DApp platform NEAR
Cryptocurrencies,  Technology

Open Web DApp platform NEAR completion

Andreessen Horowitz led a $21.6 million funding round for NEAR Protocol, a platform that allows decentralized applications to tokenize anything from game assets to stock certificates

Open web DApp platform NEAR Protocol has raised $21.6 million to make it fast and easy for developers to tokenize a wide variety of digital currencies and assets.

Led by venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, also known as a16z, the funding round announced on May 4 will enable Switzerland-based NEAR to continue developing a platform that enables decentralized application builders to write, test, and deploy their DApps in a matter of minutes.

Pantera Capital and Electric Capital were among the other participants in the fundraising round, and NEAR Protocol said the investment will also be used to ensure its platform can become fully decentralized and community-governed, and put “tokens into the hands of a million developers and entrepreneurs around the world.”

The company said a goal is to ensure that any type of data—be it a digital currency, an in-game item or a stock certificate—can become “a fully portable, programmable, and tradable asset.”

More broadly, it seeks to become the “backbone” of the Open Web.

A better business model

One project built on the DApp platform NEAR Protocol, Stardust, allows game developers to tack revenue-generating economies onto their products with ease.

Stardust founder Canaan Linder said the protocol’s technology means the business will be able to scale to millions of users without facing infrastructure or financial hurdles, adding: “Without NEAR, Stardust’s business model could not work.”

It is hoped that the launch of the NEAR mainnet on April 22 will pave the way for the proof-of-stake blockchain technology to become more decentralized in the coming months—and ultimately, the goal is for the network to “be handed off completely to the community,” NEAR co-founder Illia Polosukhin said.

Sign of the times

As reported by Modern Consensus last week, Andreessen Horowitz said the payments and  gaming industries will be of major interest going forward—particularly as it rolls out its new $515 million Crypto Fund II.

In a lengthy blog post that amounted to a manifesto of its intentions, general partners Chris Dixon and Katie Haun said they plan to invest in solutions that will transform the archaic payment sector, upend the gaming industry and the way content creators are compensated for their hard work, and transform the philosophy of internet businesses from “don’t be evil” to “can’t be evil.” 

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Connor Sephton is a journalist with an interest in cryptocurrencies, personal finance, and financial inclusion—as well as the challenges the crypto industry faces in achieving mainstream adoption. He owns cryptocurrencies.