographed collectibles and mystery NFTs for patrons.
- Tokenproof — Tokenproof powers custom, token-gated experiences for some of the most notable Web3 communities and the biggest Web2 brands via gated Shopify storefronts and real world interactive experiences.
Creator economy: The NEAR Foundation has partnered with a number of entrepreneurs in the creator economy. These builders are using Web3 to give creators greater ownership and control, new monetization and royalty channels, and novel ways to interact with their community. Similarly, we are excited about new blockchain-based decentralized social networks and closed 2 partners who are building exclusively on NEAR (not yet announced).
- SLiC Images — A digital rights-management platform for independent photographers and videographers to license and monetize their content founded and led by former NBA all-star Baron Davis and built on Mintbase technology.
- ARterra — ARterra is leveling up fan engagement tools for game developers, individual creators, and brands via its Web3-based battle pass, quest, and duel systems that integrate seamlessly with Web2 platforms such as Discord, Youtube Gaming, and Twitch, as well as Web3 games.
- Djooky — Djooky is a music streaming and discovery tool that combines an online music competition with a marketplace. Musicians can participate directly in the marketplace or get discovered by voting fans who earn rewards for being talent scouts during the quarterly competitions.
Gaming and Metaverse: This is another focus area since Web3 unlocks new forms of digital ownership and in-game economies. In gaming, while not exclusively focused on Korea, we are spending considerable effort there given Korea’s history as a pioneer in gaming monetization, and Korean studios’ deep expertise in Web3, especially compared to other regions.
- Netmarble — One of the largest game publishers worldwide is bringing a suite of Web3 games to NEAR.
- Vortex — Web3 subsidiary of INVEN, the “Reddit of Korea” and largest game media community in Korea with over 7M monthly active users is building exclusively on NEAR.
- PipeFlare — A provider of 17 casual Web3 games is transitioning from another chain to integrate exclusively with NEAR.
Sustainability: The NEAR Foundation continues to back entrepreneurs and governments trying to solve environmental problems by leveraging the blockchain. Web3 can support supply chain transparency, verification and proof of green initiatives, and carbon credit systems.
- SankalpTaru — One of the largest sustainability NGOs in India is leveraging the blockchain to bring accountability and transparency to afforestation activities. They have planted over 3.5 million trees and supported over 30,000 farmers.
- Raigarh District Administration — This district in India launched a blockchain based monitoring system for tracking industrial corporate social responsibility afforestation activities. In addition to the government participation, over 50 industry participants are involved in the initiative.
- Flow Carbon — One of the pioneering climate technology companies, they are working towards bringing carbon credits onto the blockchain. Carbon offsetting will become more accessible and transparent to major institutional players through leveraging the power of blockchain technology.
Infrastructure: This is an important focus for NEAR Foundation partnerships as it serves as the building blocks for new use cases. We aim to foster an environment that empowers builders through innovative infrastructure that helps projects better prototype and develop, communicate, and scale.
- Alibaba Cloud — Alibaba Cloud is collaborating with NEAR Foundation to provide Remote Procedure Call (RPC) as a service to NEAR ecosystem projects. In addition, Alibaba Cloud will focus on multi-chain data indexing which helps drive the adoption of the Blockchain Operating System (BOS) through supporting interoperability across different blockchains.
- Urbit — An operating system designed to run peer-to-peer apps. Combined with the BOS, we hope to build the world’s first fully decentralized development environment.
- Fractal — One of the leading Web3 native identity infrastructure providers, Fractal will build important decentralized identity frameworks for the BOS.
Supporting Existing Partners
During Q2, the BD team also made significant progress in implementing the NEAR Foundation’s product strategy centered around the Blockchain Operating System (BOS). Workshops targeting both new potential partners and existing partners were organized, aiming to educate on the new BOS product strategy. These workshops were attended by 80% of our partners and have helped build awareness and understanding in the ecosystem about the potential of BOS in the market.
Our existing partners have played a crucial role in driving our success in Q2. By collaborating closely with them and supporting their initiatives, we have achieved significant milestones and further strengthened our ecosystem.
- SWEAT — The number 1 free app in over 60 countries which rewards users daily steps with a new-generation currency, launched a highly successful USDT campaign that acquired over 300K monthly active users (MAUs). Plans for supporting SWEAT’s launch in the US during Q3/Q4 are in place. Additionally, the testing and launch of Web3 new products, such as the Swap Feature and NFT game, are currently underway, aimed at further engaging new users.
- Cosmose AI — A $500M global platform that predicts and influences how people shop, secured approval from smartphone manufacturers to launch the Web3 version of their Lockscreen product, scheduled for Q4 2023. This is a significant milestone as Cosmose AI continues to apply web3 principles to further advance the AI-driven retail ecosystem. Next up in Q3 will be the launch of their cash back product (Kai-Kai) on mainnet.
