The NEAR protocol is a layer 1 blockchain that allows developers to run decentralized applications (DApps). This decentralized development platform achieves scalability by using a sharding technology known as Nightshade. The platform aims to eliminate some of the common problems faced by developers. This includes slow networks, low network throughput, and lack of compatibility. Eliminating these issues creates a suitable environment for decentralized applications to thrive.
Founded by Alex Skidanov and Illia Polosukhin in 2020, the NEAR protocol was created as a community-operated cloud computing platform that hosts decentralized applications. Skidanov formerly worked at MemSQL as the director of engineering and Polosukhin worked with Google. Polosukhin is one of the people responsible for Google's advanced Al and search engine.
Since its launch, NEAR has become a reputable platform in the industry and has raised over $20 million through a series of funding rounds.
The NEAR protocol is similar to Amazon Web Service in that they both provide a platform for application development. However unlike the centralized nature of AWS, NEAR is decentralized. It uses a distributed network of computers to run the platform. These computers operate the NEAR network which allows developers to create DApps.
NEAR operates as a smart contract compatible blockchain that uses a proof of stake consensus mechanism. However, it has a few additional features that help it stand out when compared to other blockchains, these features improve the performance in the NEAR ecosystem.
This is perhaps the most notable additional feature in the NEAR ecosystem. it is at the core of the NEAR blockchain. nightshade is a sharding technology that allows the NEAR blockchain to efficiently process data by splitting the blockchain into smaller segments and distributing them across the computer nodes. This reduces the workload placed on a single node which will result in a higher amount of transactions per second and reduced transaction fees.
Through sharding, each computer node only stores a fraction of the network's data. This fraction is referred to as a chunk, the nodes process the chunks and then store them on the NEAR blockchain, each node processes a chunk that is a part of the next block in the chain
The NEAR blockchain uses nightshade to distribute the computing power required to run the blockchain across a network of computer nodes, doing this increases the throughput of the network.
Rainbow Bridge is a NEAR application that allows users to transfer Ethereum-based tokens (ERC-20 tokens), stablecoins, and NFTs between the two blockchains.
This allows developers and users to benefit from the scalable features of the NEAR protocol such as high throughput and lower transaction fees. This application is a permissionless, decentralized software that uses smart contracts to transfer tokens. For a user to transfer tokens from the Ethereum blockchain to the NEAR protocol, they would first have to deposit their tokens in an Ethereum smart contract. This is because tokens cannot be directly transferred between the two blockchains. Instead, the tokens are placed in the smart contract and locked, taking them out of circulation on the Ethereum network. New tokens will then be created on the NEAR protocol to represent the original Ethereum tokens.
Transferring a token from Ethereum to NEAR is a reversible process which means that a user can transfer their token back to Ethereum at any time. However, the process of transferring tokens back to Ethereum can be long and costly.
This is a layer 2 scaling solution on the NEAR blockchain that allows developers to expand their Ethereum decentralized applications to NEAR. This helps the developers to take advantage of NEAR's low transaction fees and quick block time.
There are two components of Aurora; the Aurora Bridge and the Aurora Engine. The Aurora Bridge utilizes the same technology as the Rainbow Bridge. It helps developers and users to link their smart contracts and Ethereum-based tokens seamlessly. The Aurora Bridge creates a bridge between the Ethereum blockchain and the NEAR Protocol. The Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) was used to build the Aurora Engine on the NEAR Protocol which makes it Ethereum-compatible.
On the NEAR blockchain developers and users are required to pay fees for running applications, storing data, and transferring assets. These fees are paid using the NEAR token.
All applications running on NEAR must pay fees to the NEAR Protocol. Running applications on the NEAR blockchain requires computational power which is why apps built on the network are charged fees. Most of these fees are paid to validators for maintaining the network.
The remaining fees are burnt by the NEAR protocol to reduce the supply of NEAR tokens in circulation.
As the number of decentralized applications continues to rise, one thing is for certain, blockchains need a way to scale. Scalability is a common problem faced by users of other blockchains like Bitcoin and Ethereum. Lack of scalability limits the number of transactions a blockchain can process and increases its transaction fees. For most blockchains when the number of transactions rises, the fees go up and the network slows down. This limits the capabilities of decentralized apps on the blockchain network.
The goal behind the NEAR protocol is to solve the issue of scalability by creating a blockchain with sharding technology. This technology is what tends to attract new users to the NEAR protocol. Thanks to the use of sharding technology, developers can enjoy cheaper and quicker transactions. This particularly attracts developers whose apps require large volumes of activity.
Using the NEAR protocol allows developers to solve some of the most crucial issues affecting decentralized application development.
These are some of the projects based on the NEAR blockchain:
Mintbase: This platform allows users to design, buy, and sell nonfungible tokens (NFTs) on the NEAR blockchain. NFTs available on Mintbase include digital art, exclusive event tickets, and much more.
Mintbase formerly operated on the Ethereum blockchain but the platform switched to NEAR because of the high gas fees on Ethereum.
Flux: Flux allows developers to design markets for anything using its decentralized open market protocol. It launched on NEAR in late 2020.
Paras: This is an NFT marketplace that mainly focuses on digital cards. The platform is suitable for artists and collectors. Artists can create and sell their work while collectors can use the Parade platform to protect their collectibles from wear.
NPunks: This is a collection of NFTs created on the NEAR blockchain. It is similar to other thriving NFT projects such as CryptoPunks, SolPunks, and Tpunks.
