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NEAR Protocol

Last Updated: January 30, 2024

NEAR is a layer 1, decentralized proof-of-stake blockchain that relies on a consensus protocol called Nightshade.
Nightshade allows NEAR to operate at about 100,000 transactions per second, and process a block a second with low transaction fees. The native token for the protocol shares the same name.


llia Polosukhin and Alexander Skidanov started in early 2017. They explored programmable smart contract platforms and crypto payments in later that year and realized that they wanted to design a blockchain that would better fit their needs. In August 2018, the NEAR Protocol started to be built with the goal of offering developers a scalable way to build decentralized applications using the Proof-of-Stake mechanism.


The NEAR mainnet went live on April 22, 2020 with its NEAR token subsequently launching on October 13, 2020.

How does it work?

NEAR combines a horizontal scaling approach with a new consensus mechanism that splits the network into parallel shards and dynamically distributes the computation to increase the network’s processing capacity. Individual nodes focus on validating these smaller blocks simultaneously rather than the whole blockchain at once. 

The NEAR token is used to incentivize validators, and it’s also the coin used to process transactions and power smart contracts. Near is building support for the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), which allows developers to deploy their Ethereum-based decentralized finance protocols on Near without having to change much of the code.

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