A few weeks ago, as part of a series of blogs on the state of funding, NEAR Foundation announced it would be examining its evolving funding strategy. This is in line with the Foundation’s goal of providing a clear and concise update to continue to foster transparent communication.
At this time, NEAR Foundation is actively working towards a more decentralized model of capital allocation that will initially involve the DeveloperDAO, MarketingDAO, CreativesDAO, with an additional DAO that will begin formation in Q1 of 2023. This will impact the ecosystem in the following ways:
Effective immediately, NEAR Foundation will cease allocating capital directly from our inbound start-up grants program, with the exception of our current events grants, which will be handed over to the MarketingDAO when they are set up to manage them. Request events funding using the events grant application.
In January and February, we will be working directly with community members to outline a clear application process for funding via the DAOs. Processing time is expected to take 6-8 weeks. If you are interested in helping us form the new DAO with a focus on start-up projects, please submit your interest using this contact form.
Any projects that have already received a portion of their funding and are working towards their agreed milestones will continue to be supported through the remaining milestones.
Any application that is not already in the approval stage will not receive funding. However, we will do our best to redirect you to appropriate, alternative funding sources.
NEAR Foundation’s goal is to empower the ecosystem to make decisions that support the strategic approach that will drive NEAR to the next phase of its roadmap, with a look ahead at new areas of product and development, as outlined in the NEAR Strategic Update and Outlook for 2023. We will continue to be as transparent as possible about the new funding strategy as it rolls out. The Foundation will communicate as often, and as frequently, as possible. We encourage the community to continue providing meaningful feedback so we can iterate more quickly as we unite to build the NEAR Ecosystem together.
NEAR Wallet’s Evolution in 2023
NEAR Foundation and Pagoda, along with the Wallets Working Group, have conducted extensive community discussions over the last several months about the evolution of wallets in the NEAR ecosystem. In keeping with the Foundation’s goal to empower the community and continue to decentralize the ecosystem over time, the focus since NEARCON has been to expand the wallet offerings to NEAR users and to decentralize the NEAR Wallet.
MyNearWallet is now open source and under the stewardship of Developer DAO to maintain as a public good. (Pagoda took over MNW after Kikimora ceased operations in December due to funding issues.) DevDAO announced this week that they are accepting applications for teams to take over maintenance of MyNearWallet to evolve the product while keeping it open source for the benefit of the developer community. For more information about how to apply, visit the Developer DAO gigs board on NEAR Social.
If you have been using MyNearWallet or wallet.near.org, you don’t need to take any action. MyNearWallet service will not be interrupted in this transition and, in fact, users can expect product improvements over time from the chosen maintainer team. The goal is to offer more wallet options to users across the NEAR ecosystem and to decentralize the development of wallet products across the developer community.
Pagoda will continue maintaining wallet.near.org. Over time, the NEAR wallet will integrate into the forthcoming NEAR Discovery product. But for now, no action is needed from users. Legacy wallet users may consider migrating to another wallet now that an expanded range of options is available via Wallet Selector, which will soon live on wallet.near.org. Numerous wallets optimizing for a variety of user types, security requirements, and use cases are already available, with more on the way in Q1.
NEAR’s commitment to serving as the de facto entry point to Web3 remains intact. Building without limits is about continuously improving on industry standards and delivering the best possible experiences to developers and users alike.
NEAR Weekly On Chain Data Report: January 6
As part of the Foundation’s commitment to transparency, each week it will publish data to help the NEAR community understand the health of the ecosystem.
This will be on top of the quarterly reports. You can find the Quarterly Transparency Reports here.
The following NEAR Weekly On Chain Data Report is the first of 2023. The final On-Chain Data Report of 2022 can be found here.
The Importance of Transparency
Transparency has always been one of NEAR Foundation’s core beliefs. Openness to the community, investors, builders, and creators is one of the core tenets of being a Web3 project.
In recent months, in response to community frustration, the Foundation has endeavored to do more. This NEAR Weekly On-Chain Data Report is just one of the ways in which the Foundation is being more proactively transparent.
New Accounts and Active Accounts
New Accounts are defined as new wallets created on the NEAR blockchain. In this first week of 2023 there has been an upward trend in New Accounts, with a weekly peak of 19,808 on January 2nd, before trailing off toward week’s end. There are now more than 23M NEAR accounts as of January 4th.
