NEAR in June: Mila Kunis’ Armored Kingdom, Consensus, Multichain, and More

July 2, 2022

Summer is here. And while the year’s longest day has passed, the best days are ahead for the NEAR ecosystem and community. An exciting new roadmap for the next 12 months has been announced, along with several other enhancements to the Protocol and its security. 

June was marked by fantastic connection, innovation, and progress in the world of NEAR, from a crypto-conference in the Lone Star state to high-stakes sailing on Lake Michigan and an exciting new project in entertainment that pushes the boundaries of Web3 at the intersection of art and technology.

Read on to learn everything you need to know about NEAR in June. 

Armored Kingdom launch

June brought the significant announcement of Armored Kingdom, a new multi-platform, global entertainment universe founded by actress Mila Kunis and superhero creator Sharad Devarajan. Armored Kingdom is focused on changing the landscape of digital comics, animation, and film, as well as developing Web3 trading card games.

Joining Kunis and Devarajan are founders Lindsey McInerney and Lisa Sterbakov, along with creator Hugh Sterbakov and writer/game designer Brian Turner. Armored Kingdom’s vision is an immersive blend of a media franchise with science fiction and fantasy worldbuilding, chronicling the medieval dynasties of Armoria, a world named after an impressive yet elusive metal, Armorite. The multi-platform approach will serve as a venue for fans to connect with each other and the creators.

When deciding where to launch this platform, Armored Kingdom’s founders knew that NEAR’s fast, carbon-neutral, and infinitely scalable protocol checked all the boxes. The launch of Armored Kingdom included a limited edition free NFT comic mint, which was available for only 7 days. It preceded Armored Kingdom’s forthcoming first official collection—a five-issue series of digital and physical comics.

Following its launch announcement through an exclusive with Deadline Hollywood, the entertainment and Web3 communities have been buzzing about this new venture. News organizations around the globe, including Adweek, IGN, and Yahoo, have reported on this unique intersection between entertainment, digital media, and Web3 technology, reaching millions of readers and exposing potential new members to the greater NEAR community.

NEAR @ Consensus

From June 9-12th, the NEAR community converged on Austin, Texas for the Consensus conference, a week of conversations around blockchain, crypto, Web3, and the metaverse. A “Block 5” sponsor of the event, NEAR Foundation’s presence permeated the halls of the Austin Convention Center with educational developer workshops, panel discussions, and speeches from members of the ecosystem and Foundation. 

CEO Marieke Flemant gave opening remarks on the Foundations Stage, emphasizing the NEAR Foundation’s continued commitment to sustainability and ecosystem growth. NEAR co-founder Illia Polosukhin then presented NEAR Protocol’s roadmap over the next 12 months.

An exciting announcement surrounded NEAR rolling out a JavaScript software development kit (SDK) for writing smart contracts. A milestone on the path to mass developer adoption, seven million JS developers can now quickly onboard to Web3 by using a language familiar to them. The palpable excitement was only enhanced by the presence of Brendan Eich, creator of JavaScript and CEO of Brave Software, who was there for the “Test Drive JavaScript for NEAR” session led by Josh Ford and Ben Kurrek from NEAR’s Developer Relations Team. 

Consensus was also the venue for two major NEAR announcements in browser integration and gaming. First, Brave and NEAR announced a collaboration to integrate Aurora, an Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) on the NEAR Protocol, into Brave Wallet. Not only will Brave Wallet’s multi-chain functionality increase, but the Basic Attention Token (BAT) will experience an expanded utility. 

The other big event was Mila Kunis’s announcement of Armored Kingdom’s launch on NEAR. 

NEAR’s Multichain integration

In a move that will allow thousands of tokens to effortlessly interact with NEAR’s ecosystem, the NEAR Foundation announced in June that the NEAR blockchain will be integrated into the Multichain ecosystem.

A cross-chain router protocol, Multichain is steadily working towards being the “ultimate router for Web3,” allowing users to freely swap between any two chains. As such, fees are reduced, and moving between chains is elegant with optimal simplicity. 

Since its beginnings in 2020, Multichain (formerly Anyswap) has a sustained daily volume of over $100 million across 52 blockchains and nearly 2,000 different currencies. In addition to its bridge and router services, Multichain offers anyCall cross-chain contract calls—all backed by the security of Multichain’s MPC network. 

The NEAR blockchain joins a well-established list of supported chains, including Aurora, Avalanche, BNB Chain, Bitcoin, Celo, Ethereum, Oasis, Polygon, and more. Multichain integration extends interoperability to an already expansive network. Ultimately, this will support NEAR’s commitment to ecosystem growth by giving a more superb choice to users and significant freedom to developers.

NEAR launches Smart Contract Audit Program 

In June, NEAR Foundation announced a big step in expanding smart contract audits with its Smart Contract Audit program. Now live, the program also enhances the ecosystem’s overall security.

The program arose from an increase in demand for smart contract audits, and the number of auditors NEAR Foundation needed on retainer. The program will bring a new level of ease and simplicity when selecting the most experienced and skilled auditors. 

Two tentpole features comprise the Smart Contract Audit Program: forms that serve as a pathway for auditor ingest and audit requests. The Auditor Ingest form is as a means for interested smart contract auditors to demonstrate their talents and skills. Following their submission, a rigorous review takes place, ultimately allowing the Foundation to have a high level of detail and better understanding as candidates are selected for onboarding.

Interested projects can now complete a Smart Contract Audit Request form, which enters the project into an audit queue upon submission. Thanks to the diverse and well-qualified talent pool that NEAR Foundation has assembled through the ingest screening process, projects with discrete plans for funding their audits will be completed by previously vetted smart contract auditing firms. 

An essential step in enhancing the overall security of the ecosystem, this program will proliferate the availability of high-caliber audits and transform the role of existing security companies that serve the greater NEAR community. 

SailGP and NEAR’s first sailing event in Chicago

In March, NEAR announced a groundbreaking partnership with SailGP, the premier global sailing league. As a part of this multi-year partnership, the sale of a new team to a DAO launched on NEAR will be explored. This DAO a milestone as the first-of-its-kind in professional sports community engagement.

The DAO also represents a significant overlap between Web3 and professional sports. Users and fans have been provided a new venue to interact, engage and connect with their favorite teams, athletes, and more. 

In June, the United States Sail Grand Prix, held in Chicago at Navy Pier, marked the first event SailGP and NEAR participated in as a part of this new relationship. The event was notable for NEAR’s logo prominently displayed on boats and signage, but also for SailGP’s first NFT collection on NEAR. 

At the United States Sail Grand Prix, NEAR and SailGP hosted an exclusive exhibition of NFTs curated by imnotArt, Chicago’s first physical NFT gallery. NFTs from all four SailGP collections were on display, giving fans a chance to purchase them for the first time. 

Read more about SailGP’s NFT collection on NEAR.

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