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Hacking a New World with MetaBUILD III

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Six months ago, NEAR wrapped up the MetaBUILD 2 hackathon just as the world shut down. New challenges emerged, both inside and outside the NEAR ecosystem. The crypto market itself was seemingly falling apart, and everyone was talking about the looming “Crypto winter”. It was clear that in order to continue, a new, creative approach would be necessary.

NEAR was founded during some of the gloomiest times of the previous “Crypto winter”, so at least some of this was already familiar territory. In fact, NEAR’s resilient design was informed by the uncertainty in the markets surrounding its release. This resilience is not just evident in the technology, but it can also be seen throughout the ecosystem. 

To maintain the health of its vibrant community, NEAR focused the aim of its hackathons towards a broader, more ambitious journey for participants—what if these hackathons could foster each team from ideation all the way to forming a Web3 start-up with a market-ready product?

MetaBUILD III: A Bigger, Better Impact

MetaBUILD is considered one of the biggest hackathons in the blockchain community. With a $1 million in prizes pool, nearly 4,000 participants, and more than 350 submissions from across the world, it has helped realize ideas from streaming tokens to metaverse worlds. In fact, some of these winners will be featured at NEARCON in September, so the community can listen to their stories and learn from their challenges.

This year, MetaBUILD III returns with its $1 million in prizes, with registrations opening today and submissions starting September 23rd. But participants should expect to see the hackathon’s format evolve. It’s shaping it up to become an 8-week product-oriented incubation program, hosted by Pagoda, focused on supporting teams beyond the prize money, towards securing funding, and producing a market-ready prototype. Here’s what else is new:

Instead of the Welcome track (for newly created projects), a Web2 track will be established to help existing teams integrate NEAR blockchain into their current products.Only newly created or substantively modified projects are allowed to enter the Native track to ensure that participants are committed to remaining in the ecosystem even after they win. Proofs of concept projects built during NEARCON’s 48hs IRL hackathon are welcome to join MetaBUILD. Challenges instead of bounties: MetaBUILD III is looking for sustained product teams who understand their market and are committed to building solutions addressing some of the most pressing challenges of today: rising unemployment, the energy crisis, refugee crises, climate change, access to education and other resources, media censorship, etc.

This shift in perspective centers on an understanding of how impactful $1 million could be in the right hands. It is not only about proving great ideas, but growing them as products that can make a long-term impact in the ecosystem and beyond!

Ways to MetaBUILD

Whether you are a solo hacker or an ecosystem partner, there are several ways to participate in MetaBUILD III:

As a developer

Incubate your project from idea to an MVP in 8 weeks. Find some talented teammates, and win $20-60k to continue building. 

Learn more >

As a non-technical person

Pivot your career into Web3, and join one of the teams as a designer, bizdev expert, product manager, or copywriter to build a winning project together.

As a NEAR community member

Host a workshop, share your success story, or provide mentorship to participants. 

Learn more >

As a Web3 company or VC

Spread the word about MetaBUILD in your community, apply to become a mentor or a judge, or host an IRL event to inspire and support the MetaBUILD community. 

Learn more > 

To help fuel the ideas for the next big wave in Web3, a whole educational program will be added to the incubation process:

The Education team behind NEAR University will provide self-paced NEAR workshops.Team Docs will present their Zero to Hero tutorials to make sure the onboarding process is streamlined for everyone. The Pagoda team is already hosting monthly Developer Tooling meetings to demonstrate the features and capabilities of their latest releases.

After the Hack

In addition to all the cash prizes, up to 30 winning teams will be enrolled in an 8-week pre-accelerator program hosted online to shape up their products and prepare them for the next steps in going to market. This preparatory program will include live and self-paced business education workshops designed to help teams write winning grant proposals, navigate funding opportunities, and prepare for the full accelerator program to follow.

Stay tuned for more details on the pre-accelerator program, which will be posted on MetaBuild’s page.  

The “We” in Web3

Navigating a bear market is a sobering experience, but it is also an inspiring one, because Web3 is ready to face new challenges, new audiences, and new use cases. All it needs are open minds, ambitious ideas, and a willingness to work together to change the world—one decentralized project at a time.

Ready to hack the ever changing world? Build your next project on NEAR. MetaBUILD III is here to guide you from idea to market, and beyond. We have the expertise, the funds, and the drive to face new challenges together.

