Explain in detail the technical characteristics and development status of the popular public chain NEAR
Ethereum is undoubtedly the most used smart contract platform in the entire blockchain ecosystem. However, its scaling issues have paved the way for the development of other blockchains, all of which aim to achieve the same goal: serve the needs of the masses while remaining trustless, immutable, permissionless, transparent and censorship resistant and other characteristics.
The problem is that many platforms don’t have as many developers, users, and projects as Ethereum. Although the new public chain has potential, it is also slightly “tender”. As a result, they instead compete for a key share of the attention of blockchain players, and potential ecosystem development has been delayed due to the lack of key interoperability technologies.
Of course, these problems are not unsolvable, and NEAR provides a new idea. The following will mainly take you to understand the evolution of the NEAR protocol and its main features.
The public mainnet of NEAR was launched in October 2020 and was created by Illia Polosukhin and Alexander Skidanov, two engineers who entered the cryptocurrency space in 2017-2018.
Illia has extensive expertise in deep learning and language understanding research, which is related to his previous role as a technical manager at Google. Alexander previously served as engineering director at Microsoft and MemSQL, specializing in non-blockchain sharded databases and other knowledge.
In late 2017 and early 2018, the team worked on programmable smart contract systems and cryptocurrency payments. They then found that the existing state of the technology could not meet their goals and started designing their own. In August 2018, Illia and Alex formed a team of engineers to create the NEAR protocol.
As the team said before: “We formed a dream team of developers: 3 ICPC gold medalists (Mikhail is a 2-time world champion), 3 early MemSQL (building sharding for distributed databases), 4 Xooglers (building distributed systems at scale).”
Cooperation and investment partners
NEAR’s industry performance in the technology sector has attracted investors such as a16z. In March 2020, NEAR raised $21 million in financing led by a16z. After turning to cryptocurrencies, their widely circulated white paper series showcases their in-depth understanding of blockchain scalability and sharding, including the strengths and weaknesses of Ethereum 2.0 and Polkadot methodologies. In addition to a16z, the investors also include the founders of Ethereum projects such as Libertus, Blockchange, and Animal Ventures. Other investors are as follows:
In order to differentiate itself from other smart contracts, the NEAR protocol highlights the developer-friendly features as much as possible .
The platform seeks to provide a scalable, trustless blockchain through sharding in a shared secure environment. Once sharding is enabled on NEAR, the network expects to periodically change the number of shards supported based on user demand. The project calls this demand-based scaling strategy “dynamic resharding” because it enables the network to pay for only the infrastructure and scalability it needs at any given moment. Dynamic resharding may be a more cost-effective way to expand and secure a sharded network, as nodes’ storage requirements may change based on demand.
The platform claims that its usage is limited to 100,000 TPS when used with a block creation mechanism called Doomslug. According to the authors, it allows the network to achieve a certain level of practical finality (actually irreversible) after a single round of communication, and implement BFT using decomposed components after a second round of communication. In Doomslug, practical finality (or Doomslug finality) refers to the irreversible state of a block until at least one participant is blocked. Additionally, Doomslug will allow the network to continue creating and validating blocks as long as more than half of the validators are online and honest, while the end mechanism will abort if less than two-thirds of the participants are online.
NEAR built its own variant of PoS: a method called Thresholded Proof-of-Stake (TPOS), which supports block times of 1 second and irreversibility of 2 to 3 seconds without a built-in delegation mechanism trade. The name of the NEAR consensus mechanism is Nightshade, and the system is modeled as a single blockchain. The transaction list for each block is divided into physical parts, one for each shard. All parts combine to form a block. It is important to emphasize that data blocks can only be verified by nodes that manage the state of the shard.
Each logical block should theoretically contain all transactions for all shards. However, due to the prohibitive cost of broadcasting a logical block across the network, it was never initiated. Instead, each network member retains the state of the shards on which they validate transactions and additional shards they selectively monitor.
Once a miner creates a block, it collects the signatures of validator nodes. Therefore, the weight of a block is equal to the total stake of all signers included in the block. The weight of a chain is equal to the sum of its block weights. Additionally, consensus utilizes an irreversible device that adds additional slicing conditions to improve chain security.
