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NEAR Foundation

NEAR Foundation is a non-profit organization that supports the development and growth of the NEAR Protocol, a decentralized blockchain platform aiming to build an Open Web and empower creators, developers, entrepreneurs, and community members.
NEAR Foundation
Leadership team

Marieke Flament (CEO)

Mona El Isa (Chairperson)

Richard Muirhead (Board Member)

Illia Polosukhin (Founder)

Jason Warner (Board Member)

Sheila Warren (Board Member)

Alexander Skidanov (Founder)

Headquarters
Zug, Switzerland
Region served
worldwide
Year stablished
2018
Address
Zug, Zug 6300, CH
Social Media
Summary

The NEAR Foundation (NF) is a Swiss-based nonprofit organization that plays a pivotal role in launching the NEAR Protocol and nurturing its ecosystem. With the mission to accelerate the world's transition to open technologies, the NF utilizes its financial and operational resources to support the NEAR Collective, a community of developers and creators driving the NEAR ecosystem. The NF's goal is to provide clarity on its organizational structure, operations, definition of success, and vision.

The NEAR Protocol serves as a technology platform for building an Open Web, with numerous active projects and decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) built on NEAR. DAOs offer a new way for communities to collaborate, providing a decentralized and rewarding environment based on contributions. Notable projects within the NEAR ecosystem include NEARWEEK, a Web3 news and community platform where members earn rewards by submitting news items, Human Guild, which grants support and advisory services to gaming projects, and TenK DAO, offering professional services to artists building generative art projects.

NEAR boasts a globally distributed community, with over 550,000 members and 4,000 developers actively contributing to the protocol's platform, ecosystem, and applications. The ecosystem also provides strong venture support, with over $120 million awarded to fund over 2,000 projects. NEAR also offers interoperability with Ethereum and the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), allowing for easy migration of Solidity contracts and asset transfers between Ethereum, NEAR, and Aurora EVM.

NEAR's global presence is bolstered by regional hubs such as the Kenya Regional Hub (Sankore 2.0), NEAR Korea, NEAR Balkans Hub, NEAR Vietnam, and NEAR India. These hubs facilitate events, meetups, educational activities, and business development initiatives, supporting the adoption and growth of the NEAR protocol in their respective regions.

With 750 projects, over 868,000 monthly active accounts, and a total of 25 million accounts, the NEAR Foundation has made significant strides in its mission. Additionally, they have raised an impressive amount of 579 million, demonstrating their commitment to supporting the growth and development of open technologies.


History

The NEAR Foundation was founded in 2018 to drive innovation and support the growth of the NEAR ecosystem. During ETHDenver 2022, the foundation unveiled Pagoda, the world's first Web3 startup platform. Pagoda aimed to empower developers with a comprehensive toolset for building, maintaining, and scaling blockchain-based startups. To further support startups on the NEAR Blockchain Operating System (BOS), NEAR Foundation partnered with Outlier Ventures to launch the NEAR Base Camp accelerator program. This 12-week program offered participants mentorship, education, funding, and service credits on NEAR Horizon, the foundation's Web3 startup platform.

Recognizing the importance of fostering meaningful interactions within creator communities, NEAR Foundation collaborated with Knaq to transform the way fans engage with their favorite creators on both Web2 and Web3 social media platforms. This partnership aimed to provide true utility to NFTs and tokens, enhancing the fan experience.

NEAR Horizon also joined forces with Encode Club to simplify the entry into the Web3 sphere. This partnership offered builders and founders a structured pathway to navigate the decentralized landscape, fostering inclusivity and accessibility.

In the realm of e-commerce, NEAR Foundation partnered with Taco Labs to revolutionize customer loyalty for Shopify retailers. By leveraging NEAR's speedy and carbon-neutral blockchain, this collaboration aimed to overcome Web3 adoption challenges and create personalized loyalty experiences that deepen brand-consumer connections.

To reshape Web3 gaming, NEAR Foundation partnered with PipeFlare, a play-to-earn platform, to build on Aurora, NEAR's Ethereum-compatible layer. The collaboration aimed to redefine scalability, security, and enjoyment in Web3 gaming.

NEAR Foundation also formed a strategic partnership with Shemaroo Entertainment, a prominent Indian content powerhouse, to foster Web3 innovation in the media and entertainment industry. This partnership aimed to drive Web3 adoption across India and beyond.

NEAR Foundation made significant announcements at Consensus, an event organised in 2023 by CoinDesk, including the launch of the Blockchain Operating System (BOS) and the Near Horizon Web3 accelerator program. The BOS offered accessibility to everyone, making Web3 and Web2 easier to navigate for users and developers. Near Horizon provided a marketplace for Web3 startups to find the support they need for building on NEAR and cross-chain platforms, empowering founding teams with tools and resources.

Women in Web3, a global initiative, made a comeback, highlighting the contribution of women in the Web3 space. Google Cloud also announced its Web3 Startup program, providing support to founders building on the BOS and partnering with NEAR Horizon.