The Daily Number of Active Accounts measures the number of NEAR wallets making on-chain transactions. Over the last week, Active Accounts rose from around 39,000 to o 45,236.
Historically, NEAR has seen highs of more than 100,000 active accounts. The high for Active Accounts on any one day in Q4 of 2022 was logged on September 14, during which 183,000 accounts were active. This week’s lower though rising total could indicate a rise in activity coming out of the holiday season and into the new year.
New Contracts and Active Contracts
Smart contracts created on NEAR are programs stored on a blockchain that run when predetermined conditions are met. The Daily Number of New Contracts is a valuable metric because it allows the NEAR community to measure the NEAR ecosystem’s health and growth. If there are more active contracts, it follows that projects are more actively engaging with the NEAR protocol.
This week, the daily number of New Contract trended upward before falling off slightly toward week’s end. As the new year hit there were just over 10 New Contracts with a weekly high of 29 on January 2nd.
Active Contracts measure contracts executed during a 24-hour period. This metric trended upward this past week, rising from 560 on January 1st to a high of nearly 700.
Used Gas and Gas Fee
Gas Fees describes the cost of making transactions on the NEAR network. These are fees paid to validators for the network services they provide to the NEAR blockchain, and incentivize validators to secure the network.
Over the last week, Used Gas on NEAR (PetaGas) was measured at a 5121 on January 1st and trended untoward 6,000 PetaGas. To learn more about Gas on NEAR, check out the NEAR White Paper. (Rises in gas used can be attributed to many factors, with a common one being increased user activity on the NEAR network.)
In the last week, there has been a slight rise in the Gas Fee, which correlates with the rise in Used Gas. The Gas fee rose from 512 on January 1st to 585 on the 4th.
The Daily Number of Transactions is a measure of the number of times the blockchain logged a transaction. This week’s shows an increase in the number of transactions, 281,962 on January 1st before falling to 342,492 on the 4th.
These reports are generated each week and published on Friday.
NEAR 2022: A Year in Review
It’s been a whirlwind year for NEAR – and it’s hard to believe that 2022 is coming to an end. It’s been a year filled with massive milestones and achievements, including the biggest NEARCON ever, record-breaking new wallet creation, and much more.
With 2023 around the corner, it’s a great time to reflect and take stock of all the exciting happenings and announcements that took place in 2022. NEAR Foundation congratulates every developer, community member, and partner that made 2022 a blast.
Without further ado, here’s everything that happened with NEAR in 2022, how the ecosystem is successfully navigating bear market conditions, and why NEAR is primed for explosive growth heading into 2023!
The last 12 months saw huge progress on the protocol level, with an exciting roadmap charting the course for 2023 and beyond. From staking upgrades to new developer tools, the NEAR protocol made huge strides in onboarding new builders and the next 1 billion users.
NEAR also saw the introduction of meta-transactions, allowing third parties to pay transactions for the transaction cost of any account. Users can then be onboarded to NEAR apps without owning any NEAR tokens. Meta transaction development will continue through next year and will be critical to new wallet growth.
Stake Wars’ latest iteration also began in 2022, marking another step towards decentralizing the network. Stake Wars will increase the total number of validators as chunk-only producers for the next phases of sharding. The chunk-only producer role will be more accessible to new validators who don’t have sufficient $NEAR to run a Block Producer node.
Phase 1 of Nightshade Sharding Commences
Stake Wars was a critical step in the transition from Simple Nightshade to Phase 1 of sharding in 2022. As Phase 1 continues, total validators will increase from around 100 to 300, with a significantly lower seat price. Phase 1 was crucial to facilitate scaling, improve decentralization, and bring the Open Web to mass adoption.
There will be an 86% decrease in collateral requirements to become a chunk-only producer as Phase 1 of Nightshade concludes in 2022 and continues into the next year. Phase 1 went live on mainnet in September 2022 with key contributions and assistance from the Pagoda team.
As NEAR co-founder Illia Polosukhin told CoinDesk in the lead-up to the Phase 1 roll-out, “the more users the network gets, the more decentralized the network gets as well.” This allows NEAR to add more validators in response to more demand for the network, delivering on the promise of speed, scalability, and efficiency.