- PlayEmber — A mobile game studio built on NEAR and backed by Big Brain Holdings, Shima Capital and others, received approval from both App Store and Google Play for the launch of the new version of their app, responsible for 51K MAUs, doubling their pre-app store listing numbers.
- Mintbase — A leading NFT marketplace built on NEAR celebrated the impact of their grantees on the ecosystem, highlighting their progress and achievements supported by the Mintbase Grants Program. 13 projects have been successfully nurtured through this program: NiftyRent, Namesky, QSTN, Explorins,Ailand, PWX, WallID Roketo, Gorilla Shops, Cootoo, SLIC Images, Puzzle Task, and Everything.
The NEAR Foundation has taken an international approach to BD focusing on North America, EMEA, and Asia, specifically Korea, India, and Singapore. While the environment in North America remains uncertain for many entrepreneurs and enterprises due to ongoing concerns around regulation, we are continuing to see strong interest in Web3 in EMEA and Asia. BD will continue to prioritize these regions in 2023.
|# of Partnerships (Q1 + Q2)
We have always had an international footprint, and continue to foster communities around the world to thrive. NEAR community hubs generate local awareness and onboard new users, as well as support projects building on NEAR. Led by local entrepreneurs, and operating as independent legal entities, these hubs are crucial in helping NEAR Foundation reach its missions and objectives around the world.
NEAR Foundation has been supporting, through grants, two types of Regional Hub models — community hubs and partnership hubs. The goal of the community regional hubs is to build local community presence in regions, specifically targeted towards builders and those who want to get involved in NEAR’s decentralized ecosystem, as well as to build brand awareness in those regions. Partnership hubs have the specific mandate to forge deep relationships with partners in the region to build on the BOS.
Starting with partnership hubs, NEAR Foundation made significant strides in expanding its presence in India and Korea during Q2, securing pivotal deals and paving the way for further geographic expansion.
We achieved significant progress in Korea with strategic wins, strengthening our position in what we consider a leading blockchain market. In Q1/ Q2, we closed 9 partnerships focused on gaming, entertainment and infrastructure to increase NEAR’s awareness and traction for chain adoption. Gaming is especially interesting in Korea due to the large audience, established game studios and blockchain expertise. Being a key part of the strategy, gaming has strong blockchain use cases with digital ownership, in-game economies and monetization models. We partnered with top Korean gaming industry leaders such as Netmarble’s MARBLEX, the blockchain-powered subsidiary of the well-established developer and publisher of mobile games, and Vortex Gaming, the Web3 subsidiary of Korea’s largest gaming community INVEN, to drive future growth.
In addition to gaming, we announced an exciting business partnership with Mirae Asset, a subsidiary of Asia’s largest financial group, Mirae Asset Global (headquartered in South Korea), to develop Web3 technology. Xangle, a leading South Korean crypto data and research platform, has added metrics for NEAR Protocol and the Sweat Economy to make information on the NEAR ecosystem more accessible in the region. With the deals signed, partnership announcements, community activations and development activities, we are very excited for the future opportunities in Korea.
In India, we have achieved noteworthy progress on multiple fronts. In Q1/ Q2, we closed 12 partnerships focused on government, sustainability, entertainment, and the infrastructure space. Industry leading partnerships such as Skoda and Shemaroo, will act as lighthouse partnerships for the region. In addition to the enterprise use cases, NEAR enabled sustainability and impact projects with SankalpTaru and District administration Raigarh (State of Chhattisgarh) to bring transparency, traceability, and accountability in afforestation initiatives. We continue to engage with the developer community in India and raise awareness about BOS. We achieved substantial media coverage in India, further consolidating the brand awareness. In addition, we are engaging think tanks and government bodies by conducting/participating in Web3 workshops and brainstorming sessions to bridge the awareness gap.
Building stronger connections with the NEAR ecosystem
After efforts in generating and implementing feedback from the NEAR community, NEAR Foundation’s Community Team has kicked off several initiatives that have been driving engagement, including:
- Actively leveraging NEAR platforms such as the Official NEAR Discord, Telegram, and NEARProtocol Twitter, the NEAR Foundation Community Team has been running regular Twitter Spaces and AMAs with many NEAR projects to continuously surface the many amazing things being built on NEAR throughout the wider network.