NEAR’s inflationary block reward is locked at 5% of APY. Since payouts are proportional to staking, there is no advantage to centrally staking tokens in TPOS. In theory, this could enhance the decentralization of the network by removing incentives for the repository. There are up to 100 “locations” per shard for validators to use. The cost of purchasing a position is proportional to the entire amount of NEAR staked, and validators and participants can continuously unstake.
Each shard is secured by a subset of validator nodes, which broadcast the current state of the shard as part of each new block.
NEAR actively encourages interoperability, most notably the ETH-NEAR “rainbow bridge”. The bridge consists of an Ethereum light client NEAR contract written in Rust, and an Ethereum light client Ethereum contract written in Solidity.
The promise of fully trustless transactions across two chains is quite attractive. However, there are also certain restrictions on irreversibility. As NEAR notes, “ETH->NEAR interaction latency is equal to the rate at which X Ethereum blocks are generated, which is about 6 minutes for 25 blocks.” The latency between NEAR and ETH is now 4 hours, but with EIP After -665 it will be reduced to around 14 seconds. “
Four hours is not long, but EIP-665 (Ethereum Improvement Program) will significantly improve this problem.
But for some applications, a 4 hour delay is too long, and third parties can ease the friction by allowing faster withdrawals to the ETH chain.
Rainbow Bridge has been released in the first half of April 2021: the entire team has spent a lot of time implementing the details and perfecting the corners and corners to make the technology more secure. With the establishment of The Rainbow Bridge, NEAR became a low-cost, scalable alternative to many projects on the Ethereum Layer 2 platform.
NEAR describes several components of on-chain governance: the white paper expresses reservations about over-reliance on on-chain governance methods, stating that “subject to the requirement to precisely specify each case, the lack of ‘human common sense’ in certain decisions may There are problems, so they are vulnerable to certain attacks, whereas the off-chain decision-making process is not.”
Due to the lack of clear specifications, NEAR’s governance mechanisms appear to be relatively immature. Currently, only validators have the ability to vote on proposals. Their support paves the way for NEAR’s unrestricted mainnet deployment.
The governance of the network is open to the community, any individual or organization can submit improvement suggestions or leave comments, and governance-related discussions can be found in the NEAR forum.
Typically, proposals go through a draft phase, during which they are subject to community comment and review. The NEAR development team will incorporate modifications if the proposal receives sufficient support. The proposed implementation date will be determined by the criticality of the changes (eg, a fix for a critical bug will be implemented immediately). Validators will eventually decide whether to accept the new protocol version by implementing the latest client version.
Ecosystem and Use Cases
Aurora is an Ethereum L2 protocol that emulates the Ethereum experience for developers and consumers on top of the NEAR protocol. Aurora integrates two different technologies to provide a seamless experience: a fully functional EVM and a powerful cross-chain bridge. Developers can connect Ethereum decentralized applications (dApps) to other Ethereum contracts and assets and deploy on Aurora in minutes. Ethereum’s transaction costs have reached record highs due to increased network activity across the globe.
Aurora is constantly reining in gas fee increases, even making the average transaction cost a few cents. Aurora enables developers to reuse existing Solidity and Vyper contracts, while consumers can smoothly access these applications through MetaMask and other Ethereum wallets. At the same time, Ethereum ERC-20 tokens and contract data will be transferred to Aurora via the trustless Aurora Bridge (based on the Rainbow Bridge). Aurora redefines what’s possible in the Ethereum ecosystem with its low transaction costs, best-in-class transaction finality, and scalability, while also expanding NEAR’s ecosystem by incorporating every EVM-based application.
Thanks to the introduction of the Rainbow Bridge, DeFi is now live on NEAR and is open to all users around the world, making any information cryptographically verifiable on NEAR available in Ethereum contracts and vice versa. All Ethereum-based assets, whose combined value is currently in the tens of billions of dollars, are now functional in the NEAR application. Here are the two main cases:
Flux is NEAR’s native DApp, a secure exchange that rewards validators for their work (including fees for open contracts). Using Flux, stakeholders can collaborate to create a decentralized, user-friendly and scalable ecosystem. Flux’s decentralized prediction market uses derivatives to price the likelihood of events. At the moment, it is unclear what oracle technology Flux will use to predict market outcomes.
Developers can use Flux to build marketplaces on commodities, real-world events, or anything else.
