Near Protocol (NEAR) is a smart contract platform that uses parallel processing to scale the network. This technique, known as sharding, is similar to what Eth2 is pursuing and Near’s proof-of-stake consensus mechanism also allows token holders to stake their coins.

In the past month, NEAR is up 107% and this raises questions as to whether the project is making significant progress in what has become an ultra-competitive smart contract industry.

NEAR / USDT (Binance). Source: TradingView

Compared to its competitors, NEAR is a relatively new project as the mainnet was only launched in April 2020. Unlike Ethereum, NEAR’s consensus mechanism works towards rate stabilization and, according to its website, the protocol is intended to accelerate the development of decentralized applications.

Interestingly, Near’s ICO happened four months after the mainnet’s launch. One possible reason for this is that the team raised $ 35 million in private funding rounds in July 2019 and May 2020. Investors include Andreessen Horowitz’s a16z Crypto Investments, Pantera Capital, Electric Capital and Ripple’s incubator Xpring.

In the past three months, Near Protocols’ network activity has increased significantly and information on the Near Blog shows that a number of exciting applications are already live.

Near Protocol daily number of transactions. Source: explorer.near.org

One of these is Berry Club, a revenue-armed app / game that allows players to draw with pixels and earn collectible tokens. Another application called Paras also allows users to interact with an NFT digital art card market.

DeFi integration speeds up

On November 24, 2020, 1inch.exchange-backed project Mooniswap unveiled their plan to build Automated Market Making (AAM) features on NEAR. The decentralized exchange aggregator is designed to roll liquidity and prices of all major DEXs into one platform.

Sergej Kunz, CEO and Co-Founder of 1inch commented: “By building on NEAR we can experiment with sharding and be prepared for the arrival of Ethereum 2.0.

On January 19, Crypto.com also plans to launch a new pool with $ 250,000 worth of NEAR tokens at 50% below the market price. Clients are required to wager CRO tokens and also meet the established trading volume requirements on the exchange.

One concern is that there are open questions about how the community fund is managed. A significant number of NEAR tokens are managed by a handful of people who don’t have to adhere to clear guidelines and rules.

CLOSE TO Twitter User Activity vs Price (USD). Source: The tie

Data from TheTie, an alternative social analytics platform, shows that the recent price spike was accompanied by increased social network activity. Nevertheless, the transfers and transactions on the Near Protocol mainnet only started three months ago.

Compared to its competitors, the NEAR protocol appears to be in an early stage of development. Effectively delivering the Mooniswap integration will likely be a major milestone for the project and if successful NEAR token could potentially see even more benefits.

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