Near Protocol, a San Francisco-based platform for developing decentralized applications, has raised $12.1 million in venture capital.
Hedge Fund Metastable Capital and venture firm Accomplice led the oversubscribed round.
Near is developing, but hasn’t yet launched, the NEAR Protocol, a “sharded,” proof-of-stake blockchain. The protocol differentiates itself from competitors like EOS or Tron by running parallel computations on sharded sections of the network to boost throughput.
Additionally, “parallelism” could allow the network to linearly scale as more nodes join, eliminating network capacity limits. Meta transactions, contract-based accounts and gas fee rebates are also available at the protocol level.
“We believe that Near’s developer-friendly proof-of-stake protocol will usher in a new wave of decentralized applications and give power back to end users,” said Ash Egan, who directs crypto investments at Accomplice.
Near intends to use the funds to recruit more developers and build-out a mainnet of its platform, which is currently operating in beta. The beta protocol currently has fewer than 10 users, though, “we are in contact overall with 75 projects at the moment,” said CEO Alex Skidanov.
Long term, Near’s aspirations run much deeper. Said Skidanov:
“Assembling a world-class development team and creating the technology is really just the first step – the next is launching a global movement that puts blockchain technology in the hands of the developers and entrepreneurs who will carry it to consumers everywhere via the apps and businesses they create.”
To get there, Near will focus on a fair token distribution, adoption by both validators and companies, and capturing a significant portion of the existing blockchain market.
Other round participants include Electric Capital, Pantera Capital and Amplify Partners, as well as contributions from Coinbase Ventures and Ripple’s Xpring, among others.
Said Pantera partner Paul Veradittakit:
“The Near team is focused on building developer tools and creating an ecosystem that is inclusive of developers, designers, and business development backgrounds, which differentiates them from most other projects in the space.”