The post Hacking a New World with MetaBUILD III appeared first on NEAR Protocol.

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NEAR After NEARCON In Numbers

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Anyone who made the trip to Lisbon for NEARCON 2022, or tuned in via the YouTube livestream or Twitter, knew NEARCON was a smashing success. The vibe was something to behold. From devs and builders to other visionaries and champions of NEAR, NEARCON showcased the ecosystem and community at its very best—with boundless energy for creating without limits. 

This is an energy that was also palpable to the press. Everything came together to produce  awe-inspiring momentum that is being sustained well beyond NEARCON’s aftermath.

Let’s take a look at NEAR by the numbers in the wake of NEARCON to see just how the NEAR community is building without limits. 

20M Accounts and 200M Transactions 

Coming out of NEARCON, the total amount of NEAR accounts hit a new high of 20 million. To be sure, this was an ecosystem and community effort. But Sweat Economy, who presented at NEARCON, is responsible for onboarding 14 million new users into the NEAR ecosystem with their move-to-earn app. That’s 20x growth since this time last year! 

Thanks to NEAR’s Nightshade sharding—Phase 1 of which was announced at NEARCON—this onboarding of the masses unfolded without a hitch. This example of NEAR’s infinite capacity is proof that it can welcome millions more users across the 800+ apps running on the protocol.
Earlier this month, NEAR also hit a new milestone of 200 million on-chain transactions. Next up? 250 million. The ecosystem is growing by leaps and bounds, and doing so in a crypto winter. 

21 Global Media Partners

NEARCON was a major hit this year with members of the international press.  All told, the conference attracted 21 global media partners, with CoinDesk leading the pack as NEAR’s top tier sponsor.  

Other major media outlets joined NEAR from around the world, including Cointelegraph, the Defiant, Coinpost Japan, W3volution Spain, and Business Insider Africa. 

Over 250 Pieces of Media Coverage

Naturally, with so many global media partners, there is quite a lot of great news to share. Seven NEAR announcements and five partnership stories were pushed out to the global media.  All together these ecosystem stories attracted 256+ pieces of coverage including a fantastic show roundup video by CryptoBanter, a hugely influential crypto YouTube channel that has over half a million subscribers. 

While US media outlets led with most of the NEARCON coverage, NEAR’s flagship conference also saw consistent reporting from media in India, Korea, Vietnam and beyond. 

Media Coverage Breakdown by Country

Africa – 5 pieces of coverageBrazil – 5 pieces of coverageChina – 5 pieces of coverageFrench – 8 pieces of coverageGerman – 2 pieces of coverageItaly – 4 pieces of coverageIndia – 18 pieces of coverageJapan – 2 pieces of coverageKorea – 11 pieces of coverageSpain – 5 pieces of coverage UK – 12 pieces of coverageUS – 25 pieces of coverageVietnam – 5 pieces of coverageGlobal – 150+pieces of coverage

$100M Entertainment Fund

Perhaps the biggest story to come out of NEARCON was the launch of NEAR’s $100 million entertainment fund. It captivated the press, appearing in coverage from international news outlets such as CoinDesk, International Business Times, Journal Du Coin France, China’s leading crypto title Panony , CoinPost Japan and Coin Press Korea.

And rightly so. By partnering with Caerus for this new $100 VC Fund and Lab, NEAR will help push new Web3 innovation in culture, media, and entertainment. This fund now places NEAR at the forefront of changing how creative projects are financed, produced, and distributed, as well as how it’s consumed, owned, and monetized. 

11 Visionary ‘Women of Web3 Changemakers’

Another big campaign launched at NEARCON—the Women of Web3 Changemakers. A partnership with Forkast News, thisinitiative celebrated 11 exceptional women shaping the future of Web3. 

The campaign attracted a great deal of interest from a global audience, with mentions in CoinDesk, Fintech Finance, and Yahoo Finance.  

NEAR Digital Collective (NDC) and Phase 1 Sharding announcements

NEAR Co-founder Illia Polosukhin gave an exclusive interview with CoinDesk about the NEAR Digital Collective (NDC). This interview was syndicated in various media outlets across Africa, Brazil, and China.  

CoinDesk also covered NEAR’s Phase 1 Sharding news, which made significant waves in the developer community as well as international headlines. Meanwhile, Pagoda announced their Pagoda Console—a ‘one stop’ tool shop that gives devs all the kit they need to build Web3 apps. 

