The NEAR Foundation’s recently launched NEAR Horizon accelerator program has helped strengthen Web3 founders throughout the second quarter of the year. The program functions as a marketplace, bringing together founders and mentors, service providers, and investors while providing founders with tools and credits for crucial areas like marketing, law, and infrastructure. With strategic partnerships with Dragonfly, Pantera, and Fabric Ventures, NEAR Horizon contributes to the growth of Web3 startups and the development of a decentralized ecosystem.
In Q2 2023, NEAR experienced a decline in Total Value Locked (TVL) due to Alameda’s liquidity withdrawal and the closing of DeFi positions. However, the impact of the SEC’s claim that NEAR was security had minimal effect on TVL.
Despite the decline, leading protocols such as Burrow, Ref Finance, Orderly Network, Aurora Plus, and Bastion maintained their positions. Ref Finance and Bastion were most affected by Alameda’s withdrawal, while Burrow and Orderly Network saw significant increases in TVL.
DEXs and Perps
DEXs Ref Finance and Orderly Network accounted for the majority of DEX volume on the NEAR network, with Veax also launching on the mainnet. Spin, the first perpetual futures protocol on NEAR, demonstrated continued growth, and Derivio, a derivatives platform, launched its testnet with unique risk management strategies. These developments contribute to the expansion and innovation of the NEAR ecosystem.
NEAR’s liquid staking protocols remained stable during Q2, with LiNEAR introducing Automatic Validator Selection Optimization for optimizing yield and network security. Meta Pool extended its operations to Aurora, with plans to expand to Ethereum, while Stader also played a significant role in the liquid staking ecosystem.
Stablecoin market cap in Q2 reached $112 million, with bridged-USDC leading the market. The winding-down of USN and native USDT also held significant market caps, contributing to the financial stability of the NEAR network.
NFTs and Gaming
NFT activity in the NEAR ecosystem declined during Q2, but marketplaces like Paras Marketplace, Few and Far, and TradePort maintained their leadership positions. Partnerships with companies such as Tekuno, Rove World V2, Shemaroo, Taco Labs, Knaq, and Skoda Ventures enhanced the NFT experiences within the NEAR ecosystem. In the gaming sector, playEmber and Land to Empire held their leadership positions, while partnerships with PipeFlare, ARterra, MARBLEX, and Vortex Gaming leveraged NEAR’s scalability and Blockchain Operating System (BOS) for gaming endeavours.
Through the introduction of community DAOs, the NEAR Foundation has actively worked toward a more decentralized model of capital allocation. These DAOs allow the community to have a greater say over how money is allocated for NEAR-related projects.
Additionally, the NEAR Digital Collective (NDC) acts as the NEAR ecosystem’s governing body and provides network members with the opportunity to influence policy. The community treasury, which currently has a balance of $5.7 million, supports grassroots projects and is essential to the development of the NEAR ecosystem.
Aurora, Octopus Network, and the Rainbow Bridge
Aurora, an Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) developed by NEAR core developers, provides Web2 companies access to Web3 infrastructure. Aurora Cloud, including Borealis Business, Aurora Pass, and Aurora Silos, offers blockchain capabilities to applications
In order to further decentralize the network and increase inter-blockchain communication, Octopus Network, a network of Substrate-based, EVM-compatible app chains built on NEAR, proposes to do so. Interoperability between Ethereum, NEAR, and Aurora is ensured by the Rainbow Bridge, including the Fast Rainbow Bridge, allowing for quick token transfers and an enhanced user experience.
NEAR’s consensus algorithm, Thresholded Proof of Stake (PoS), relies on block producers, chunk-only producers, and hidden validators to validate transactions. Validators earn rewards through a fixed reward rate and storage staking. The percentage of NEAR supply staked increased during Q2, reaching 47% of the total supply.
NEAR has made significant progress in driving adoption and attracting users to the NEAR Protocol and the Blockchain Operating System (BOS). The increase in revenue in Q2 was a result of the NEAR Horizon accelerator program, strategic alliances, and grassroots activities. NEAR is well-positioned for continued growth in the developing Web3 ecosystem through its dedication to a decentralized method of capital allocation and the creation of community DAOs.