- NEAR Foundation’s commitment to transparency and stronger community connections continues through bi-weekly live Town Halls. These sessions, which take place every other Wednesday at 3:00 pm UTC on the NEARProtocol YouTube channel, provide an open platform for the NEAR Foundation leadership team to share progress on OKRs and for the core teams to deliver updates. NEAR ecosystem project teams and NEAR Foundation partners also have the opportunity to showcase what they’re actively building on NEAR. In the endeavor to further engage and boost community interaction, a Town Hall Hub has recently been developed on the BOS. This portal aims to serve as an open forum for all discussions, recommendations, and dialogues surrounding the Town Halls. It’s not just about receiving updates — it’s also about giving the NEAR community the power to shape and participate in these conversations.
- To boost active community participation and drive engagement, the Foundation’s Community Team has been running weekly Quiz Night events on the NEAR Protocol Telegram. This initiative is designed to not only drive community engagement but also to create a cohesive and informed community, deeply aligned with NEAR Foundation’s mission and vision. We’ve put together a concise report on the recent success and feedback this initiative has received, which you can check out here.
NEAR in the press
Q2 saw a number of top news stories from NEAR’s thriving ecosystem. NEAR was covered in over 300 articles across the globe in Q2, including over 20 tier 1 stories in outlets including TechCrunch, CoinDesk, Forbes Journal du Coin , Entrepreneur India, Business Insider Africa, Yahoo Finance Yahoo Japan, Korea Herald, New Economy Japan and Bloomberg. NEAR also appeared in over 40 tier 2 publications in outlets including the Block, City AM, Blockworks, and Cointelegraph.
Headlines included BOS going live, the launch of Horizon, and the Women in Web3 Changemakers list, as well as coverage from many of our partnership announcements, ecosystem hubs, and progress from many of NEAR Protocol’s ecosystem projects. Stories that made an impact included Cosmose AI partnering with NEAR protocol, collaborations with Alibaba, Skoda India, Vortex Gaming and Mirae Asset in Korea, and the launch of SailGP’s Web3 driven app The Dock, as well as Santos Spirit Tequila’s NFT.
To find out more about NEAR Foundation’s and the NEAR ecosystem’s press coverage you can check out the monthly roundups below:
NEAR Ecosystem on BOS
With the announcement and launch of the Blockchain Operating system earlier this year, we have seen a splash of developments from projects both in and outside of the NEAR ecosystem building on BOS and deploying widgets and front ends. In Q2 we have seen both existing and new NEAR projects building on BOS, including Harmonic Guild, Flipside, Satori, Pikespeak, Genadrop, NEARWEEK, and others. These amazing teams are building components ranging from audio/video distribution platforms, data & analytics dashboard tools, no-code multi-chain NFT creation & minting tools, DAO tools, and news & media. We also saw an incredible example of BOS’s interoperability with Zavodil’s composable multi-chain app that seamlessly integrates with any connected blockchain wallet.
Also in Q2, Galxe — a leading Web3 community building platform with over 10 million unique users to date — also deployed a component on BOS with the aim of bringing a seamless onboarding experience for SPACE ID’s referral program, “Voyage Season 2”. This integration makes Galxe the first major Web3 partner utilizing NEAR’s BOS for its offerings, simplifying the process for users to register .bnb domains and participate in the SPACE ID Voyage program through near.org.
NEAR’s BOS promotes collaboration among builders by allowing them to fork and build reusable on-chain widgets, deploy decentralized front ends, as well as discover other dApps, components, and communities — all on one platform. This makes it easier for builders to create multi-chain experiences, extending NEAR beyond just being another Layer 1 network and transforming it into a decentralized OS that fosters collaboration across ecosystems.
NEAR Ecosystem Project Updates
In Q2, the NEAR ecosystem continued to see projects pushing large developments as well as launching on NEAR in verticals ranging from DeFi and payment solutions, to gaming and infrastructure. A few examples follow.
ChangeNOW, a leading cryptocurrency payment gateway, stepped up their game by incorporating NEAR, opening up new avenues for businesses to transact using NEAR tokens. Meanwhile, WOOFi DEX made its debut into on-chain derivatives on NEAR, rolling out the beta version of its perpetual futures powered by Orderly Network. The platform offers users the convenience of centralized exchanges coupled with the self-custody benefits of decentralized exchanges, shaping the future of on-chain derivatives trading.
Further diversifying NEAR’s ecosystem, Namesky launched on NEAR Mainnet in Q2. Leveraging NEAR Protocol’s default feature of unique named wallets, Namesky acts as a marketplace for buying and selling NEAR accounts as NFTs using audited contracts, akin to having Ethereum Name Service (ENS) on NEAR.
Expanding NEAR’s cross-chain relationships, Duel Network (originally a BSC project) expanded their presence on NEAR with the launch of Duel Soccer. This integration not only broadens NEAR’s ecosystem but also elevates Duel Network’s visibility across multiple chains.