NEAR hubs launch in India and Vietnam

NEARCON also witnessed the launch of two major regional hubs—Vietnam and India.  NEAR Foundation worked closely with the Vietnamese press to amplify the story locally, and with great success. Vietnam’s major tech titles covered the announcement, including Zing news.

NEAR Foundation replicated this approach with India’s media outlets, garnering coverage in major titles such as YourStory, the local equivalent of TechCrunch. Interviews were also secured with Reuters, Bloomberg and Times of India. 

Other stories from the NEAR ecosystem

NEAR Foundation pushed out announcements on Tether (USDT) going live on NEAR, Sender Wallet’s $3.5 million funding round, and Few and Far’s ambition to grow the NEAR NFT ecosystem. There were also announcements for NEAR’s partnership with Fireblocks, which will bring innovative crypto technologies to new global institutional investors, and SWEAT Economy’s tokenomics

As with many of the other stories and announcements from NEARCON, these stories had mass global appeal. Coverage could be found in The Block, CointelegraphForbes India, and  CryptoTVPlus Africa.

The sheer amount of positive press comes at a critical time for NEAR. The entire ecosystem and the wider Web3 world are building through a crypto winter but also battling other macroeconomic forces, post-Covid trauma, and climate change. It’s a time for resilience and creativity in how the NEAR and Web3 communities rethink and refashion the internet, and more importantly, the world. 

NEARCON demonstrated to the people across the globe that the protocol, ecosystem, and community will not be deterred. Builders and investors are still flocking to NEAR to build the next generation of decentralized apps. 

This is what creating without limits looks like. And it’s just the beginning!

The post NEAR After NEARCON In Numbers appeared first on NEAR Protocol.

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NEAR and Circle Announce USDC Support for Multi-Chain Ecosystem 

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Big news coming out of the Converge22 conference in San Francisco this week. Circle Internet Financial, a global digital fintech firm and the issuer of USD Coin (USDC), announced a partnership with NEAR that will make USDC widely available on the NEAR ecosystem by the end of 2022. 

Having USDC on NEAR is definitely a reason to celebrate. Circle will also make USDC available on other platforms to support a multi-chain ecosystem. USDC expected to go live on NEAR in early 2023. 

Powering NEAR developers 

Bringing USDC to NEAR will help empower developers to integrate stablecoin payments flows into their Javascript and  Rust-based decentralized applications. This will unlock a new wave of accessibility for Web2 builders moving into Web3. It will also serve a vital role in NEAR’s mission of Web mass adoption, while helping developers build without limits.

“The multi-chain expansion increases USDC’s native availability from eight ecosystems to thirteen, and enables blockchain developers building on USDC and their users to experience greater liquidity and interoperability within the crypto economy,” said Joao Reginatto, VP of Product at Circle. “Extending multi-chain support for USDC opens the door for institutions, exchanges, developers and more to build their innovations and have easier access to a trusted and stable asset.” 

Bringing USDC to NEAR is a big win for developers, who will now be able to integrate stablecoin payment flows into Javascript or Rust-based dApps. This will help usher in a new wave of accessibility for Web 2 builders making the shift to Web3.

What to know about stablecoins

A stablecoin is simply a cryptocurrency that is “pegged” to a more traditional currency like USD or EURO. Through various treasury and/or collateral models, they are designed to keep a 1:1 value, or parity, with their pegged counterparts. Stablecoins can also be pegged to credit and/or debt or have no collateral at all, as seen in algorithmic stablecoins. 

Their presence in the Web3 ecosystem brings a sense of familiarity for natives and newcomers alike. A stablecoin is also a sort of on-ramp to understanding token economics—the gas that powers Web3 and beyond. 

While designed to reduce cryptocurrency volatility, stablecoins present their own set of risks. When centralized, stablecoins can be victims of hacks, theft, or even over-printing which can lead to hyperinflation. If an algorithmic stablecoin experiences algorithmic failure, as happened with Terra and its sister currency, Luna, the stablecoin can fail. If a stablecoin is fractionally reserved instead of fully backed, there can be a bank run that triggers a dramatic stablecoin price drop. 

Visit ref.finance for more information including the risks associated with  investments.

The post NEAR and Circle Announce USDC Support for Multi-Chain Ecosystem  appeared first on NEAR Protocol.

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