NEAR VISION #3: Why are scalable blockchains like NEAR necessary?

NEAR insights
3 min readJul 6, 2021

In this episode, we will dive in NEAR Brief history and find out why are scalable blockchains like NEAR are necessary.

NEAR VISION #4 will be on @insight_near tomorrow. Stay tune.

NEAR Brief history

NEAR started in summer of 2018 upon Alex Skidanov and Illia Polosukhin deciding to pivot away from their previous entrepreneurial adventure. Very quickly, as Misha quit MemSQL, the team expanded from several to 9 people within 3 days in August. Initial team consisted of 7 engineers, Erik doing business operations, and Sasha talking to the market.

Today NEAR Collective is the globally distributed group of teams, made up of many individual organizations and contributors, who self-organize in order to bring this technology to life. It is not a business or anything nearly so formal. Think of it instead like the groups of people who run large open-source software projects.

One of the Collective’s projects is writing the initial code and the reference implementation for the open source NEAR network, sort of like building the rocket boosters on the space shuttle. Their job is to do the necessary R&D work to help the blockchain get into orbit. The code for that chain is open source so literally anyone can contribute to or run it.

It’s important to stress that networks like NEAR are designed to be totally decentralized. This means they ultimately operate completely on their own and can’t actually be censored, shut down or otherwise messed with by third parties… not even the teams who initially built them! So, while members of this collective are here to get the ball rolling on building the reference implementation, they quickly become nonessential to the operation of the network once it has started running. In fact, once it’s launch-ready, anyone could modify and run the NEAR Protocol code to start up their own blockchain because it’s all open source and any changes would have to be democratically accepted by the independent validators who run it.

Why are scalable blockchains like NEAR necessary?

Hint: It’s not all about speed!

When it comes to second and third gen blockchains, what truly determines its innate value is the dapp ecosystem that thrives on top of it. As such, most of these blockchain platforms are in a perpetual competition to attract as many developers as possible.

However, the problem with the current platforms is that they don’t have the sophistication required to host high quality apps. The issue here is that we have developers trying to create PS4 games on a platform that’s equivalent to Windows 98. As such, they need to heavily compromise on the overall functionality of their dApps.

Plus, there is another factor that should be considered here. Speed is a vital factor when it comes to application usability. After all, why are users going to use an application if it’s not usable at all? Developers require a set number of users to continually use their applications before it reaches critical mass.

This is why a blockchain platform that’s scalable like NEAR is important for the mainstream adoption of blockchain and smart contracts.

NEAR allows developers to just deploy their app without thinking too much about how the infrastructure around it operates or scales, which is more like the modern clouds like Amazon AWS or GCP or Azure which drive almost all of today’s web applications.



NEAR insights

Insights, news and information on NEAR Ecosystem, focusing on NEAR Protocol’s Technology