In the realm of security/trust, Gatenox, a specialized Web3 KYC platform, integrated with NEAR, making its KYC services available to NEAR-based projects, offering an extra layer of trust and safety.
Overall, although there were no projects on NEAR fundraising in Q2, the NEAR ecosystem continued to see growth, innovation, and cross-chain integration.
AI, ChatGPT, and NEAR
As interest in AI and ChatGPT continues to grow, we are observing increasingly innovative developments bridging between ChatGPT and NEAR. Among the pioneers working on these developments is Peter Salomonson, a seasoned NEAR builder. Salomonson has integrated NEAR with ChatGPT to create a unique widget that enables users to generate, play, and download their own custom drum beats.
The Mintbase team is also adding to NEAR x ChatGPT developments by developing a versatile plugin for NEAR smart contracts and widgets. Mintbase’s integration — developed by team member Luis — is capable of writing, compiling, and deploying contracts, and it can also generate user interfaces based on the contracts’ ABI as well as deploy these interfaces as BOS widgets.
These developments are a testament to the continued growth, innovation, and vibrancy of the NEAR ecosystem. They also underscore the origin story of NEAR and its deeply rooted connection with AI.
Before co-founding NEAR Protocol, Illia Polosukhin had a rich history in the AI space, having worked on Google’s TensorFlow. When Illia and Alex Skidanov founded NEAR in 2017, it was originally conceived as a machine learning platform. In fact, at the time it was known as Near.ai. This background has informed NEAR’s belief in the intersection of blockchain and AI, and the potential for these technologies to work in harmony to create decentralized, intelligent systems that can drive innovation and empower individuals.
For more insights on this topic, here are some recent articles featuring Illia and NEAR Foundation CEO Marieke Flament, in which they discuss the intersection of AI and blockchain and the potential of these technologies to revolutionize various industries:
- “Illia Polosukhin: Building Near’s Blockchain, Embedding AI”: This article discusses Illia Polosukhin’s journey to blockchain success and his work on NEAR’s blockchain, including the integration of AI.
- “Blockchain and AI: at the crossroads”: In this article, Marieke Flament, CEO of the NEAR Foundation, discusses the intersection of blockchain and AI, and how these technologies can be used to create a more equitable and open digital world.
A Look Ahead
Looking ahead to Q3, the NEAR Foundation is continuing its current strategic focus.
In addition, we have worked closely with the ecosystem to paint a more complete picture of what a fully functioning Web3 ecosystem should look like, which is more of a multi pronged approach:
The overarching framework is made up of three models:
- Participants Model — the Participants are the entities that take action within the ecosystem. This looks at three core audiences: Developers, Businesses, and Accounts. Developers build applications for Businesses, who in turn create experiences for the Accounts who interact with them. Each audience is important to monitor as each is dependent on each other.
- Monetization Model — the Monetization model is the lifeblood of the ecosystem, much like an economy is for a country. Monitoring how capital flows in and out, as well as the transaction volume within the ecosystem, is important to show how prosperous and active participants are within the economy.
- Public Goods Model — the Public Goods model underpins the framework, making it like the roads and power supply for a city. At the core is the protocol itself, but it also looks at validators and the overall health of the network.
NEAR Foundation has primarily focused on the Participants Model to date, but it’s important we have observability and an aligned ecosystem approach to all metrics within all of these three models. To support this, the NEAR Foundation has helped create the Champions Sync — a collective of key ecosystem participants who are responsible for rallying the ecosystem around areas of the model that need attention. This is still in the early stages, and more about the model and action taken will be circulated shortly.
NEAR Foundation will continue to focus on unique use cases that drive the adoption of Web3 technology. Our commitment to maintaining a high bar for partnerships and a disciplined approach to capital allocation will remain the cornerstone of our success. The Foundation will also continue in its bottom up support, being at the service of the community to help empower participants to get involved. We will also continue to support projects to thrive through the NEAR Horizon program.
As NEAR continues to drive forward into uncertain market conditions, it’s more important than ever to prioritize the things that matter and stay true to our vision to create the Open Web.
This NEAR Foundation Transparency Report (the “Report“) is provided for informational purposes only. The information contained herein is provided on an “as is” basis, and the NEAR Foundation makes no representations or warranties, express or implied, regarding the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information contained in this Report.
The NEAR Foundation, its affiliates, directors, employees, and agents, shall not be held liable for any errors, omissions, or inaccuracies in the information provided herein. NEAR Foundation reserves the right to update, modify, or amend any information contained in this Report without prior notice. This Report is not intended to provide financial, investment, legal, tax, or any other professional advice. Readers should consult with their own professional advisors before making any decisions based on the information contained in this Report.
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