It is the first cross-chain oracle to provide economically protected data price feeds on the blockchain. Flux announced its connection to Aurora shortly after its upcoming debut, which will help the ecosystem’s DeFi expansion.
Flux announced its partnership with Aurora shortly after NEAR’s debut to assist in the DeFi expansion of the ecosystem.
At press time, Near DeFi’s TVL is around $150 million.
Mintbase — NFT marketplace
NFT is a digital product on the NEAR blockchain, creators can receive reminder messages during the transaction process, and each transaction can get subsidies. Mintbase is a broad NFT marketplace that focuses more on the entire NFT space rather than a specific niche such as gaming or art. Mintbase started on Ethereum and just recently received $1 million to expand to NEAR.
In addition , NEAR site on also mentioned, there are currently more than know the name of the Ethernet Square DeFi DAPP is NEAR deploy, develop , including AAVE, Maker, Chainlink and Balancer. Chainlink and Balancer are currently the fastest in development, Chainlink oracles are now running on NEAR, and Balancer has provided integration licenses to speed deployment.
NEAR is the protocol’s native token and unit of account. Its main functions include:
Security purpose: Staking users are rewarded by staking tokens and help ensure network security. NEAR uses a PoS mechanism that protects Sybil from DDoS attacks.
Network fees: The network stores application data and allows changes to be made by publishing transactions. The network charges transaction fees to update this data. The NEAR network collects and burns these fees: so as usage increases, more tokens will also be burnt. Developers get a small share of the cost of smart contract usage, and early application development effectively increases network consumption. When a contract is invoked, one percent of the network transaction cost belongs to the contract. System-level parameters set the minimum value from which the developer chooses.
Token release :
- Community Grants and Programs: Token distribution for 60 months.
- Each core team member has a 4-year lock-in period, which will be gradually released in 12 months after the lock-up period.
- Early Backers: Each Early Backer has a lock-in period of 12 to 36 months, with most being 24 months.
- The community auction will be held in different sessions in August 2020. In total, over 120 million tokens were sold during the period. Of these, 25 million tokens have been released and the rest are linearly locked for 12 or 24 months.
- Early-stage ecosystem: The lock-up period is usually between 6 and 12 months, but some are shorter or longer.
- Foundation Donation: This donation is divided into two parts. The first part is unlocked and will be used to ensure the successful operation of the first phase of the network, and the second part is locked for 24 months.
- Working capital: Grants will be issued in the second half of 2020 and early 2021, and this part of the token needs to have a linear lock-up period of 60 months.
The NEAR protocol was launched on the mainnet on April 22, 2020, with a genesis block of 1 billion NEAR. Each year, 5% of the new supply is given as epoch rewards to keep the network going, with a total circulating supply of 60 million tokens, 90% of which is allocated to validators (4.5% total) and 10% to Protocol library (0.5% total).
When evaluating a new platform entering the crypto space, it is necessary to assess the potential risks and limitations.
Each NEAR block is composed of these fragments, in contrast to the “beacon chain” strategy, in which a main chain (like the relay chain in Polkadot) secures a single sharded blockchain . This block method has a significant advantage: validators do not need to download the state of the entire blockchain. This minimizes hardware requirements for nodes, simplifies the development of light clients, and facilitates the decentralization of the network.
This theoretically helps simplify the creation of mobile-friendly clients, a goal of NEAR. Currently, NEAR has only one shard, but is preparing more shards to accommodate the growing demand. This will put NEAR to the ultimate test, as cross-shard communication is one of the biggest challenges in maintaining a sharded blockchain.
Users engage in proposals and governance debates on NEAR’s Community Council. In this regard, NEAR appears to be replicating Ethereum’s social off-chain layer. It will be interesting to see if the community can add more to these governance skeletons in the future; but for now, everything seems to be on the way and not well defined.
From 2021, value and data will start to flow freely in the cryptocurrency ecosystem. How will consumers use the bridge, and what kind of congestion will they experience? While the solution is not yet obvious, widespread adoption will certainly expose the difficulties of interoperability to users.
Overall, there are fewer projects in the NEAR ecosystem. To gain traction in 2022, it needs to attract more DApps and developers, or risk becoming a blockchain ghost town. makes this unlikely to happen. The attractiveness of the ecosystem to consumers and developers is critical.
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