Near Protocol arms itself in the blockchain race with $350M funding round
Near Protocol ($NEAR) is arming itself with $350M in funding to compete in the race to become the next smart contract giant — one led by the OG smart contract platform, Ethereum.
The most important race of the decade
Picking the right horse might land you with the next $AAPL or $MSFT. Hundreds of others are competing, but here’s the leader chart by fees earned (7-day average):
- Ethereum ($ETH) — $24M.
- Binance Smart Chain ($BSC) — $1.8M.
- Avalanche ($AVAX) — $1M.
Last year, Solana ($SOL) exploded in popularity due to its fast and cheap transactions ($0.00025). Cardano ($ADA) was a retail investor favorite but has struggled to gain market share.
These newer blockchains promise similar things: Faster transaction speeds and cheaper fees.
Here’s another: Near Protocol — which uses proof-of-stake — has quickly grown into a $10B giant and its token has risen 138% in the past year.
Near’s tech has investors excited
Near was the 3rd most-held asset held among crypto funds in the last quarter of 2021. Near’s blockchain uses a process called “sharding,” — which makes transaction fees cheaper and speeds faster.
How vital is sharding? Enough for Ethereum to have it on their product roadmap — expected in 2023.
- Last week, Near announced a $350M investment by the investment firm Tiger Global and other heavy hitters.
- Last October, announced $800M in grants to incentivize developers to create apps on their platform — the largest grant to date offered by a layer one blockchain.
Fight for developers: The more apps running transactions on their platform, the more fees these blockchains earn. Near differentiates itself by being easy to use.
- Near makes it easy for Web2 developers to build on Near — incorporating industry-standard tools from Microsoft and other tech giants.
- Most existing blockchains require developers to code in blockchain specific coding languages (e.g., Solidity) — but Near supports several traditional coding languages (e.g., Java, Go, Rust).
Read Partner of Pantera Capital Paul Veradittakit explains Near’s features (warning, highly technical).
Investors: What’s missing? Transactions and apps.
Big funding rounds mean little unless they lead to more developers, apps and transactions on Near’s network.
- In 2021, the number of developers on Near’s platform grew second-fastest among mid-sized blockchains (behind Solana)
- But Near is still new, and the available apps and transactions on its network are limited.
Investing in any of these protocols carries a big risk. Competition among blockchains is hyper-competitive, and many of these could likely go to zero.