NEAR Protocol brings together the mobile-first nature of the modern world, industry proven sharding design and priority on end user and developer experiences. By connecting millions of mobile devices into the network and using a new way of selecting witnesses to run consensus (named ”Thresholded Proof of Stake”), NEAR enables a much more decentralized blockchain.
The protocol, which shards both the state of the network and the processing of the transactions, scales capacity linearly with the number of nodes and provides a future-proof platform for decentralized applications. Even though there are early adopters currently building decentralized applications on other protocols, it’s a very small community.
NEAR’s go-to-market strategy is to go after developers who are not currently building these applications and who may not even be aware of the potential of blockchain platforms by directly addressing the pain points of current platforms: 1. Business models. Large corporations are monopolizing the market and limiting the business models of new entrants. 2. Platform risk. Twitter and Facebook have closed their platform before. Google Cloud and AWS have declined service or rolled out competing products. Other platforms have been acquired by large corporations and shut down. 3. The liability of data. Regulations like GDPR and the ongoing threat of hacks make custody of customer and user data into a liability. 4. Scaling and availability. Many platforms offer services to scale up applications, but they are still complex in configuration and not transparent in usage.
Historically, the most successful developer platforms have also offered a channel to connect with end users. Current blockchain solutions are very limited in their ability to offer user acquisition channels because they don’t run natively where the users spend their time. NEAR Protocol, by virtue of running natively on the mo
A future-proof protocol must shard both state and processing. With significant adoption of the platform, no single machine would be capable of storing all the information on the chain (let alone the entire history) or verifying all of the transactions. A lot of recent sharding research in the blockchain community separates transactions into intrashard and cross-shard categories, optimizing for the former and providing a much slower solution for the latter. The NEAR Protocol assumes that transactions will touch multiple shards by default, which is the likely behavior for arbitrary smart contracts. The NEAR Protocol uses an approach similar to Map Reduce by effectively executing transactions as a sequence of map/shuffle steps, maps are processed in parallel on many nodes, and shuffle steps are moving transaction between shards. For example, a smart contract that processes a large number of payments would first debit all of the accounts in a single parallel map step, then shuffle the information about credits that need to be applied across the network, and finally apply all the credits in another map step. Performing effective atomic cross-shard transactions via map, shuffle and reduce operations has been a well-researched topic in the database community, though it has very few actual implementations due to high engineering complexity. MemSQL continuously delivers thousands of atomic cross-shard transactions with shuffles per aggregator node in a production environment. Having three early core MemSQL engineers in the team uniquely positions NEAR to build a practical implementation of atomic cross-shard map reduce transactions at scale
Attention. There is a risk that unverified members are not actually members of the team
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