The most unique feature of the NEAR protocol is its sharding technology. NEAR's sharding technology promotes participation and enhances decentralization. The network is also very user-friendly. It shows human-readable account names instead of the complex wallet addresses used on other blockchains.
The NEAR token is the native token in the NEAR ecosystem. It is used to pay for transaction fees and storage fees on the NEAR blockchain. It is also used to reward validators for maintaining the network.
The initial supply of NEAR tokens was 1 billion and about 35% of it was sold to investors who invested in the early stage of the project. To maintain scarcity, the network often burns some of the tokens in circulation. NEAR tokens can also be used for staking. Token holders who want to be validators will need to stake their NEAR first. The NEAR blockchain also operates a governance protocol that allows users to vote for decisions on the network using their NEAR tokens.
NEAR token holders can swap the token on a crypto exchange that lists it. Choose a crypto exchange that you trust before buying NEAR tokens. Swapzone is a reputable exchange that allows you to buy, sell, and swap NEAR. Follow the steps below to swap NEAR with BTC or any other crypto coin:
An exchange rate is the rate at which one cryptocurrency can be exchanged for another through a certain crypto exchange provider. Cryptocurrency exchange rates on Swapzone reflect current prices of crypto assets and are updated every 30 seconds for you to keep track of any market changes and fluctuations to profit when buying the dip or going with the best exchange rate and the lowest exchange fees. All cryptocurrency exchange providers have their own rates, which depends on supply and demand, mining rewards, costs and so on. See what else might affect the rate in our article on prices.
There are two types of exchange rates aggregated by Swapzone – fixed rates and floating rates. To receive the exact amount of crypto that is displayed at the beginning of the exchange and shield yourself against the market's volatility, opt for fixed-rate offers. If you're ready to take a risk and receive less or more than the sum displayed, go with floating-rate offers but bear in mind that floating rates may drastically change any second. You can refresh your memory on how to get the best exchange rate here.
Crypto transaction fees may vary depending on the network (Ethereum transaction fees tend to spike during the congestion on the network), your chosen cryptocurrency, an instant exchange provider as well as its transaction processing speed and internal policy. These fees may be relatively low but it’s crucial to know they may be imposed in the first place.
If you want to exchange cryptocurrency with the lowest fees, beware of the offers with a grey-colored “Transaction fees are not included” label displayed under the exchange rate. To avoid having to pay an unexpected amount of fees during the exchange, opt for those that do not have that label. Read our articles to learn more about how to exchange cryptocurrency with the lowest fees and find out which assets have the lowest transaction fees.
Transactions usually take from 5 to 30 minutes to be processed, especially if you choose currencies with speedy networks. However, there are several factors that may affect and slow down the exchange process, i.e. transaction volume, blockchain capacity, network updates, cryptocurrency itself and the capacity or chosen exchange platforms.
The processing may take longer due to the large transaction volume, congestion of the network, blockchain overload and market overload, technical issues or system failures, lack of liquidity or network maintenance.
The transaction may be also stuck if you forget to add a required Extra ID, mistake networks or use the wrong wallet for a chosen crypto asset. If you worry that the exchange processing is taking too long, please, contact us at [email protected] or via our live chat on the landing page.
To exchange, buy, sell or trade cryptocurrency and store your crypto keys safely and securely, you need a crypto wallet. Choosing the best cryptocurrency wallet is a question of preference and need. To learn more, read our guide on how to choose the best cryptocurrency wallet for your needs.
There are several types of wallets for different crypto assets and tasks. Software wallets, or hot storage wallets, are connected to the Internet and come in many forms: Web, Desktop, Mobile or Browser Extensions. If you want to build a large crypto portfolio, you might want to look at multi currency wallets like Exodus, MetaMask, TrustWallet, Atomic or Guarda. If a coin or a token of your choice isn’t available there, you can always opt for a single-currency wallet that is usually designed by the project that launched the asset.
If you take safety and security matters seriously, go for hardware wallets, or cold storage wallets, like Ledger or Trezor, or even paper wallets. We strongly recommend you to do your research before creating a wallet: read the reviews to see what the community thinks, learn about the fees a particular wallet imposes for performing transactions, check out supported currencies and networks and see its security policy.
There are loads of different crypto exchange services, with new platforms emerging every month. Exchange providers differ by supported currencies, liquidity providers, fees, customer support, user interface, level of privacy and anonymity and customer support, which makes it hard for beginners to understand which one to choose. To learn more about what these exchanges offer and how you can assess them, read our guide on how to choose the best exchange platform.
To navigate them through the field full of services, we conduct research and thorough analysis of the market & list both prominent and promising exchange providers, keeping in touch with their teams 24/7. We give you all the necessary data on the offers they provide as well as their brief history, KYC/AML policies, reliability and advantages, while also indicating their downsides so that you don’t have to do that yourself.
Swapzone is an instant non-custodial cryptocurrency exchange aggregator that helps users make an informed choice when exchanging crypto assets. To make this possible, we gather the information on the exchange providers, select the parameters for comparison, aggregate and sort available deals & give an option to make a swap through providers' APIs in the same interface with a common user flow for every exchange. Still have doubts? Here's 9 reasons why you should use Swapzone to exchange crypto.
Learn how to exchange cryptocurrency with the lowest fees or zero fees as well as how to find the best crypto exchange rates and choose the safest cryptocurrency exchange provider.