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What is Near Protocol? All about NEAR Coin

What is Near Protocol? What is NEAR Coin? Find out all the outstanding features of Near Protocol & details about NEAR Coin right here!
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8 min read
Published Aug 18 2021
Updated Apr 11 2024
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What is Near Protocol?

NEAR is a blockchain platform allowing developers and entrepreneurs to build applications and secure high-value assets such as money or identity, etc., while making them friendly and usable enough for consumers to access.


In doing so, NEAR is creating the only community-run cloud strong enough to extend the reach of Open Finance and power the future of the Open Web. Using shards and Public PoS mechanism, developers are able to write smart contracts and deploy them using very similar processes to how applications are deployed to centralized clouds.

How does Near work?

The Near Platform: Is made up of the cloud of community-operated nodes. Developers can permissionlessly deploy smart contracts to this cloud and users can permissionlessly use the applications they power. Applications, which are varied from games to digital currencies, can store their state (data) securely on the platform.

The Near token: Is the native asset of the Near Ecosystem. Its functionality is enabled for all accounts. Detailed token use cases can be found below.

Other digital assets: Since the platform's ultimate goal is to secure high-value assets such as money, identity or personal data, etc., the platform is designed to easily store unique digital assets, which may include:

Other Tokens: Tokens bridged from other chains or created on top of the Near platform can be easily stored and transferred. This allows those kinds of tokens to be used as payment assets for goods and services.
NFTs: Similar to tokens, Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) can be stored and moved using the platform. NFT is the technology that has driven the development of NFT projects across the Near ecosystem.

The Near Development Suite: A set of tools is being created to leverage the platform usage for developers and end-users. These tools include:

NEAR SDKs: A full SDK that includes standard data structures, examples, and testing tools for Rust and AssemblyScript developers.
Gitpod for NEAR: An online Integrated Development Environment (IDE), which NEAR customized to allow developers to quickly write, test and deploy smart contracts from a web browser.
NEAR Wallet: It will eventually include built-in functionality to easily enable participation by holders in staking and governance processes on the network.
NEAR Explorer: This is a tool that allows users to extract data from the blockchain as well as check transactions on non-custodial wallets.
NEAR Command Line Tools: A set of straightforward command-line tools to allow developers to create, test and deploy applications from their local environments.

Why is Near unique?


End-User Usability: Near allows a familiar web experience for their users, removes the demand for users to learn blockchain concepts.

Developer Usability: Near has a number of supports for developers, allowing them to learn, develop, test, and deploy their applications easily:

Familiar Languages: Near supports contracts written in Rust and AssemblyScript. In the future, more common programming languages will be added, so developers have no need to learn an entirely new language to build applications.
Robust Tooling: NEAR’s development suite is created to support the developer workflow with a unified set of tools so developers can easily build, test and deploy applications.


NEAR uses a sharding approach which allows the network to increase its capacity, throughput, and finality as additional nodes participate. This is done by dynamically splitting the network nodes into multiple shards, and eventually, each validator will process a certain amount of shards only. With this approach, the network can scale continuously as demand increases.


Thresholded Proof of Stake: In order to ensure validators run correctly, validators are required to stake NEAR tokens, which guarantee their results. If these results are found to be inaccurate, the stakers will lose their tokens.

The threshold is set at the lowest level possible to allow more nodes to participate and give the protocol more scalability.

What is Near Coin?

Near coin is the native asset of the Near Ecosystem. Its functionality is enabled for all accounts. Detailed token use cases could be found below.

Detailed information about Near coin

Key Metrics NEAR 

Token name: Near.
Ticker: Near.
Blockchain: NEAR Protocol.
Token Standard: NEP-141, ERC-20.
Contract: 0x85F17Cf997934a597031b2E18a9aB6ebD4B9f6a4 (ERC-20)
Token use cases: Utility, Governance.
Circulating Supply 473,222,631.
Total Supply 1,000,000,000.
Max Supply 1,000,000,000.

NEAR Token Allocation

near token allocation
NEAR Token Allocation

NEAR Token Release Schedule

near token release schedule
NEAR Token Release Schedule
Community Grants and Programs: Those tokens are released over 60 months.
Core Team: Each core team member has a 4-year lockup with a 12-month cliff after launch.
Prior Backers: Each backer has a lockup of between 12 and 36 months, with the majority of 24 months.
Community sale: The Community Sale occurred in August 2020 in multiple portions which the details are going to be provided below. The total amount that ended up being distributed during the sale period was over 120M tokens. 25M of these tokens were unlocked, and the remainder is subject to 12 or 24-month linear lockups.
Early Ecosystem: Lockups are typically 6 or 12 months, though a handful of them have been shorter or longer.
Foundation Endowment: This endowment is split into 2 pieces. The first half, which is not locked up, will be deployed to help ensure the network operates smoothly during its early phases. The second half is subject to a 24-month linear lockup since it is not expected to be accessed during the early days.
Operations Grants: these grants are expected to be first initiated during the second half of 2020 and early 2021. The tokens set aside for this purpose are subject to long-term 60-month linear lockups.

NEAR Token Sale

Prior Fundraising: NEAR raised from backers in multiple portions, which are explained below:

near fundraising

Community Sale: The Community Sale occurred in August 2020 in multiple portions, at different sale prices. 25M of these tokens were unlocked and the remainder of 95M is subject to 12- or 24-month linear lockups.

near community sale

NEAR Token Use Cases

NEAR coin is the fundamental native asset of the NEAR ecosystem and its functionality includes:


Pay the system for processing transactions and storing data.
Run a validating node as part of the network by participating in the staking process.
Used to participate in activities in the DeFi space (Farming, Staking,...).