Major Strides in Funding and Transparency
A thriving NEAR ecosystem requires resources and trust, both of which made major strides. The birth of Transparency Reports assured the community that all core stakeholders in NEAR are operating in good faith and from a position of financial strength. These reports provide important information about the health of the protocol and ecosystem, including staking distribution, daily transactions, and new accounts created. (Read the Q3 Transparency Report.)
To see how NEAR Foundation and other ecosystem funding projects have been distributing portions of the $800M in funding throughout 2022, check out Q1/Q2 and Q3 Transparency Reports. Key areas of funding include Proximity Labs and DeFi, DAOs, NFT infrastructure, and Regional Hubs. The NEAR Digital Collective (NDC) was also announced and launched at NEARCON, with one of the goals being to further decentralize and democratize grants giving and decision-making processes.
NEAR’s 2022 was one of huge growth and innovation. New partnerships like Sweatcoin and SailGP were major stepping stones toward bringing Web3 to the masses. Projects in areas such as gaming, music, and NFTs showcased that the NEAR ecosystem is thriving and poised for new heights in 2023.
The NEAR protocol experienced 15x growth in cumulative accounts over the past year with 22M+ today. NEAR also has 900K monthly active wallets, marking a major increase from this time last year. And in 2022, the NEAR ecosystem generated $330M of external capital in projects building on NEAR.
One of the biggest catalysts for new NEAR wallet and account creation was the partnership with Sweatcoin. The $SWEAT token rewards users for every step they take throughout the day, encouraging users to live healthy lifestyles. Sweatcoin migrating to NEAR pushed total wallets from 2 million at the beginning of the year to over 20 million by November. As Flament pointed out during the Sweatcoin keynote at NEARCON, the movement economy is in its infancy, and NEAR is poised to be a leader in the space with the help of Sweatcoin.
Another huge addition to the NEAR ecosystem was the world-renowned boat racing league, SailGP. SailGP partnered with NEAR to pioneer the intersection of sports, Web3, and Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs). In addition to offering NFT collectibles on the NEAR blockchain to fans, SailGP will use AstroDAO tooling to create the first fan-owned team as a DAO. In addition to the growth of ecosystem projects like Kin DAO for equity and inclusion, it was a banner year for NEAR and DAOs.
You may not have noticed, but 2022 saw a massive surge in interest about music and Web3. And one of the most innovative projects in this area was in the NEAR ecosystem, with the launch of Endlesss. The music creation, marketing, and community development platform’s NEAR integration went live in the summer as a virtual gathering place blending social media features with music production tools. Endlesss enables musicians of all skill levels to conduct “jam sessions” on the NEAR blockchain and mint their music as NFTs.
The NEAR ecosystem got a huge dose of star power with the unveiling of Armored Kingdom. Backed by Hollywood star Mila Kunis, Armored Kingdom will be an immersive gaming, NFT, storytelling, and metaverse experience built on the NEAR blockchain. The project kicked off with a first edition NFT comic book airdrop at Consensus, Austin. NEAR also announced the launch of the South Korea Regional Hub with a focus on bringing the NEAR blockchain to the massive local game development community.
PlayEmber also established itself as a key player in the NEAR gaming ecosystem, taking a mobile-first approach to Web3 gaming and bringing advertisers into the space. PlayEmber’s games now have over 4.2 million monthly active users, and recently closed a $2.3 million pre-seed raise led by Shima Capital.
With core NFT infrastructure maturing in the NEAR ecosystem, 2022 was a year of innovative use cases and groundbreaking projects. NEARCON saw the announcement of a key grant to Few and Far, a premium NFT marketplace on NEAR with a seamless UX and simple minting solutions. One of NEAR’s biggest NFT projects, Mintbase, received over $12 million in funding this August. Mintbase empowers niche creators with the ability to mint NFTs of any type with little technical know-how, exemplifying NEAR’s commitment to making Web3 easy for everyone.
From the launch of Phase 1 sharding to protocol upgrades and ecosystem growth, 2022 was a huge leap for the NEAR ecosystem in many respects. It’s the year that the “Create Without Limits” vision was introduced, the biggest NEARCON ever took place, and some of the most important partnerships in the history of NEAR were cemented. It was also a year in which NEAR committed to more transparency and communication with the community.
Looking forward, NEAR will continue to champion Web3 as a catalyst for change, in addition to environmental sustainability as a carbon-neutral blockchain. In 2023, the NEAR community can expect even more partnerships that push boundaries and support projects that will enhance and empower a prosperous NEAR ecosystem.