Wealth Creation Opportunity is NEAR

Photo by Pablo Heimplatz on Unsplash

Decentralized blockchain technology has more potential to revolutionize and reshape the world through the Open Web than did the industrial and internet revolutions combined. The NEAR platform has the potential to make Open Web a wealthy reality. I am not writing this article because I want to promote NEAR as a cryptocurrency. That would not be doing NEAR any justice. That is not the goal. That is boring. If your goal is to make money on trading cryptocurrency then stop reading and take your business elsewhere … if you want to learn about NEAR’s wealth creation opportunity, then continue reading.

Money does not grow on trees … wealth is created by the power of the human mind and the technologies that enable ideas to become reality

The industrial revolution and the Internet provided the opportunity that led to tremendous wealth creation. Wealth does not grow on trees. Wealth is not a commodity. Wealth is born in the human mind and manifested into reality by technology. The idea’s value is realized and determined through free trade, i.e., capitalism. The industrial revolution created a new world of opportunity for anyone and any mind to participate in freely. The end result is that the industrial revolution powered the first wave of capitalism that created the greatest wealth the world had ever seen because it transformed ideas into reality at scale … think Exxon Mobil, Ford, General Electric, Kodak, Xerox, IBM, AT&T. The internet revolution was the next technological breakthrough that unleashed the power of the mind and drive the next wave of wealth creation. It created and opened a new world of opportunity with even broader reach and scale then the industrial revolution … think Amazon, Google, Facebook, Apple.

What was the formula for success and massive wealth creation for the industrial and internet booms? The formula was:

  1. new technology
  2. speed
  3. scalability
  4. economic incentives
  5. free trade, i.e., the decentralization of trade, i.e., capitalism

I will digress a moment for brief philosophical discussion on the importance of decentralization. If you take a step back and think about it, capitalism and free trade are decentralization. Decentralization made it possible to spread and grow the wealth naturally in an uncontrolled manner. Overtime, governments realized that in order to retain their perception and position of power, that they needed to centralize, control, confiscate, and “redistribute” wealth for the “greater good”. History has proven that centralization fails, and fails miserably. History has shown that governments do not produce, but instead destroy. In fact I will go even further and say that governments cannot and should not produce. There is a role and need for government, but for the same reasons there should be a clear separation of church and state, there should be a clear separation economy and state. Both are grounded in personal freedoms .. I digress … I’ll save that philosophical discussion for another time, but I hope you see where I am leading to … now back to the main discussion at hand …

What is NEAR?

NEAR is a decentralized application platform with the potential to change how systems are designed, how applications are built and how the web itself works.

It is a complex technology with a simple goal — allow developers and entrepreneurs to easily and sustainably build applications which secure high value assets like money and identity while making them performant and usable enough for consumers to access.

To do this, NEAR is built from the ground up to deliver intuitive experiences for end users, scale capacity across millions of devices and provide developers with new and sustainable business models for their applications. 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.

The above quote is taken from NEAR’s whitepaper. I will be sharing what I have learned so far and share my experience. I discovered NEAR about 2 months ago. What I love about NEAR is the developer experience. The website has great documentation, many example projects that you can launch via Gitpod. All the code is opensource on GitHub and an excellent resource as well. The community is awesome. I would also recommend doing the NEAR Pathway on Figment Learn. It’s free to signup and I recommend it to newcomers. It provides a great introduction and overview of NEAR. As a bonus, you are rewarded NEAR tokens for doing the tutorials and contributing to the NEAR community. The Figment team is a great example of how supportive the NEAR community is.

My professional career has been in the software industry for 23+ years now, mostly focused on developing backend software for large distributed enterprise scale systems. I was excited with the advent of the cloud. I became even more excited with the advent of BitCoin and then Ethereum. As a professional software developer and architect I understood that decentralized blockchain technology was a breakthrough and unstoppable. Both BitCoin and Ethereum were scalable, but not enough. They were great MVP products with great success stories that proved the concept and ideas. Their success also exposed their weakness in terms of technology, economics, and business models. Hence tremendous amount of R&D and investment has been poured into the next generation of blockchain technology that is capabale of global scale. NEAR is one of those next generation blockchain technologies designed from the ground up that can deliver on the potential and succeed.

NEAR is a decentralized application platform with the potential to change how systems are designed, how applications are built and how the web itself works.

When I think of NEAR, “batteries included” comes to mind. NEAR is designed to scale thanks to its database sharding design and async programming model. Complex business logic workflows are easier to design and build on NEAR using a Promise based programming model that most developers are familiar with. It has built in account model and security model through access keys are intuitive, flexible, and innovative. Account IDs are user friendly and familiar, modeled after domain names. The economics around storage force applications to deal with storage upfront, which is one of the biggest challenges in building scalable decentralized apps economically. The main difference in NEAR is that storage is not a one-time cost. Instead it is an ongoing cost, i.e., NEAR tokens are locked on the account to pay for storage. Locked means the NEAR tokens cannot be transferred or used to pay for gas on transactions. As storage usage increases, then more NEAR tokens are locked up. Conversely, as storage usage is freed, so are the NEAR tokens.

NEAR is built on WASM technology using Rust. Rust happens to be my favorite programming language (also with excellent documentation, tooling, and community). Over the years I have learned many programming languages, and Rust is best in class and a no-brainer choice for building scalable, performant, and secure dApps. The NEAR runtime and stack is all Rust. Rust is used to write the smart contracts. In theory, because the runtime runs on WASM, any progamming language that compiles down to WASM is supported. In the NEAR documentation and examples, they show support for AssemblyScript. The intent was to try to make it easier for developers familiar with JavaScript or TypeScript. However, for serious smart contract development, I would recommend not wasting your time on AssemblyScript. Writing smart contracts in Rust is simple enough and superior technology. The NEAR team is trying to change their stance on AssemblyScript. They are recommending Rust for production grade smart contracts. The NEAR team says AssemblyScript is suitable for simple non-financial apps or prototyping. Like I said, my advice is don’t even bother and start with Rust. The tooling is great. The NEAR CLI does it all, which is basically a frontend to NEAR JS API. The NEAR documentation is awesome and definitely worth your time reading it.

provide developers with new and sustainable business models for their applications

Beyond staking, NEAR has a built in commercial model to monetize smart contracts. I quote from the NEAR whitepaper:

A portion of the fees generated by a particular transaction are provided back to the contracts that were run during that transaction. This “Contract Reward” may be distributed in accordance with the rules specified in the contract, for example it may be allocated to an account controlled by the contract developer, by investors, by a DAO, etc.

The percentage of fees which are allocated to this reward is set to a minimum value as system-level parameter, initially 30%. Developers always can charge extra outside of this mechanism by requiring user to attach funds to the call.

This creates a business model for developers who might otherwise not have a meaningful way of charging for their applications. Having a minimum fee which is set at the system level avoids a “race to the bottom” which results in zero rewards due to competition (or simply the “forking out” of the fee by another developer).

This has a powerful effect of incentivizing developers to build applications and core contracts for the network because they will be directly compensated proportional to the usage of these contracts.

In summary, think of NEAR as the platform that can empower you to focus on application development. NEAR takes care of the rest for you: scalability, performance, Promise programming model, account and security model, great tooling, vibrant community, solid economic and commercial model. It provides the total package. The opportunity is NEAR!

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