What is NEAR protocol? - NEAR Crypto Deepdive

Despite facing competition from other blockchain platforms, NEAR continues to make ripples in the cryptoverse... but is it justified? Is there anything innovative going on at all?
by Yoaquim Boom
March 20, 2023

What is NEAR?

NEAR is a high-performing cryptocurrency network that uses a unique approach to Proof of Stake (PoS) and sharding to optimize scalability and transaction speeds.

NEAR aims to deliver high throughput of up to 100,000 transactions per second (tps) under ideal conditions, at a cost of less than $0.001 per transaction, while ensuring that its platform remains decentralized and secure.

Near Protocol is a blockchain-based platform that offers developers the tools they need to create decentralized applications (dApps).

Its main goal is to make it easy for developers to build applications that are secure, scalable, and decentralized. Near Protocol was founded in 2018 by Illia Polosukhin, Alexander Skidanov, and Evgeny Kuzyakov.

The NEAR Solution

The limitations of current Layer 1 networks and decentralized application (dApp) platforms are well-known.

The tradeoff between security, scalability, and decentralization has resulted in low throughput, high latency, and expensive transaction costs for many of these platforms.

Cloud computing solutions have failed to bridge the gap between decentralized computing and mainstream adoption. This is due to the inability of these solutions to scale, low throughput, and high cost.

The lack of a scalable and cost-effective solution to decentralized computing has left users with no other option but to rely on traditional cloud services such as AWS and Azure, which are centralized and pose various risks to data security and user privacy.


What is NEAR Nightshade?

NEAR seeks to address these challenges through the use of its novel consensus mechanism, Doomslug, and sharding framework, Nightshade.

Doomslug enables a set of block producers to create new blocks with a single round of communication per block.

Unless a block producer is found to have acted maliciously or inaccurately, in which case they are slashed, each block is considered irreversible. This allows NEAR to achieve fast block production functionality even under harsh network conditions.

Nightshade, on the other hand, is a sharding solution that optimizes scaling and performance by splitting the workload of processing transactions across many different participating nodes.

This enables NEAR to scale more efficiently since each shard only handles a fraction of the total work being done. Nightshade can scale linearly with the number of shards, giving NEAR the ability to meet the demands for mass adoption of the network and onboard billions of users.

Unlike other sharding methods, Nightshade assumes that all the shards combine together to produce a single block.

This block is produced with a regular cadence irrespective of whether each individual shard has produced its “chunk” for that specific block height.

Nightshade assigns a single validator for each block, who is also responsible for assembling the chunks provided to it during that block’s time period into the period’s block. Validator assignment is rotated through a pool of existing validators.

The NEAR platform

NEAR also offers a fully decentralized platform for building enterprise-grade applications.

The NEAR platform enables developers to create applications that are scalable, secure, and cost-effective. The platform is designed to ensure that applications built on top of it are permissionless and decentralized, enabling users to create content and deploy applications without requiring any permission from a centralized authority.

The platform also facilitates interoperability between different dApps built on the platform, enabling developers to build complex applications that leverage multiple dApps to deliver a seamless user experience.

NEAR's unique approach to PoS and sharding has positioned it as one of the most promising cryptocurrency networks in the market today.

Its focus on scalability, performance, and security, along with its decentralized platform for building enterprise-grade applications, makes it a compelling option for developers and users alike.

As the demand for decentralized computing continues to grow, NEAR is well-positioned to emerge as a leader in this space, enabling a new era of decentralized applications that are scalable, cost-effective, and secure.

Staking NEAR

You can also stake your NEAR, with the easiest way being at LiNEAR

The LiNEAR Protocol is an NEAR Protocol-based liquid staking solution.

LiNEAR increases the liquidity of staked NEAR by providing a staking derivative that can be used with multiple DeFi protocols on NEAR and Aurora, while also earning over 10% APY on the underlying base tokens.

LiNEAR is a critical component of the NEAR DeFi ecosystem. Read more on LiNEAR here.

Credits: LiNEAR Staking for Near


In conclusion, the Near Protocol is a promising blockchain platform that aims to provide a secure, scalable, and developer-friendly infrastructure for decentralized applications. Its unique consensus mechanism, called "Nightshade," allows for high transaction throughput and low latency while maintaining a high degree of decentralization.

Moreover, the protocol's focus on usability and developer experience has led to the creation of several tools and frameworks that simplify the process of building and deploying dApps.

Despite facing competition from other blockchain platforms, Near's growing ecosystem, strategic partnerships, and strong community support position it as a promising player in the blockchain space.

However, as with any emerging technology, there are risks and challenges that need to be addressed, such as regulatory uncertainty, security vulnerabilities, and adoption barriers. Overall, Near Protocol's innovative approach and continued development make it a platform to watch in the coming years.