NEAR Protocol Secures $21.6M Funding, Launches MainNet to Compete with Ethereum 2.0

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by Bhushan Akolkar · 3 min read
NEAR Protocol Secures $21.6M Funding, Launches MainNet to Compete with Ethereum 2.0
Photo: NEAR / Twitter

With its mainnet release NEAR has launched its “first fully sharded, fully operational proof-of-stake blockchain platform” that allows users to create end-user applications atop the platform.

While the global markets look gloomy, the blockchain industry continues to drive fresh investments. The NEAR Protocol project has recently secured $21.6 million during the latest fundraising round. The funding round was led by Andreessen Horowitz with other investors including Blockchange, Animal Ventures, Libertus, etc. Besides, there were some of the already existing investors like Pantera, Electric and others.

With over two years of development, NEAR has also launched its Mainnet: POA. The NEAR Protocol is now a completely new proof-of-stake public blockchain network built using a completely new consensus mechanism dubbed “Nightshade”. NEAR Protocol uses the concept of “sharding” for multiple parallel computations. This eases the performance pressure of the network while distributing tasks.

The Mainnet release is the first major step and a path closer for NEAR to being a “first fully sharded, fully operational proof-of-stake blockchain platform”. This is just the start of the multi-phase roll-out of the NEAR platform in the coming months. In the official blog post, NEAR’s Erik Trautman wrote:

“The significance of MainNet: POA is that developers can now create production end-user-facing applications atop the smart contract platform running on the NEAR Protocol blockchain and the state of these applications is guaranteed to persist going forward, which crucially differentiates it from a TestNet release”.

NEAR Protocol in Direct Competition with Ethereum 2.0

Well, NEAR will pose a straight competition to Ethereum 2.0 blockchain, which is still under construction and not ready for a full-scale release. Ethereum is one of those first blockchain projects hosting several decentralized financial applications on top of it.

However, the acceptability of blockchain-based financial applications has been relatively low. Of course, there are several reasons like performance issues and network capacity behind it. Well, competitors to Ethereum like NEAR will certainly help to uplift the market and speed the development of decentralized financial applications.

However, NEAR has clarified that there are still some improvements left ahead for the Mainnet. There are some limitations with functionality and tooling on the platform. Thus, it is more suitable for early adopters.

On the other, Andreessen Horowitz has prepared its second blockchain-focused fund of $515 million.

“We are still early in this Web 3 build-out. High-performance programmable blockchains will make decentralized network development much more accessible. After years of R&D, we are excited that a number of next-gen programmable blockchains will begin rolling out in the near future,” said they in their official statement.

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