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In only two years since its launch, the NEAR protocol arguably became one of the fiercest Ethereum, Solana, and Avalanche rivals. It’s no wonder that venture capital and hedge funds are pouring in support into this potent ecosystem. Impressively, more than $500,000 was raised to support the development of all the great things that are already being built on the NEAR protocol.
NEARCON conference, held in the beautiful city of Fado music and colorful buildings, Lisbon, celebrated the increasing interest in the ecosystem and all of the major building initiatives on the NEAR protocol. Here’s an overview of what has been happening during this 3-day conference in Portugal.
Day One: The Grand Opening, Partnerships, Networking & NFT Hunt
The first day of the NEARCON conference was all about the overview of the foundation, presenting the first-ever transparency report, and major ecosystem announcements.
Compared to somewhere around 700 attendees of the first NEARCON conference, the second one was a total blast. According to estimates, almost 3,000 visitors from 176 countries enjoyed the amusing showcase of the ecosystem, engaging talks with some of the notable names such as Sheila Warren, Brandon Eiche, James Tromans, and Yat Siu, the most delicious flavors of the world, as well as spectacular parties.
After the relaxing opening party, Jack Collier and David Morrison, NEAR Foundation officials, held an opening speech and announced an NFT hunt which just added some more zest to this already amazing event.
Aside from that, the conference was an excellent networking opportunity and several major partnerships with Pantera Capital and Caerus Ventures, as well as the launch of Coinbase Earn were announced!
During her speech, Marieke Frament, NEAR Foundation CEO, explained major initiatives and plans for the future that involve raising awareness of NEAR, simplifying decentralized governance, and providing financial support for the development of projects.
“Our goal with NEAR is to build things that developers, creators, and everyone else will find helpful and useful“, said Ilia Polusukhin, co-founder of NEAR Protocol.
Day 2: Building, Side Events, the Future of Web3
The second day of the conference was all about projects and products, aside from the financial ones, that are being built on the NEAR ecosystem – DeFi, DAOs, and NFTs included. Web3 talks were pretty lively and various side events brought up different related topics. Challenges and solutions regarding building tools and infrastructure as well as onboarding new users were some of the most debated questions.
Richard Muirhead, CEE in Fabric Ventures, shared his view on the above-mentioned challenges. He noted that fundamentally innovative breakthrough ideas, things that go beyond casino-like DeFi, would definitely keep new people coming to the Web3 space and make it more mainstream.
Bae Kim from Hashed spoke on the matter from his perspective. He gladly shared the journey of building games and apps on NEAR in their studios. His team was starstruck by the immense capabilities of the NEAR technologies and also noted that they think NEAR would get way ahead of many other chains in the near future.
Moving forward, other talks during the second day of the conference clearly showed that other industries aside from gaming, such as social networking, sci-fi writing, and professional sports just to name a few have serious intentions about building on NEAR as well.
Day 3: Cryptocurrency Discussions, Payment Solutions & Closing Party
The last day of the conference was, just like the other two, filled with excitement and good vibes. Everyone from entrepreneurs, investors, developers, to creators gathered around the idea of putting an effort into a meaningful and impactful building on the NEAR protocol was just blown away by major announcements, constructive discussions, and things planned for the future.
Some of the hot updates included the NearPay announcement about the upcoming launch of physical debit cards and the team up of Switchboard and NEAR on building tools and data for developers.
By launching a physical debit card, NearPay, the bridge between crypto and fiat, has taken another step to make cryptocurrency payments mainstream and hassle-free. NearPay had already launched a virtual card used in the UK and in the EU while they also have plans on expanding into other markets, Asia and the US, in the coming 12 months.
Kirill Artyunov, CTO of NearPay, mentioned that he was pleasantly surprised by the number of the conference attendees that were already using NearPay and their digital card for payments.
Ivan Ilin, Chief operating officer at NearPay, speaking
"There is no denying the importance of NEARCON for the NEAR ecosystem and for the future of the decentralized internet as a whole. We are proud to be a part of this, bridging the worlds of crypto and fiat for the NEAR community and all crypto users," Yaroslav Reznichenko, Tech Lead at NearPay, said.
Other crypto topics were touched upon on the last day of the conference, including mass adoption, crypto banking centralization, and payments.
Elena Shiltseva, the CPO of Roketo Business, made a great point during the “Crypto Native vs FinTechs for the Future of Payments” discussion.
“Numerous Web2 businesses want to tap into the Web3 world. However, managing your financials in a secure and convenient way seems to be the biggest challenge. Manual payouts are not only tedious, one can not be 100% safe from sending money to wrong wallet or losing private keys. Roketo recently released an alpha version for DAOs in Web3 businesses that should finally provide a smooth and safe payment experience and an even smoother transition from Web2 to Web3.”
Editor’s note: the project has already started onboarding early birds for their upcoming beta.
Elena Shiltseva, the CPO of Roketo Business, speaking
During one of the last talks, Illia Polosukhin dived deeper into the NEAR’s history and the future as well and introduced NDC (NEAR Digital Collective), a community-led project that promotes DeFi governance.
Marieke Flament and Polosukhin wrapped up the NEARCON 2022 conference, female role models were handed Women in Web3 Changemakers awards, and the winners of the NEARCON 2022 Hackathon were chosen at the very end of the conference.
Olga Isaeva, CBDO at Roketo commented:
“It was exciting to meet several investors from Web2 sector who saw great potential in Web3 and were eager to explore new technologies. Web3 is on the cusp of something big, and more and more users, developers, and investors are jumping on board.“
The second NEARCON conference was absolutely jam-packed and the atmosphere was bustling from start to finish of the first day. The conference really made an unforgettable impression on everyone who attended and, once again, proved that it is possible to create without limits and build beyond the hype.
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