Governance: Help determine how network resources are allocated and where its future technical direction will go by participating in governance processes.

How to store Near Tokens 

Using Coin98 Wallet

You can store, send, receive Near coin on Coin98 Wallet with a few single steps. The guides on how to make transactions with Near on Coin98 Wallet are as follows:

Step 1: Open Coin98 Wallet & click Receive on the home screen.

Step 2: Search Near.

Step 3: Click on the appropriate chain (ERC20, BEP20 or NEAR), copy the wallet address and send NEAR to this address.

how to store near coin
How to store NEAR coin on Coin98 Wallet

Using Near Wallet

Traders also can store, send, receive NEAR coin on Near wallets with a few single steps. The guides on how to make transactions with Near tokens on Near Wallet are as follows:

Step 1: Open Near wallet and click Receive.

Step 2: Send Near coin to the Near wallet address/Account ID.

near wallet store
How to store NEAR coin on NEAR Wallet

How to buy Near Tokens

You can use Coin98 Exchange to swap other tokens for NEAR coin. Besides Coin98 Exchange, users can also trade NEAR tokens on other exchanges, such as Binance,

Roadmap & Updates

The team has not revealed any details about its future roadmap. Only its mainnet was introduced and completed. Stay with Coin98 Insights for further news about the project.

near mainnet

Currently, NEAR is launching phase 0 of Simple Nightshade - its roadmap towards a fully sharded blockchain. Below is the detailed plan:

Phase 0: Simple Nightshade - the team plans to launch phase 0 in November 2021.
Phase 1: Chunk-Only Producers – the team expects to deliver phase 1 in January 2022.
Phase 2: Nightshade – Increasing the Accessibility for Validators - the team expects to deliver phase 2 in Q3 2022.
Phase 3: Dynamic Resharding - the team expects to deliver phase 3 in Q4 2022.

For more details, please check out the protocol development roadmap.

Team, Investors, and Strategic partners


Erik Trautman - the CEO of NEAR Foundation: Erik is an entrepreneur who started 5 years on Wall Street in 2007 and left to create an open-source community. He led Viking Education as CEO until its acquisition in 2017.
Illia Polosukhin: Illia has more than 10 years of industry experience, including 3 years at Google as Engineering Manager in 2014. Currently, he has been working with Near Protocol as a co-founder since 2017.
Alexander Skidanov (Co-founder): Alex joined Microsoft in 2009 as a software developer and then joined MemSQL in 2011, where he worked for five years as a Senior Software Developer and Director of Engineering. Since June 2017, he has been working as the co-founder of Near Protocol along with Ilia Polosukhin.

The team has roughly 200 contributors in total and most of them are equipped with many years of experience and used to work for giant technology companies such as Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Consensys, etc.,


near backers

Strategic partners

Aurora: an Ethereum Virtual Machine created by the team at the NEAR Protocol
Crust Network: is essentially an IPFS incentive layer protocol and a substrate-based blockchain that builds a decentralized storage network of Web3.0 ecosystem.
Octopus Network: a sidechain network to host Web3.0 application-specific blockchains, aka appchains, around NEAR protocol.
The Graph: an indexing protocol for querying networks like Ethereum and IPFS. Anyone can build and publish open APIs, called subgraphs, making data easily accessible.
Coin98 Wallet: Coin98 Wallet is the #1 non-custodial, multi-chain wallet and DeFi gateway, designed to seamlessly connect users to the crypto world in a safe and secure manner.

Is Near a good investment?

Even though the project has sped up substantially in the past several months, as of today, the number of projects built on it is still humble compared to other chains such as Solana (423 projects in all categories), Ethereum (220 DeFi projects), BSC (241 DeFi projects), etc. Near, therefore, is rich for further developments.

In total, Near is having 138 projects in all categories, 54 Dapps include 19 DeFi projects, 20 NFTs and Gaming projects, and 8 DAO projects. DeFi projects recently have moved pretty fast with notable ones such as Ref Finance, OIN Finance, Flux Protocol, Metapool, etc.

near ecosystem projects on near

Near’s DeFi Stack is in demand for critical project creation. Currently, there is only one AMM DEX project - Ref Finance - built on it. OIN Finance - a lending/ borrowing project has just started; and Metapool - a liquid staking protocol in this week has announced its partnership with Ref Finance and OIN Finance to issue stUSD - the first stablecoin. Obviously, the whole ecosystem is accelerating. Near fans can consider doing further research and seek its hidden gems.

It also seems that Near’s current focus is on NFTs and Gaming projects. The number of NFTs and Gaming projects is beyond the number of DeFi’s projects, and dominant in the Ecosystem. There is still a doubt that whether Near will keep focusing on this lego however, Near fans can “skin-in-the-game” and hopefully projects will award airdrops or other kinds of retroactive. Some notable projects include Paras (NFTs), Cheddar Farm (NFTs), Shroom Kingdom (play-to-earn video game), etc.

Near has almost completed its infrastructure and is switching to Phase 0 of Simple Nightshade - a step towards a fully sharded blockchain. In this phase, Near aims to increase the throughput of the Network by splitting the current state into four shards. The team plans to launch phase 0 in November 2021.