NEAR Foundation continued to expand its ecosystem and global presence by announcing NEARCON, the NEAR Ecosystem's Annual flagship conference, to be held in Lisbon, Portugal. NEAR APAC was also announced, taking place in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, to create more accessible events for builders and industry professionals worldwide.

The foundation facilitated integration with Mailchain, enabling NEAR developers to send encrypted messages between blockchain wallet addresses. XP Network's cross-chain NFT bridge went live on NEAR mainnet, empowering NFT holders to transfer their assets across different supported chains and enhancing NFT marketplaces on NEAR Protocol.

Kuutamo, a venture-backed technology company, partnered with enterprise-grade infrastructure provider Lattitude.sh to offer developers and NEAR validators more flexibility and control in accessing premium infrastructure. Meanwhile, Wombi, a Web3 attribution platform, went live on NEAR, providing decentralized app developers with analytics to optimize their marketing efforts.


Goals and Purpose

Ecosystem-level clarity: NEAR strives to ensure that all participants in the ecosystem have a comprehensive understanding of the platform's capabilities, ongoing developments, and how to access available resources. Community input plays a crucial role in making significant decisions that affect the community, such as resource allocations and technical governance.

Seamless onboarding: NEAR aims to provide a smooth onboarding experience for prospective builders. Within moments of discovering NEAR, they should grasp the unique value proposition and have access to human support to guide them through available resources. They should also have easy access to relevant communities that can assist them in answering questions, testing products, and driving early adoption.

Founder experience: NEAR aims to offer founders building on its platform easy access to essential information required to make informed decisions about various aspects of their organization, including hiring, incorporation, compensation, and legal and regulatory matters. They should have a clear menu of financing options and access to support as they navigate these choices. NEAR seeks to provide a pool of competent human resources for all necessary roles.

Developer experience: NEAR strives to provide developers with a seamless and productive environment for building their products. This includes confidence in the reliability and effectiveness of the technology, easy access to explanations, examples, and documentation, and a clear understanding of available tools, products, and projects within the ecosystem. NEAR aims to support developers through a rapid, iterative, and well-supported journey from idea to product launch, backed by an active and inclusive community. Integration with various project components, such as wallets, payment processors, and custody solutions, is also a priority.

Effective go-to-market support: NEAR aims to provide builders with comprehensive support during product testing, launch, and post-launch phases. This includes access to an engaged community of early adopters for rapid product/market fit discovery, evangelization of the product during launch, and open knowledge bases of best practices for areas such as consumer onboarding, security, and growth strategies. NEAR seeks to offer broad access to customers, secondary markets, and continued opportunities for partnerships, capital, and exits.

The NEAR Foundation aims to achieve these goals indirectly by enabling other community members to contribute in a high-quality, scalable, and self-sufficient manner. Success for the NEAR ecosystem is defined by widespread adoption, where the platform and its underlying protocol are actively used by a large number of individuals and businesses globally. Key metrics for determining success within the next 18 months include generating the most economic activity (GMV), supporting the highest total market cap of projects, and hosting the most active users among blockchain-based ecosystems.


Impact

NEAR Foundation has successfully launched over 750 active projects, including decentralised applications (dApps) built on the NEAR Protocol. Additionally, the organisation has facilitated the establishment of 125 Decentralised Autonomous Organizations (DAOs), which provide a new model for organising and funding communities. DAOs eliminate hierarchical structures and empower members to make collective decisions and receive rewards based on their contributions.

One of the notable projects within the NEAR ecosystem is NEARWEEK, a Web 3.0 news and community platform. NEARWEEK operates as a DAO, where community members can earn rewards by submitting news items. This incentivises community engagement and creates a decentralized and participatory information-sharing platform. Another project, Human Guild, offers grants and advisory services to gaming projects building on NEAR platform. This support helps nurture promising projects and contributes to the growth of the gaming ecosystem. TenK DAO is another initiative that provides professional services to artists building generative art projects on NEAR, with the DAO receiving compensation based on sales and royalties.

The NEAR community plays a crucial role in driving the ecosystem's growth and success. With over 550,000 members and 4,000 developers, the community is globally distributed and acts as a home for developers, token holders, validators, and individuals supporting the NEAR platform, ecosystem, and applications. The community is supported by 120 guilds, which provide specialized knowledge, resources, and collaboration opportunities.

NEAR's impact is further amplified by strong venture support. The ecosystem has awarded over $120 million in funding to more than 2,000 projects. 

NEAR also offers seamless integration with other blockchain networks. Developers can easily migrate their Solidity contracts from Ethereum to the Aurora EVM, an Ethereum Virtual Machine compatible with NEAR. The Rainbow Bridge enables the transfer of assets between Ethereum, NEAR, and the Aurora EVM, facilitating interoperability and expanding the possibilities for developers and users.


References
NEAR Foundation
Leadership team

Marieke Flament (CEO)

Mona El Isa (Chairperson)

Richard Muirhead (Board Member)

Illia Polosukhin (Founder)

Jason Warner (Board Member)

Sheila Warren (Board Member)

Alexander Skidanov (Founder)

Headquarters
Zug, Switzerland
Region served
worldwide
Year stablished
2018
Address
Zug, Zug 6300, CH
Social Media